August 28, 2016 1:30:34 am
The Aam Aadmi Party emerged at a time when many had despaired that the Congress may never recover. When it shoved the Congress to third place in the Delhi elections of 2013, Rahul Gandhi pledged the Congress to be like the AAP and improve. But luckily, he was not serious. Now it is the AAP which is worrying many like me who had high hopes of it. First came the brief period of 49 days of AAP rule marked by a constant agitational mode. Arvind Kejriwal chose to be a permanent agitator rather than CM.
Ambition then overtook the AAP in the 2014 elections. It ran candidates all across India. Kejriwal ran against Narendra Modi in Varanasi and split the anti-Modi vote. But then came redemption in the manner of a landslide victory in Delhi. At last came the opportunity for the AAP to show that its new style of community-based politics would deliver results.
It has been a curate’s egg, good in parts. Every act of good governance has been drowned in polemical battles with as many enemies as Kejriwal can fantasise about. He has a thing for Modi, whom he has called shocking names. Kejriwal spends a disproportionate part of his time exorcising the Modi ghost. It is not a ghost though, but a reality. Delhi is Union Territory, not a state. Rather than showing how much better Delhi can be run, he has now extended the quarrel to the Lieutenant Governor, dragging the Delhi government across courts. (How much do these stunts cost the Delhi citizen?)
The AAP can do good even when it devotes a rather small fraction of its time governing. The Odd-Even scheme was brilliant even if it did not reduce pollution. These are good ideas to decentralise. But Kejriwal’s attention is fixed on winning the Centre rather than making mohallas run better.
The next chapter in Kejriwal’s ‘March to Race Course Road’ is now being fashioned in Punjab. That is where the AAP has four MPs, of whom one has created problems. If news and polls are to be believed, neither the SAD/ BJP nor the Congress is the flavour of the season. It is the AAP which is seen as an untried outsider (so far), not tarred with incumbency. Then we are told that if Kejriwal was to be the lead campaigner as CM-to-be, then the AAP could emerge as victors.
It must be very tempting for a man who believes he was born to be the saviour of the nation and the scourge of Modi, to yield to the prospect of plunging into the Punjab cauldron. It will be something of a first for someone to run as CM of another state while being CM of a UT.
Suppose he does, and, as a worst case scenario, wins, then we have Kejriwal-1 lasting 49 days, Kejriwal-2 lasting around two years as Delhi CM. But then Kejriwal-3 as Punjab CM is not interested in Punjab any more than in Delhi. He wants Race Course Road. So come 2019, he will be running for PM as the head of the AAP, singly or in some coalition. If again, in the worst case scenario, he wins, Kejriwal-3 would have lasted less than two years as Punjab CM.
Would it not be better if he stayed back in Delhi and fulfilled his promises?
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