AAP’s 7 mistakes to cover one

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 27, 2014 06:07 hrs

Point 1: The problems of Indian police are well known to everyone. We hear tales of corruption, brutality and indifference every day all across the country. The Delhi Police is no different. What are required are large scale police reforms, but nobody is ready to bite the bullet.
Screaming that you will sort out the police, vigilantism and dharnas will not lead in any kind of police reforms.

Point 2: There may be a drug and prostitution problem in Khirkee Extension in New Delhi and all the residents may be truly frustrated. But again a detailed investigation and procedural measures can yield results. Racism, vigilantism and not honouring the basic rights of Africans in India will make it worse.

Original mistake…

Everyone watched in horror on TV as Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti was seen conducting a night raid and urging the police to enter a premise without a proper arrest warrant. TV clips also showed Bharti at AIIMS later on.
Ugandan women came on TV and narrated their ordeal and also made official complaints. They recounted the horror of AAP supporters forming a mob hounding them, harassing them and forcing them to take a drug test (which came out negative).
The Ugandan women said that they felt they would be killed and only the Delhi Police saved them.

Mistake 1: Bharti’s arrogance.

Had Bharti apologized the very next day and resolved to sort out the drug and prostitution menace in a more effective and legal way (he is after all a lawyer and Law Minister isn’t he?), then the situation could have been salvaged.

But ever since the incident occurred and to this present day, Bharti has been making one arrogant statement after another, severely worsening matters. The mainstream media has been attacking Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi non-stop since Godhra occurred in 2002.
On the other hand the very same media went totally berserk in praising and giving widespread coverage to Arvind Kejriwal and AAP.
And still bizarrely Bharti asked the media how much money Modi had paid them to hound him!

Mistake 2: Demand for removal of cops.

Kejriwal also could have done some damage control. He could have backed Bharti on the issue but added that the methods were wrong. Now the AAP would get its act together and permanently sort out the Khirkee Extension issue.
Instead he turned a total blind eye to the racist, misogynist and goonda-type actions of Bharti and his supporters. He queered the pitch even further and asked for the suspension of the policemen whose job is to obey the law and not necessarily the Law Minister.

Mistake 3: The dharna.

India has seen many agitations and dharnas in the past and our Independence itself was brought out of a huge series of protests. The Mandal agitations also saw the OBC quota being introduced.
Then there was August Kranti and the anti-rape agitation. However all these took up lofty goals. Never had the city been brought to a standstill over the petty issue of saving a minister’s vigilantism and the suspension of a few police officials.

Mistake 4: The climb-down.

Somewhere along the way, we were led to believe that this was an indefinite dharna for the control of Delhi Police. The Republic Day celebrations were under cloud and when AAP supporters broke down a barricade and things were getting serious.
A Chief Minister also slept on the cold Delhi streets and this was new and for some time people thought this was another August Kranti. Then suddenly Kejriwal called off the agitation over a few police officials being sent on leave!

Mistake 5: AAP’s non-stop defence.

Throughout this sordid saga each and every AAP leader has been defending him non-stop. The usually polished suave and logical Yogendra Yadav has started sounding like broken record. Ashutosh’s defence of Bharti makes no sense.
The waving of a copy of a letter from the Ugandan High Commission was insane. Finally even though Kejriwal rebuked Bharti for asking the media whether they were getting money from Modi, he went ahead and attacked the media even though they were his biggest friends till the night of the fateful midnight raid.

Mistake 6: Attacking the DCW.

Bodies like the Delhi Commission of Women are not very effective, but they do go through the motions and there’s no point in rubbishing them, but that is exactly what Bharti did. First he refused to attend their summons sending his lawyers instead saying he was busy.
What was he busy with? Some kite flying at some festival.
Then he went ahead and demanded the resignation of the head of the DCW!

Mistake 7: Sting wars.

For a long time we were told that Bharti’s defence was on its way. It took so long that we would have expected a magnum opus. Instead we got a string of incomplete bits of videos that were supposed to be proof.
In one we were shown condoms (nobody would have guessed that they are illegal in India), some spilt alcohol (is there prohibition in New Delhi?) and a bag full of drugs (the bag was closed but we are supposed to believe the AAP sleuths that there are drugs inside). In another bizarre one an African man was running around naked in daylight in some unknown area of Delhi. If that’s Bharti’s defence then God save us! Finally, they have released the names and addresses of Africans they think are involved in the ultimate act of privacy violation.

How many more mistakes is the AAP going to make to cover its one original mistake?

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.