Delhi Government Resignation Re-visited - ET
Let us retrace the steps leading up to the resignation of the Kejriwal government in Delhi. When the Jan Lokpal bill was expected to be tabled in the assembly, Arvind Kejriwal had an on-stage interview in the midst of the Delhi Lit Festival where he had said categorically that if the bill can’t be passed, his government would resign. This was telecast live. The anchor was thrilled and at the same time surprised because, firstly, she knew she had just been delivered a TRP coup, and secondly, she was least expecting such a candid response from the young CM.
In this day and age of Indian politics, it is almost impossible to find a leader who does not wish to hang on to power at any cost. Kejriwal’s critics will disagree, but his comments at the interview showed tremendous conviction and courage. There seemed be no doubt in his mind that if the centerpiece of AAP’s agenda couldn’t be passed, then there was no point in remaining in power. It was a principled stand. To him, it was not at all complicated. It’s not about being in power. It’s about bringing about systemic changes. And such changes won’t come about with a minority government. It was an incredible display of great clarity of thought and purpose, the kind of political leadership this country has not witnessed in the lifetime of most of its young population. Kejriwal’s critics can deride him all they want but it is these very attributes that endear him to most of his supporters whose numbers are growing by the minute.
Politics might be the art of the possible. But unfortunately, that realm of possibility does not include making opposition politicians who are corrupt agree to laws that could eventually land themselves in jail! Resignation of the Delhi government was the only course of action.
Next, let's look at the role of the other parties in this process. The Congress party tried to prevent the tabling of the bill by dragging the Lt. Governor into the mix and seeking constitutional avenues to provide roadblocks. Besides, the public session at Ram Leela Maidan that Kejriwal and team requested was turned down for flimsy security reasons. The BJP, on the other hand, tried to have it both ways. On the one hand, the BJP wanted to scuttle the bill too, but on the other hand, they could not appear to join hands with the Congress. So Harsh Vardhan tweeted saying, “We’ll support the bill.” Shortly thereafter, in the aftermath of the FIR against Mukesh Ambani, the BJP had to rethink and backtrack on its plans and decided instead to plunge the assembly into chaos.
The reality is that neither party wanted the bill to be tabled. What’s wrong in having a discussion on the bill? How can there be dialog unless the bill is tabled? Clearly, AAP didn’t have the numbers and the Congress and BJP weren’t up to playing “ball.” Then, where is the question of negotiation?
A strong anti-corruption deterrent has been the cornerstone of AAP’s agenda. So anyone who expects the AAP to compromise on corruption has completely misread this movement and what it represents. The AAP government was in an extraordinary situation, and there was no option left but to resign. As the saying goes, you can’t make omelets without breaking a few eggs.
When I hear people branding AAP as being too early and unprepared to govern in 2014, I am reminded of 2008 when then-candidate Obama was rated by many as being inexperienced to lead America. He responded brilliantly in a speech in which he said, "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." This was true then for America and I believe it is true for India today. It’s entirely up to us to seize the moment, or lose it forever. more