Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP have had an extremely stormy reign in Delhi that fell short of a half-century in terms of days that they ruled.
But there are some things in which they have gone horribly wrong…
1. Ensuring Delhi Police will always be with the Centre
The Delhi Chief Minister is probably the weakest CM in the country in terms of powers. Delhi Police has always been a sticking point and the Central government has been unwilling to let it go from its hands.
However with the increasing crime situation in Delhi, public opinion has been steadily in favour of the Delhi Police coming under the Delhi CM. But with the dharna, anarchy, vigilantism and the ugly sight of the Delhi CM and Delhi Police fighting with each other, now no Centre will ever let go of the Delhi Police.
Any Central government will be scared of a UP goonda raj, Bihar jungle raj or AAP anarchy like situation happening in Delhi. They will now never trust the security of the seat of their government in anyone else’s hands and make sure that the Delhi Police will always stay with them.
2. Destroying the power situation in the long run
The power situation in India is very tricky. About one-third of India lives in darkness and the power cuts the rest face are many. There is rampant power theft and mismanagement. Power reforms are very tricky and some States have done a great job while others have perished.
Kejriwal instead of initiating much needed power reforms just gave out freebies, waived off defaulters’ bills and threatened power companies. Power reforms have been set back in Delhi.
3. Kicking governance out of Delhi
Sheila Dixit seems like a saint as compared to Kejriwal when it comes to governance. Kejriwal’s rule has just consisted of a dharna, dramas, night raids, TV press conferences, allegations and confrontations.
There was no governance and if we have no government for a few more months followed by another hung Assembly then god only knows what happens to governance in Delhi. Just look at States like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar…
A long period of good governance can be undone in virtually no time. 2014 is going to be an extremely crucial year for Delhi. If you think the crime scene is bad in Delhi, it still can get worse.
4. Holding the city to ransom over a vigilante
The JP movement in the 1970s led to an alternative at the Centre and in many States. The Mandal Commission agitation in the 1980s led to reservation for the OBCs. The freedom movement itself was anarchist in nature for the ruling British.
Had Kejriwal done a dharna to end police brutality or to initiate police reforms or to take control of them with a slew of good ideas, history would have forgiven him. Somnath Bharti has been accused of being a spammer and been pulled up by a court in the past.
He was seen on TV leading a vigilante mob that was racist and misogynist in nature. Kejriwal held a dharna and held the city to ransom to save such a man?
5. Taking the support of the Congress
It is amazing how the AAP keeps shouting from rooftops that the Congress and BJP are the same and are hand in glove.
Every Prime Minister in India has been a Congressman or an ex-Congressman. The only exception is AB Vajpayee of the BJP.
Almost every government has been backed by the Congress or bailed out the Congress from time to time or been in a coalition with the Congress. The only exception is the BJP.
The BJP has many sins and may have been ineffective in handling the Congress in the last 10 years but that’s about it.
The AAP government was born with the support of the Congress and hence can’t claim the moral high ground on that particular issue in which the BJP is the only party with a difference.
Kejriwal had sworn on his children’s head that he wouldn’t take the support of Congress and he did exactly that. In this particular point AAP is like any other party in India which can’t shun the Congress.
6. Telling the citizens that rules aren't important
Cut your power lines. Don’t pay your bills. You don’t need a search warrant to search a woman’s premise in the night. Autowallahs don’t have to install GPS or bother about other rules. The Republic Day may be held to ransom. The Delhi CM may clash with the Delhi Police…
At each and every stage Kejriwal has told us that rules are not important. India does have a few bad laws but most of them not being followed forms the major part of the problem. So we are being told to simply disregard the rules of the law while being told more laws (Jan Lokpal Bill) will help. What a contradiction!
7. Coming across as arrogant and stubborn as any other party
BJP leaders looked arrogant during the NDA regime. Congress leaders surpassed them defending the endless scams of UPA2. But now AAP leaders, led by Kejriwal, are proving much worse.
They are arrogant, stubborn and peddle the same lies and same lame excuses like any other party.
For a change both BJP and Congress spokespersons are looking good in TV panel debates in the face of the misplaced belligerence and sheer nonsense of AAP spokespersons. They are taking a cue from Kejriwal, who has shown his arrogant avatar as CM.
The AAP leaders set out to be totally different from the common politicians they despised so much—but in many respects they have ended up being much worse than them!
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.