What Arvind Kejriwal has accomplished in Gujarat
That Arvind Kejriwal, though un- schooled, has an intuitive grasp of the media is not in doubt.
He has proven that he knows how to focus media attention on himself and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). But he has also demonstrated an uncanny ability to take up issues which capture the imagination of vast swathes of the population, and strike a chord across castes and communities and social strata.
In an incredibly short span of just four or five months, he has catapulted himself into the league of national leadership and juxtaposed himself against Modi, relegating Rahul to the third place. His audacious and brilliant tactic of taking on the 'Lion" and walking into its own den - that's how Modi is described by many of the BJP cadre- has once again brought the focus back on himself and pitted him directly against the charismatic strongman of BJP.
A visit to the home turf of Modi was bound to attract attention of the media as well as rival members of both the political parties. But what was unexpected was the sudden conflagration and spate of violence that spread across many cities in clashes that erupted between AAP and BJP.
The accusations by both party leaders are flying thick and fast, each professing that they retaliated in self-defence. Any dispassionate assessment easily reveals that leaders of both parties must hang their head in shame for what transpired, leaving many injured and hospitalised.
When Kejriwal announced that he wants to visit Gujarat to "verify" the development made by Modi, the ruling party should have ensured that sufficient security was provided to him given the rivalry, antipathy and surcharged atmosphere prevailing in many parts of the country.
Kejriwal being the underdog, Modi should have gone the extra mile and shown magnanimity and treated Kejriwal as a guest of his state and extended all courtesy due to a political rival. He could have managed this even while ignoring him. That kind of grace and generosity of the 'strong' would have done credit to Modi and shown him to advantage as a statesman at a time when he is running for Prime Minsiter.
Nit-picking actions by the Gujarat police -like briefly detaining Kejriwal - were ill-advised and imprudent.
Equally, if AAP is founded, as Kejriwal says, on the principles of non-violent Satyagraha, the actions of its workers in Delhi as seen on television is condemnable and threatens to take the sheen off a party that people were describing as a breath of fresh air and a departure from the old politics of goondaism. more