Give them chance before criticising
There is little sense at this point in pounding the nascent Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi with unfair and hasty accusations of not practicing what they preach. The brouhaha over the bungalow for the new CM is one such example of misplaced ire, where a union government owned five-bedroom house allocated for Arvind Kejriwal came under heavy firing from the opposition and sections of the media. Given that Kejriwal has already set standards in accepting a less than affluent life-style and has categorically shunned the luxuries ritually availed by the Capital’s political elites, this backlash against basic amenities that a chief minister is entitled to not only sounds hollow but is plainly unfair. The bungalow in question, and the one next to it meant for setting up of the camp office, are hardly the luxuries that the opposition had made them out to be, given that the ‘upgrade’ is miniscule, since Kejriwal already lives in a government house allocated to his wife working with the Indian Revenue Service. Moreover, for the new CM to deliver his public duties, basic facilities such as a decent office and work place are prerequisites. After all, Kejriwal has much more on his plate now than he used in his days of civil activism and the bigger role needs to be reflected in his surroundings. This is hardly a contradiction in terms of what the AAP stands for, which is eliminating corruption and instilling efficiency and transparency in public functioning, and having a CMO to accommodate all the tasks in hand is therefore hardly a flouting of his own precepts. Given that the former chief minister Sheila Dikshit lived in a bungalow for 15 years which had all the facilities, and Kejriwal too is entitled to one for not himself but his post only, is beyond a straw of doubt.
While Lutyens’ Delhi is used to housing its political and bureaucratic elites in high-priced realty, with enormous offices and too many staffs, the systematic and engineered lament against Kejriwal’s basic right as a CM reeks of hypocrisy. Since Kerjriwal and his team have not defined the aam aadmi only on the basis of class and has included in its ambit anyone who is hungry for a transparent system, pointing accusatory fingers at the new CM will only make empty noises over non-issues. Naturally, the idea is to deflect attention from core issues staring the Delhi and the union government in the face, particularly in Kejriwal’s declaration that the power discoms will come under CAG audit now. Moreover, AAP’s eye on the national election has made all the bigger players jittery. Obviously, Kejriwal has taken the bite out of the former posterboy of good governance, Narendra Modi, who, until the Delhi’s CM’s political arrival, had really been running in an open field of no competition. Given that AAP has already brought paradigmatic shifts in public policy, with subsidies in power and water to the national capital’s domestic users, and is slated to induct, hopefully, a culture of deep-level scrutiny at every sphere of operation, the ugly politics of obstructionism has been unleashed by his detractors. Lest we forget, the other name of honesty and transparency is not exactly renunciation and targeting Kejrriwal in this way is simply unjust.