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In a Pensive Mood
Mr. Arvind Kejriwal has done it again! After the severe drubbing of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the recently-held national elections, he has made it to the media headlines once again on the sheer strength of his dramatics. In the law suit which Bharatiya Janata Party's(BJP) Nitin Gadkary slapped against him for calling him one of the most corrupt Indian politicians, he refused to furnish a ten thousand rupee bond or, alternatively, a personal bond and was remanded to a two-day judicial custody, after the learned Court advised him to behave, in his capacity as leader of Aam Aadmi Party, as an Aam Aadmi, and not expect preferential treatment. Even as the fellow leaders of his party claimed that his refusal to furnish a bond was a matter of principle, his party cadre took to the street, staged a dharna outside the jail and resisted the police trying to evacuate them for holding up the traffic. High drama outside a high security jail!
If anybody took the words "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players" (As You like It, William Shakespeare) as a robust endorsement for drama and has been enacting drama after drama in his short career, it is Mr.Kejriwal. There has been no dearth of dramatics in all his political escapades.
From going on a fast unto death which would obviously not culminate in death (thank God for that), declaring both the ruling Congress and principal opposition party BJP of corruption and then forming a government in Delhi with the support of Congress, making grandiose statements that he would not accept a big house as the Chief Minister of Delhi and then accepting a bungalow which was much too big for a layman with whom he had identified himself and after the media charged him with trying to get two big bungalows, embarking on a selective implementation of providing electricity and water at a mere cost of production against the spirit of his pre-poll promise, holding an open air inter-active session of the government and people which ended in a fiasco, and launching a dharna as Chief Minister on the streets of Delhi during the course of which he spent a night under the stars, and admitting, as the Chief Minister, that he was an anarchist (the list is endless), he has done it all.
Freedom From Responsiblity
The one solitary act for which Mr.K will likely be remembered in the long run, for his own chagrin and discomfort, is abdicating his power base of Delhi in a mere 49 days' time, for fighting national elections. He expected the people of Delhi to bide their time and wait for the day he became the Prime Minister of the country. You can't be serious, did you say? And what's the logic? Why, can't you see the cunning plan of the hero of our story, my dear reader? As and when he became the Prime Minister and lifted the country to the zenith of its political glory to the accompaniment of a dinning approbation from one and all, wouldn't Delhi too rise from the nadir of its poltical ignominy? Do you have a simpler or better plan? I thought not too.
Greeting the People
The Big Fight
His nascent party contested in the parliament election by fielding candidates in several states where it previously had no presence whatsoever, against established national parties like Congress and BJP. Every party affectionately called AAP the B team of its own principal rival party. Mr K was accused by one and all of trying to split the Muslim vote, Dalit vote, youth vote, middle class vote, and whatever other vote there ever was. He himself valiantly fought the election against the biggest candidate of them all, namely Mr.Narendra Modi. He poo-poohed Mr.Modi's Gujarat model of development. He visited Gujarat for a couple of days during which he talked to as many people of the state who regretted not being part of the fortunate receipients of manna from heaven, oodles of which Mr.Modi had claimed to have passionately doled out among his subjects. He asked the people of Varanasi to take note that he had scientifically proven that Mr.Modi's Gujarat model of development was a mere tall claim with no substance, and he himself was a self-avowed crusader against corruption. Forearmed with these right credentials, he went around Varanasi with his band of supporters and cheerleaders, waving their party symbol of broomstick, and asked the voters to vote for him. He assured them that the Congress candidate was not to be taken as a serious one. Apparently, the people of Varanasi misunderstood him and did not take him seriously! As a consequence of the grave mistake, Mr.Modi won handsomely and, in the process, kayoed Mr.K. Effortlessly.
The Big Fall
Mr.K went into a big sulk which could be interpreted as introspection in political circles, but rebounded with characteristic alacrity onto the cenre stage. He lost precious little time doing so. You can't put down a good man for long, I always say. If Mr.Modi became the Prime Minister and ruled from Delhi, why couldn't Mr.K himself rule Delhi? Close enough, an observer with a keen eye for details would say, you should think. Spot on, dear reader. The new strategy is as under.
Why not seek return of the government of Delhi? If you had thrown the baby with the bath water albeit in a flurry of absent-minded activity, you couldn't be faulted for claiming the unintentionally-abandoned-baby, could you? That is precisely the position Mr.Kejriwal finds himself in today. He wants the people of Delhi to love their suitor whose amorous glances had strayed elsewhere resulting in a heart-rending separation, to love him with as much gusto as before, if not more with a vengeance. Is Delhi listening?
The question is, why should Delhi accept Mr.K's proposal a second time? For lack of rival suitors? BJP and Congress may currently be out of power in Delhi but have not taken political sannyas nor are they expected to do so any time in the future.
Lessons For Future Survival
Mr.K and his party should seriously consider Mr.Modi's winning strategy and learn a lesson or two. One should be serious in one's approach to be taken seriously by the people. The people of Delhi may find time to attend road shows, a dharna at Jantar Mantar or a rousing speech at Ram Leela Grounds but not take a ragtag political outfit which flits in and flits out of power with reckless abandon. Governance is serious business, not to be taken as a part time vocation during vacation. Mr.K should realize that unless his party demonstrates its willingness to do serious business by acting as a responsible opposition party in the first place, it would continue to remain marginalised before it is altogether relegated to political oblivion.
Taking to Streets
In any case, Mr.K may be given credit for being a tenacious fighter. It's not the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog, as Mark Twain famously said. Agreed that it is a dog-eat-dog world but it has its own ways which Mr.K or, for that matter, anyone else could not wish away. Play the game by the rule is the bottom line. If you don't, you end up as another Do Quixote, tilting windmills. Mr.Arvind Kejriwal is a fighter but why the penchant for street fight? People expect much more from Mr.Kejriwal.