AAP’s Kanjari Politics

Indian politicians are known to care two hoots for national interests in their quest to pursue their personal interests. Mr. Kejriwal, despite his noble pronouncements, is no different. In fact he is possibly worse than most since he is like a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ because of the huge gap between what he preaches and what he practices. His penchant for being opportunists is well known. One only has to go back a couple of years to see how he used the Anna movement to further his own agenda and left Shri Anna Hazare midstream as far as the Lok Pal issue was concerned. His exploits in the 23 years he spent in Indian Revenue Service (IRS) also do not cover him with any glory. In fact a detailed examination will only show how he used the system to further his vested interests and aspirations without really contributing to the IRS in any substantial manner.

Mr. Kejriwal’s recent advertisement on radio and television after his visit to Dadri in Uttar Pradesh is as anti-national as it can get. First of all he hardly had any reason to visit the place since Dadri neither falls in his jurisdiction nor does his Aam Admi Party (AAP) have any worthwhile presence in that area. I wonder if there is any doubt that as some other politicians, he too went there to fish in troubled waters, albeit at the cost of fanning the already tense atmosphere in the area. With the wording of his advertisement he has now ensured that there is not an iota of doubt left that the whole incident must be viewed as a Hindu versus Muslim incident.

He then talks of cow slaughter and pig slaughter in very explicit terms to make sure that the whole nation understands the simplest way in which riots can be instigated between Hindus and Muslims. In between he talks of the bad blood that has mushroomed overnight between the two communities in the village after ages of cordial relations.

Mr. Kejriwal must be a magician to have come to that conclusion since ground reports suggest otherwise. The wedding ceremonies that took place in Bisada village on 9th October tell an altogether different story. Hindu and Muslims families united together to fund and marry off a couple of Muslin girls in an extremely cordial environment. But then as far as Mr. Kejriwal, the politician is concerned, this event that shows communal harmony is neither here nor there since it does not give him political mileage. Finally Mr. Kejriwal comes to the moot point in the advertisement to say that only the Aam Admi (meaning AAP) can save the nation from such divisive politics. A clever play of words, after all he is an IIT graduate.

AAP came to power in Delhi with 67 MLAs out of the total strength of 70 in the assembly. As many as 23 AAP MLAs are involved in criminal cases and 44 out of 67 have assets of over one crore rupees as per their filed declarations. Not bad for a rookie party as far as Indian politics go. AAP surely has all the makings of a strong political party, after all what counts in Indian politics is money and criminality. Talent, capability or leadership are not some of the qualities that Indian politicians boast of or want to be known for.

Three of his erstwhile cabinet colleagues had to resign because of criminal or corruption charges in the short span of time the party has been in power. Nearly half of the elected AAP MLAs are either ministers or adjusted in the newly created posts of Parliamentary Secretaries wherein they draw fat salaries, apart from a whole lot of perks from Delhi government. To top it all within months of their assuming office they are on the verge of increasing their own salaries and perks by a whopping 400%. AAP government has set aside Rs. 526 crores as advertisement budget for the current year, an increase of over 2300% from last year’s allocation.

All this from a government that always claims to be short of funds and at times finds it difficult to even pay salaries to its employees. Yet AAP and its leadership expects us to believe that they want to de-criminalise politics, fight corruption and work for the betterment of the common man on the street like never before seen in this country. Mr. Kejriwal must be under the impression that Delhi’s common man, generally educated, is either very stupid or very gullible or may be even both. One only hopes this assumption costs him dear in the next elections. Till then Delhi has to suffer for next four and a half years and pay for their sins of electing AAP to power.

Mr. Kejriwal and his party’s confrontation with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi on one hand and the three Municipal Corporations on the other are well known. Confrontational politics is what AAP wants to promote, cost to Delhi notwithstanding as long as it keeps the CM in the news and helps him to spread his national footprint. The Chief Minister and his colleagues have no love lost for the Prime Minister, which is acceptable. However what is not acceptable is the manner in which they deride the office of the Prime Minister and at times the unsavoury language used to refer to the Prime Minister.

The fact that AAP and Mr. Kejriwal have put their much exalted principles on the back burner was evident when Mr. Kejriwal travelled to Bihar to declare support for the Grand Alliance (Congress, JD-U and RJD) and shared a dais with the likes of Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav despite being one of their strongest critics for last two years. Is there any doubt that he too believes in the adage ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. If this calls for consigning ones personal and party’s values to the dustbin, then so be it. From day one Mr. Kejriwal and his government went after Delhi police in a no holds barred manner instead of developing a cordial and co-operative working relationship with them. CM’s lack of matured leadership was once again evident in appointment, selection and unfair treatment of many senior bureaucrats and the loser was once again the state of Delhi.

Recently Shiv Sena in Mumbai banned Mr. Ghulam Ali from Pakistan to perform in the city. They have their reasons, often more wrong than right. But our opportunist AAP government immediately put out its fishing rod with a bait to invite the artist from Pakistan to perform in Delhi. Surely one cannot believe that suddenly AAP and its leaders have found some special love for classical music from Pakistan. It is all about the game of one-upmanship that is so close to Mr. Kejriwal’s heart. The problem is he will not bat an eyelid if instead of going one up he has to put someone one down since in his scheme of things the net result is the same. That is a very negative attribute for someone who aspires to be a national leader.

The AAM Admi from the AAP has now developed a yearning for large bungalows in prime areas of Delhi and expensive SUV type of automobiles – after all the Aam Admi is now an elected politician for next five years and therefore he needs to make these basic style statements. The CM moves in a cavalcade which is long and resultant traffic jams are acceptable. It is another matter that they always professed not to partake of these lavish symbols that do not relate to the Aam Admi. But then that was before the elections and in the run up to the elections, not necessarily to be upheld after being elected. Character, commitments, nationalism, integrity, morality and other such traits are not for an Indian politician. One was fooled in to believing that AAP would be different. But then that is the common man’s problem and not that of Mr. Kejriwal or his band of elected MLAs.

Someone very rightly stated that Chief Minister Mr. Kejriwal should see himself as a glorified Mayor of a city. Frankly the author of this statement is not very wrong. It may do Mr. Kejriwal good to realise his limitations and the restricted role that he is supposed to play as Chief Minister of Delhi. His task is actually much simpler than other Chief Ministers who govern large states with their even larger problems. Delhi is actually a cake walk as compared to some of those states. But the problem with Mr. Kejriwal is that he is not satisfied with the cake, he wants the baker, the oven and the delivery boy too. It may be a good idea for the rookie Chief Minister to learn the art of governing by judiciously dividing and distributing the cake within his state with the sole aim of development and addressing some of the pressing problems that Delhi is facing. Instead his sole focus has been to try and convince everyone that unless he has the baker, oven and the delivery boy too, he can do nothing with the cake. This bizarre reasoning can only be viewed as a cover up of his government’s inefficiencies and failures.

The question is what the people of Delhi expect from their government. As a start point it may be a good idea for the AAP government to read the Human Resource Development report of 2013. It lists dealing with MCD as one of the worst problems being faced by citizens. Next is the need for better sanitation, followed by availability of potable water and an urgent need to give a makeover to government schools. Most citizens realise that education and development cannot be separated. Most Delhi people were worried about pollution and the overall environment in Delhi. Delhi Police was voted as one of the worst services; however since it is not directly under the AAP government it cannot be charged with its makeover directly. But without fail, the Delhi government can do a lot about it even as things stand today. This then is the wish list of Delhi but sadly so far AAP seems to have done precious little on most of these issues. If team Kejriwal focuses on these issues then possibly AAP’s politics will make a transition from Kanjari politics to Kejri politics and that will lay a foundation for them to go places. Till then Delhi can only groan and suffer.

(By the way Kanjari is the opposite of Kanjar in Punjabi and the English equivalent of the later is ‘pimp’.)

Saroj Chadha, an engineering professional, is a successful entrepreneur. Having retired from the Indian Army after having served for over 23 years, he has also been a consultant for leading Indian and Multinational electrical companies. He lives in New Delhi.

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