Conflict as a means of cover-up
Despite being a keen student and practitioner of politics, I am unable to find any comparison or analogy to explain what’s being done in the name of governance in the national Capital. We have a government, which has a brute mandate in its favour. The same government, however, is frittering away its mandate with an overwhelming attitude of arrogance, jealousy and unnecessary anger.
Talking of anger, with due apologies to film director Syed Mirza, I am seeking the answer to a persistent query, “Arvind Kejriwal Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hain? (Why is Arvind Kejriwal always angry?)” In fact I revisited Mirza’s story, “Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hain.” <g data-gr-id="65">At</g> the beginning, Albert Pinto is angry with the mill-workers, who often go on strike.
Towards the end, however, his anger is directed towards the <g data-gr-id="63">mill-owners,</g> when he realises who is actually being exploited.
In Arvind Kejriwal’s case, there seems to be no visible reason behind his anger. In his march towards power, Kejriwal made a show of fighting against so-called state repression. Having come to power, that too with such a historical mandate, he now wishes to unleash the same state repression against the people. Thankfully he is part of a country which has a reasonably evolved democratic structure. Otherwise, many of us who do not agree with the chief minister, would have found ourselves behind bars. A key question, however, remains. Why is Kejriwal doing this? The Delhi chief minister has the historical opportunity to deliver governance, but he is continuously pushing the state towards a state of administrative anarchy. Delhi’s chief minister is a sharp man; he could not have adopted this model of governance without a political design.
Having successfully used the politics of conflict as a propellant for his elevation, Kejriwal now wishes to use the same method to cover-up for his administrative incompetence. Despite being in power for more than 100 <g data-gr-id="67">days</g> he has not been even able to draw up a Budget for the state, which is his primary job. The Budget would have unveiled his vision and plans for governance. He has not prepared the Budget probably out of the fear that it could prove to be a double-edged sword. The Budget, which would be the government’s first major policy statement, would expose how Kejriwal lacks imagination and commitment in achieving his promised land of “Swaraj”. Any such concrete policy document would have shown the world that his party neither possess the intellect nor the intent to give Delhi a good government.
Realising his shortcomings, the chief minister has chosen the path of administrative and political confrontation to cover-up for all failed and undelivered promises. He has repeatedly engaged the Raj Niwas in a bitter confrontation over matters which are of not much immediate public consequence, but in the long-term could jeopardise the function of the Centre-NCT government relationship.
It is to the credit of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung that the decorum of government has been maintained and esteem of the bureaucracy upheld. Instead of getting <g data-gr-id="47">black mailed</g> by the histrionics of the chief minister, the Raj Niwas has stood firm in upholding the Constitution.
There must also be a mention about the stress which is being caused to the bureaucracy of the Delhi government. Rated as one of the best cadres in the country, the officers from Delhi have been left to function on the whims and fancies of a political executive, which is unsure about its own next move. In this time of extreme <g data-gr-id="55">trial</g> the bureaucracy must play by the book and not succumb to short-term lures and pressures.
Though I had expressed <g data-gr-id="50">lack</g> of confidence about the abilities of the chief minister in these very columns about two months back, I now feel sad that my words are proving to be prophetic. If the Aam Aadmi Party leadership continues to move the way it’s going, the denizens of the national Capital are indeed in for a tough time.
(The writer is general secretary, Delhi BJP and Member, Standing Committee, South MCD. The views expressed here are personal)