AAP leader and New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is a showman par excellence. The 2011 August Kranti agitation was a spectacle that entertained India for weeks on end. However at the end of it all, what have we got out of it?
Has corruption come down in India? Has the passage of the Lokpal Bill by Parliament done any good? The jury is still out on that one. When the agitation ended Kejriwal continued to entertain.
There was the public cutting of electricity wires and there was the high-profile press conference targeting Robert Vadra.
Kejriwal’s hit and run tactics were a media delight even though they yielded very few results in changing the ground situation of India. However electorally they yielded great results and the AAP got 28 seats in the Delhi Assembly.
If you thought we would finally have governance, then we were sadly mistaken. We had the fiascos of the Janata Durbars and Somnath Bharti’s midnight raid at Khirki Extension. It all climaxed with a CM doing a dharna on the streets of New Delhi.
Kejri quit so he could do more drama for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He visited Gujarat and Varanasi and kept attacking then then BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi just to get TV coverage.
When he got plastered at the Lok Sabha polls, he turned all his focus on New Delhi. All his drama yielded even richer results when he got 67/70 seats in the Delhi Assembly.
Die-hard AAP supporters in the capital thought that they would finally have governance and they were sadly mistaken again.
As there is the famous saying goes…
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
It’s been about 45 days since Kejriwal became CM and there is still a lot of showing off but no concrete results on the ground. First they were more in the news for demanding privileges for themselves. Then a few leaders starting distancing themselves from all the tall promises they made.
Then strangely Kejriwal went on 10 days leave just 21 days after taking office. There are CEOs and government heads who haven’t taken leave for 10 years and here was a case of someone collapsing in just 21 days.
The TV news channels instead of calling his bluff covered his 10-day naturopathy camp as if it was some sort of victory parade.
Things are getting worse and worse. The AAP is in the midst of an internecine war and there will only be firefighting for some time and no time for governance. Meanwhile garbage is piling up on the streets of New Delhi.
As usual instead of getting to the root of the problem, AAP MLAs came on the streets with brooms. Is that a long-term solution? Will that solve all the garbage woes? If the opposition or common citizen sweeps the city then it is a symbolic move to put pressure on the government.
If the government itself uses symbolism instead of concrete action, then what hope is there? But then what else can you expect from a party where the CM goes on a dharna in the night and fights the police instead of reforming it?
Summer is looming and there may be a water and power crisis. But Kejriwal has “show-off” solutions for that also. He has threatened to cut water from VVIP areas and he summoned the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) Chairman into the Assembly who promptly refused.
Having serious talks with all the parties involved may solve power crises but summoning the DERC Chairman reads much better in a news report. That is exactly what Kejriwal is aiming for. For the news channels Kejriwal is synonymous with high TRP ratings.
If there is 24 hour entertainment on the TV news channels but no water in the taps and no power in the house and garbage is piling up outside then there’s only that much the common Delhiite can be impressed by his CM “showing off”.
It is ironic that Delhi is a city which simply loves showing off and now it has got a show-off CM who hardly works for the good of his city.
Delhi is also the ultimate VVIP city and now its CM symbolizes that perfectly.
You could say that Kejriwal and the average Delhiite are a perfect fit!
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here