7 myths about Arvind Kejriwal

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 31, 2013 07:17 hrs

Myth 1: He’s a middle class phenomenon

The 2011 August Kranti agitation led by Anna Hazare was a middle class phenomenon. In 2012, when Kejriwal took on the likes of Robert Vadra and Nitin Gadkari, then the middle class was cheering him on.

Even when the Aam Aadmi Party was launched, it seemed like a party of, for and by the middle class. However all Kejriwal’s association with the middle class ended there. AAP campaigned in the jhuggi jhopdis, among autowallahs and the like.

Their major promises of free water, electricity bill cuts and 500 schools have absolutely no bearing on the middle class but the lower classes. Most of the middle class stayed with the BJP and that’s why they are the biggest party in the Delhi Assembly.

Myth 2: He represents a new kind of politics
Go through the AAP manifesto and you will find that it has more ideological similarities with the Communist Manifesto released in 1848 rather than the post-1991 liberalized India of today.

Most of the voters do not bother to go through manifestoes and check with ideologies and that’s why the AAP has got away on this count.

You may as well call him Arvind Karl Marx.

Myth 3: He has great ideas for the country
Freebies and subsidies are destroying the country and we are facing a financial collapse. So how will increasing freebies and subsidies make things better? Even something like 500 new schools is impractical in Delhi where land is at a premium.

How about beefing up the water and electricity supplies, modernizing them and cutting down on wastage and theft? Even if they want to do that they will not be able to do that thanks to this dole system. And how about improving the standards of the government schools in operation rather than building new ones?

They oppose nuclear power without giving any clarity on how we are going to meet our power shortfall. Prashant Bhushan also talked of giving Kashmir away which would be a highly disastrous move.

Myth 4: He’s an alternative to the BJP
When we got Independence, we were a firmly Left-leaning nation with all political parties, intellectuals, editors, historians, NGOs and civil society activists occupying that space. The only alternative to that is the BJP which leans to the Right.

Kejriwal and AAP also lean to the Left, so how are they an alternative to the BJP? AAP is an alternative to the Congress, CPM, SP, BSP, Trinamool…

Myth 5: He’s a PM candidate for 2014

When Goa got its first Chief Minister, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party stormed to power and not the Congress. The Asom Gana Parishad came to power in 1985 in the very year it was formed. Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was in his early thirties then.

The most sensational debut in an Assembly was NT Rama Rao and the Telugu Desam Party. Within a year of formation, it won a whopping 201/290 seats in Andhra Pradesh. The truth is that AAP is not the greatest debut as it is being made out to be.

But the national scene is a different thing all together. C Rajagopalachari was our first Indian Governor General after Independence. But his Swatantra Party became the chief Opposition only in 1967.

The Congress was formed in 1885 and the RSS in 1925. Even the Left parties, around since before Independence, got their best electoral show in 2004. If you said that AAP could be the third largest party in the Lok Sabha after Congress and BJP in 2019, then it’s slightly possible.

Plus how is AAP going to rule if it keeps swearing at all parties and says it will have absolutely nothing to do with them?

Myth 6: He’s the outsider
Kejriwal was a bureaucrat and it is the bureaucracy which is running the country. Then he was part of civil society which is also close to the establishment.

In that manner people are trying to compare him to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi calling them both outsiders, but that is totally wrong.

AAP is the darling of the ruling establishment in India and if you notice then he has the mainstream media eating out of his hands.

Myth 7: His is a party with a difference

If you combine the above factors then you’ll realize that there’s not much to differentiate between the AAP and other parties. They all try to woo the voters with freebies and take the secular path even if that brings them in close proximity fundamental hardliners.

The AAP has taken outside support from the Congress, something they said they would never do. They have been high on name calling too.
Post script…

The entire anti-Modi industry first leaned on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi as the great new hope and then even someone like BJP patriarch LK Advani briefly. They also flirted with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan but their latest darling is Kejriwal.

More From this Author:

10 sound bites of 2013...

2013: The year Congress totally lost it

2013: The Year of Narendra Modi

2013: A year in terror

Why we're all going crazy over Tejpal

The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. 

He blogs here.