Kejriwal can have sympathy, not vote by Shishir Bhate

For a judicious homemaker who’s not aligned to any political ideology, my wife is quite well informed and aware of her democratic rights and duties.

Acutely alert to issues that affect the common Indian, Anju has no-nonsense, down-to-earth solutions to many a complex problem that politicians brazenly avoid tackling.

Her often-politically-incorrect opinion on matters of import is nothing short of astonishingly sagacious.

She, like a million others, reserves unabashed contempt for most politicians. Thus, it was like a punch to the solar plexus, when one fine winter evening she suddenly declared she might join the new political kid on the block, the Aam Aadmi Party, and work to ‘cleanse the system’.

When she sets her mind at doing something, it is imprudent to get in the way; thus, I decided to button my lip and nod wisely.

Knowing she wouldn’t trust a politician, no matter how honest his cronies might profess him to be, until she is entirely persuaded by his argument and intentions, I thought it would be interesting to observe her as she scrutinized AAP.

Anju’s research began. The more she read the more she was convinced that Kejriwal had great ideas: corruption-free society; swaraj; end to division of society on the basis of religion, caste, gender, community, economic status; provision of better amenities; poleaxing of crony capitalism, and justice for all.

Pretty much all you can ask for from a government. Or God.

Kejriwal then stunned all with a jaw-dropping triumph and went on to become Delhi’s chief minister, leaving in his wake many a floundering stalwart and crushed ego. He had blown to smithereens established political wisdom.

The wife was beside herself with glee; she began working out how many hours of volunteer work would she be able to put in, how that would rearrange our lives, et cetera. Even I believed I was inhaling a fresh breath of air.

Arvind Kejriwal is a good man: whip-smart, highly educated, intelligent, modest. He’s ballyhooed as being non-corrupt, self-effacing, even a tad too humble.

His recipe for an ideal state of governance and administration is splendid; his unorthodox, even radical, ideas possess the potential to galvanize the nation into a frenzied mass of activity aimed at liberating the common man from various social, economic, political evils; his unexpected rise as a ‘national’ leader and his phenomenal popularity shook up established political foundations and showed all what ‘people power’ is all about.

He seemed destined for greatness. But the price of greatness is responsibility. And it was here that Kejriwal stumbled.

No one denies that Kejriwal’s intentions are good, but to wit, even the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Presently, the wife’s examination of the man, his party and its promises showed there was a lot left to be desired. He came forth as a bundle of contradictions, a man in a hurry given to shifting goal posts midway through the game, and justifying the moves by playing either the victim or the crusader.

The ‘good intentions’ seemed to be a part of a larger design; he began to fall prey to his ambitions. The Aam Aadmi Party began to stage outrageous events calculated solely to attract publicity, indulge in innuendo without showing responsibility or producing proof, resort to mudslinging, certify people’s honesty or the lack of it, threaten everyone and their brothers-in-law, hide behind the smoke screen of ‘new brand of politics’, display disregard for the law, employ methods that would make the party and its activities the talking point – always preferring the peripheral to the fundamental.

His new brand of politics proclaimed that charges made by AAP were gospel, charges against it were motivated; everyone who supported it was honest, everyone else was either corrupt or communal.

He also carried his inverted snobbery – ‘I am nothing’, ‘I am just an aam aadmi’, etc – a bit too far. He displayed a history of keeping things incomplete – whether it was administration or the assurances he gave – and then blamed his failure on nefarious designs by others.

For someone who wasn’t very athletic as a school kid, Kejriwal does an impressive job at running away: from responsibilities of governance, from taking issues he raises to their logical end, from seeing through the charges he levies, from keeping the promises he made to those who reposed trust in him.

And yet I believe Kejriwal has great ideas, ideas that could transform this nation, deliver it from decades of despondency, and usher in real swaraj.

I commiserate with him and with how things have panned out for him after such a promising start. And I wish him all the success.

But a dharna here or an innuendo there will not spell victory. He needs to start on a clean slate and make the most of the tremendous – albeit dwindling – goodwill he has generated.

Anju had high hopes from AAP, but feels let down. The activist madness that gripped her for a brief moment seems to have abated. But chances of that obsession revisiting her are quite high, only if AAP gets its act together.

If Kejriwal were to abandon the dramatics and symbolism in favour of substance, Anju will vote for him. Even I might follow suit.

But till then, all he can have is our sympathy, not our vote. more  

View all 46 comments Below 46 comments
Dear Sudershanji,

I agree with you but only partially. You are advocating the anarchist theory - break down every thing into anarchy and then rebuild from that.
I don't agree with that at all !
Nowhere in the world has such a theory worked - always doomed to failure as is eveident from many Eastern Block Countries . It certainly cannot work for India.

The other factor is that you are categorising Mr. Modi without even giving him a chance. He has performed exceptionally in Gujarat specially in administration and implementation and we all know that is correct despite the rhetoric of Congress and Mr. Kejriwal.
Time will tell if our hopes are well founded or we are thinking incorrectly. Mr.Modi certainly deserves a chance !
Alaso pls remember that the BJP has a team of highly experienced people . AAP is , practically single handed. And then Mr. Kejriwal also abandoned Mr. Anna Hazare more  
Dear Ishank,

I a short para you have summarised it so well.
I totally and completely agree with you more  
Dear Mr. Sudarshan Goyal ji, please do not use the word - "determined " for Arvind ji because, by resigning from CM post he has proved that he has no Determination. I mean - what did he expect? Change will come as soon as he becomes the CM..? Did he not know that CM is also a part of the system? He has betrayed all the Delhi voters as well as AAP workers who put hope in him. Also, if you like to take a glimpse of Narendra bhai's ability please stay in Gujarat for a couple of days..If you are an Industrialist- Gujarat, If you need a passport in 10 days- Gujrat, if you want peace and security- Gujarat...Imagine what is Narendra Bhai capable of if made the Prime Minister...If one hears him, he/she will realize that Narendra Bhai knows the real Meaning of Democracy, Republic and Freedom. Arvind ji on other hand has no vision, determination for his own Agenda of corruption else, he would have a challenged real bastions of corruption- Sonia or Rahul in the Elections not Modi ji....finally- knowingly or un-knowingly he has been acting as a Congress agent. more  
Kejriwal needs training ............... to become a politician

Read below.

Late Nani Palkhiwala, the eminent Indian lawyer, wrote the following on 16/1/1984.

“The picture that emerges is that of a great country in a state of complete moral decay. The immediate future seems to belong to the doomsayers rather than to cheer mongers. We suffer from a fatty degeneration of conscience, and the malady seems to be not only persistent but prone to aggravation. The life style of too many politicians and businessmen bears eloquent testimony to the truth of the dictum that the single minded pursuit of money impoverishes the mind, shrivels the imagination and desiccates the heart. The tri-color fluttering all over the country is black, red and scarlet - black money, red tape and scarlet corruption.

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants, 24/7/365. His meals are provided at no cost to him.

By the way he does not need to pay for medical insurance He visits the doctor once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise.

For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him.

He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep. If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.

He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep. He receives these accommodations absolutely free.

He is living like a King, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me
like a brick on the head....... My dog is like the Indian POLITICIAN!
Except that my dog is Honest, Loyal, Appreciative & Grateful, completely unlike the shameless Indian POLITICIAN.”

Narendra Modi and BJP are good politicians and we have faith in them.

AK take our sympathy but sorry not the V............ more  
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