Et tu, Arvind?

  • Atul Sobti
  • India
  • Apr 03, 2015

FG has carried many – mainly favourable and motivational - editorials on AAP and Arvind Kejriwal over the last 2 years: Lage Raho Arvind Bhai, Pehle AAP, Aap Zara Sochiye, It’s AAP-time folks! While the skirmishes over the past month or so have been distasteful, what has been most disappointing and surprising has been the poor leadership of Arvind Kejriwal and the descent of AAP into a high command-led, chamcha-fed Delhi Party. 

Was the feigned hurt, followed by the attack on Yadav and Bhushan, just a clever cover up? The plan seems to have been to dramatically and expeditiously purge these men, as they were pushing for an investigation into AAP’s various electoral omissions and commissions, which were starting to surface as stings. The internal lokpal was probably jettisoned for the same reason. It seems that Kejriwal had already decided last year that wheeling-dealing for the purpose of forming a govt. (with the Congress, again!) was legitimate. At this rate he could use ‘swaraj’ (for himself now as much as for the people) as a wonderful excuse to justify even more intrigues. He’s anyway done away with the pretence of an independent lokpal, which was at the very core of AAP’s philosophy. He seems to have come full circle – but not anywhre near where he started. 

Why did Kejriwal  allow things to degenerate for 1½ years? If there was fighting at all meetings, why did he not stop it earlier? At the recent AAP meeting, did we really hear a leader – a Party President cum CM of AAP - speak, or was it a manipulator feigning hurt and then using a yes men coterie and emotional blackmail (me or them, resignation letter!) to ‘vote out’ his two senior colleagues? What stopped him from calling them in, telling them why he was planning action against them, listening to their point of view and then taking a final decision? Instead, he  asked the ‘accused’ to patiently hear him out, but had no patience to hear them (or allow them to be heard) and conveniently left for an urgent meeting. Why did he not at least have the courtesy, if not magnanimity, of speaking to the AAP Lokpal (which would have been the ‘original’ AAP’s most revered post) on the matter, and on his decision to terminate his services (despite using him for the selection of election candidates)? Wasn’t that the fair way, the transparent way, the erstwhile AAP way? Why did Kejriwal have to earlier send a team to ‘bargain’ with a member of his own team? And why was he ‘negotiating’ with people whom he says had stabbed him in the back? Why let the charade continue for days, without once meeting Yadav? Why did Kejriwal continue to rely on ‘news’, ‘updates’ and ‘leaks’ from his ‘inner team’ only? It’s disappointing to see that he seems to now prefer the company of yes men only - he will definitely be the poorer for it. He should also beware, for one of them will likely stab him in the back. Kejriwal should have given clear charge to Yadav in Haryana after the Delhi election result.  He could have killed two birds with one stone. It seems the key issue that Bhushan and Yadav had was with Arvind wishing to retain the posts of CM as well as National Convener. Their stand is clearly what a party like AAP should wholeheartedly endorse. However, it seems that Kejriwal, post the Delhi election, had started thinking differently. In this acid test of leadership and of doing right for the Party, Kejriwal has failed miserably.

Aam Aadmi meant different politics – especially vis-à-vis the Congress and BJP. It definitely was not meant to be a high command Party, let alone a one man show. It is still not too late. Why can’t there be a secret ballot for the election of National Convener. Or does Kejriwal now ‘realise’ that non-coterie members and volunteers cannot be relied on for ‘important’ matters? Arvindji, it’s time to redeem yourself.And the best way is to solely  focus your team and yourself on delivering genuine civic and social governance to Delhi’s citizens – especially the underclass. Mohalla sabhas should now be less about listening and more about doing. And for that you need your volunteers. Call them all together, accept your mistake(s) and promise to not stray from the swaraj path. Meanwhile, AAP members and volunteers across the country would be seriously introspecting on their and AAP’s future – deliberating whether Kejriwal’s ‘justifications’ for ‘flexibility’ are acceptable to them. Arvindji, you would know that it is not Bhushan and Yadav that you need to fear politically, but your felllow aam aadmis across the nation and abroad…and your own conscience. AAP was an idea whose time had just’s too early for it to start fading away. 

Why was Kejriwal’s shared speech edited at many places? The Tihar comment, to take on Prashant Bhushan, seemed theatrical. Arvind surely knew what a personal bond was. He had played up his Tihar decision at the time. Why was Arvind, a National Convener, finding solace in finding faults with Haryana and Yadav? It only seemed to show that, despite occupying the National Convener post, he bats only for Delhi.

Why does Kejriwal insist on remaining the National Convener as well as CM? Why is he trying to be a Sonia cum Manmohan or a Modi cum Shah? Is this what he meant by claiming that AAP stands for different politics?


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