Kejriwal’s resignation and more
When Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was protesting outside the Rail Bhavan on 21 January and asked the people to throng the Rajpath prior to 26 January’s Republic day celebration, it was amply clear where he was heading towards. His January protest was his own way to start election campaign for the next Lok Sabha. He was using his office of chief minister to project him on the national level as the anti corruption crusader only to become a force during and after the Lok Sabha election. He was ready to have a confrontation even prior to the Republic Day celebration, because that would have made him an international personality, because any major confrontation on the venue of Republic Day celebration just before 26 January would have attracted the international attention. Anyway, some friends of Kejriwal first prepared face saving formula by taking help of Lt Governor of Delhi and then he was persuaded to end the dharna.
Kejriwal was not feeling easy as Delhi chief minister, because his eyes were fixed on Lok Sabha elections. So he had no option but to leave the government and before that he had to make use of his post to show the country that he had zero tolerance for the corruption. He started ordering the registration of FIRs in Commonwealth Scams and others. To show how serious he was to wipe out corruption, he also ordered the registration of an FIR against the Petroleum Minister of India for the decision of his ministry to raise the Gas Prices. It was an unprecedented decision taken by any CM of any state of India so far. By that decision a state government had ordered an inquiry by a provincial agency to investigate a decision of a Central Ministry. Since the issue of Gas Prices is deeply concerned directly with the people of India, it makes a political sense by any politician to raise that issue, but the manner in which the issue of Gas Prices was highlighted by Kejriwal, had no parallel.
Ultimately Kejriwal left the government after taking a confrontation over Delhi Lok Pal Bill. With so many cases registered involving its earlier Delhi government and also one Minister of Central government, Congress had no option, but to end its support to Kejriwal government. Kejriwal had no interest left to lead the Delhi government, which was not even empowered fully to solve the day to day problems of the people. Delhi government does not have police under it. It does not have sufficient power to take decision to solve power problems, because there is a Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission to decide the tariff charged by power companies. BJP is ruling the MCD. Even in Assembly, AAP was in minority.
In one of his speeches Narendra Modi had rightly said that the CM of Delhi does not have any work and its main work was only to cut ribbon to inaugurate functions. He had said this, when Sheila Dixit was CM, but Kejriwal must have felt how true was Modi, when he was ridiculing his predecessor for her powerlessness. As CM, Kejriwal had little power, but Delhiites had a lot of expectations from him. So with the passing of time, he was bound to lose his shine. It was better for him to leave the government and before leaving he had to use his post to project himself on national level as the only national leader capable of ending the menace of corruption, which has emerged as the main national issue in contemporary India.
After leaving Delhi government, Kejriwal’s aim is to influence the Lok Sabha elections and ensure the victory of as many AAP candidates as possible. Will he succeed in his design? Some days before his resignation, he had met Anna Hazare and asked him to inaugurate his Mohalla Sabha schemes of governance. Anna was impressed with him and he made commitment to inaugurate that scheme, because devolution of power to Gram Sabha and Mohalla Sabha is the part of his own Gandhian philosophy. Anyway, the government has failed and no such scheme is being implemented, but Kejriwal is hoping to enlist the support of Anna for him.
Kejriwal may face another problem and that will come from media. In the rise of Kejriwal, media has played an important role, but after joining the government, Kejriwal and his people have abused media in no uncertain words. In fact Kejriwal is caught in the media trap. In politics, the more publicity you get, the more publicity you need. Kejriwal has risen because of the publicity hence, he will continue to need even more publicity, but this may not be forthcoming for him, because he has alienated a major section of media people, who were sympathetic to him because of the issue he was raising. Further, at the national level, Kejriwal will be facing Narendra Modi, who has backing of a huge well knit organisation with long electoral expertise. On the other hand, Aam Aadmi Party of Kejriwal is still learning.
All kinds of people had entered into it after the formation of its Delhi government and the party has yet to evolve its political, social and economic philosophy. In Delhi, it got success not only because of its fight against corruption, but also for the promises for cheap power and free water that had played more important role for its success. IPA