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HomeOpinionsDid Arvind Kejriwal's immature election strategy drown AAP in MCD elections?

Did Arvind Kejriwal’s immature election strategy drown AAP in MCD elections?

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Saket Suryesh
Saket Suryesh
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Writer, Columnist, Satirist. Published Author of Collection of Hindi Short-stories 'Ek Swar, Sahasra Pratidhwaniyaan' and English translation of Autobiography of Noted Freedom Fighter, Ram Prasad Bismil, The Revolutionary. Interested in Current Affairs, Politics and History of Bharat.

Sometimes truth is so simple that it escapes the eyes of the clever. Clever people are naturally inclined to search the subtle, to investigate the infinite. Unfortunately they oftentimes end up being victim of their own ability. This we saw in wise people declaring 98 percent and no less possibility of Hillary Clinton becoming the US president. Closer home, we saw the wise predicting the same in UP, in Punjab and in Goa. The municipal elections of Delhi have concluded and the results are out. The results of the election are as under:

Total seats contested: 279
The tally Party-wise is:
BJP: 181
AAP: 48
Congress: 30
Others: 20

To be honest, past MCDs ruled by BJP have dismal record of performance with ghost employees, ghost schemes and absolutely disheartening corruption. The common sense and sense of the wise political analysts predicted rout for BJP and either a spectacular victory for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party or a return of Congress. The results have amazed everyone. The pundits have been breaking heads on TV studios through the day trying to decipher the results.

The inferences are generally vague. Most are blaming the fact that Arvind Kejriwal ran away to promote the party in Goa and Punjab is something which disenchanted the voters. Most AAP supporters on channels, since AAP cleverly never sends their spokespersons to TV to communicate to people in their times of fall and send instead ‘supporters’ to studios so that they can easy escape out of the situation when things get too difficult to handle, credit the BJP wins to all odd things- EVM tampering to less love of masses as compared to more love of the masses for Modi.

These analyses are too simplistic. It exonerates everyone, gives vent to everyone and does not help anyway in educating anyone. AAP, looked at in neutrality, has done well for their first MCD election. In neutrality and in isolation, this is a good result. Only, this is not a result in isolation. It is based on the history of AAP. The extent to which this result is damaging for AAP can be measured if we bring referential points in to picture. The key referential points are:
– AAP claimed to be majority seats in Goa. They got a cipher and their Chief ministerial candidate lost his deposit.
– AAP made entry in Punjab with 20 seats but there again what went against them was ballistic claims of forming the government.
– AAP supremo, Arvind Kejriwal, himself turned this election into a referendum for his government.

One cannot dispute Arvind for making this election into referendum for his own acceptability for the simple reason that having lost the possibility of forming the government anywhere outside Delhi (in any full state, to be fair), he had to make it a referendum, proving his strength as a politician to leverage himself once again for out of Delhi initiatives. He was left with Delhi and with 67 out of 70 seats of assembly with him of near-absolute majority, he was sure of making himself visible as a strong alternative to Narendra Modi in the center of Delhi.

Always a media darling, almost a creation of media, he must have counted on a sure win, irrespective of AAP contestant losing deposit in Rajouri Garden By-poll which AAP considered an aberration, to resurrect his position and giant-killer against Modi, latter absolutely detested to the priests of Lutyen’s Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal in 2015 Delhi election, decimating not only Congress, also BJP which was still not over its spectacular LS win, was for the media-haters of Modi a David to kill the Goliath with. Arvind wanted to regain that position after defeats in state elections, and what better place than Delhi. So up came the hoardings claiming Arvind Kejriwal versus Vijender Gupta.

To be fair, both Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal are the outcome of India’s desperation with dynastic, corrupt government. Both were created out of absolute disenchantment of people with the politics as it was with Congress- the eternal ruler and the BJP as a congress which was a little less congress. Both were the result of frustration of people who had been silent for long. Kejriwal’s initial target was Congress which after a string of scams was seen as mother of all corruption. In that sense, both BJP under Modi and AAP under Kejriwal had common enemies.

The IAC had a strong RW support. RW anger against the way things were largely toothless as every election Congress would work out cunning electoral strategy, splitting Hindu votes on caste and class, and consolidating Muslim votes with appeasement and hoax of BJP as anti-Muslim dispensation. The RW support for IAC get shifter to AAP as the initial campaign went with Modi in Centre and Kejriwal in Delhi. What a wonderful team it could have turned out to be!

Kejriwal and AAP was similar to a new startup. Lateral entries came in. Everyone was appointed as the director. These people who got the top roles in return of media management, shrewd, clinical and base electoral politics had no respect for people or their mandate. As in any small IT company, we found booming after Y2K, each with an ambition of becoming another Microsoft, AAP wanted to be biggest party in the nation and therein lies its fault. A party which came into being with strong RW support, translating from the anti-corruption anger, quickly went the Congress way, with 42nd amendment (brought in by Congress against the wishes of authors of constitution during Emergency) terms of Socialism and Secularism as their ticket to power.

Kejriwal came back to power with a recorded apology massage for abandoning power in 49 days in the earlier sting, actually took people for fools and over-estimated the sway he had over the electorate as an anti-corruption crusader. In politics, there are clean people, but no one can be so clean that they can clean other people without getting dirt on themselves. Kejriwal believed he was. He had seen Anna vouching for the honesty of people and masses believing him. Anna had the advantage of lack of ambition on his side. You cannot be ambitious and still claim to be treated as a saint.

This could have been at the advice of reporters like Ashish Khetan and his ilk who made their career out of attacking Modi, thereby drawing some sort of adversarial equivalence that the target for Kejriwal moved from BJP to Congress. So instead of fighting against the party which was linked to all major scams in recent past, on the promise of fighting which Kejriwal came to Power, he began attacking the other candidate who represented hope for people against all the ills of Congress- like Muslim appeasement, Leftist bent, and propagandist politics. The space which is now filled by Yogi Adityanath as able lieutenant of Narendra Modi, was ceded by Kejriwal as he colluded with the corrupts like Laloo Yadav and anti-nationals like JNU brigade openly. This was clearly the case of a politician who does not know his constituency.

If he had the wisdom to anticipate the leftist sway on the larger masses, instead of himself being foolishly misguided by the leftist sway on the media (from where he draws majority of his advisors), which was made abundantly clear by left getting 51 votes (not seats) in the elections. Media has seen the politics from studios where the left forms most influential group, while real-politik gets played in the dusty lanes of the less-developed India, where majority RW ignored out of national narrative for long calls the shots, if not on anything else, at least on numerical strength. By taking a visible anti-RW stance, counting on the loud protests and street strength of left (which oftentimes do not go to vote) Kejriwal reversed his initial politics and this election is a big referendum on that.

What makes it a referendum is that apart from his own fooling arrogance as mentioned earlier, Delhi MCD takes into account the same constituency which gave him brute majority in assembly polls two years back. Failure in this constituency is the testimony of the fact that the same people who elected him no longer favor him. AAP sympathizers quote Bihar debacle of BJP and mention that no one asked Modi’s resignation post that. The argument is flawed a very basic level. The mandate Modi enjoys does not come from one state of Bihar. Bihar failure does not mean that he should resign disrespecting trust other states continue to place on him. On the other hand, Kejriwal is CM on the basis of the mandate given by the same electorate two years back which today has rejected him. This is a fit case for Right to Recall.

Arvind Kejriwal’s mild-mannered technocrat image was carefully crafted with pens in the pocket, oversized shirts, and worn-out slippers. Inside the pretentious image was hidden a megalomaniac, over-ambitious man. We cannot blame his failures on his coterie. He is the man who made this coterie carefully. He needed to surround himself with people smaller than him in political stature, being a novice, and make huge arrogant noises to prove his stature. Head of a state which in effect, nothing but a municipality, he not only kept hitting above his weight by attacking the PM on matters of national and international importance for which CMs of much larger states kept silent. He, the man who came to politics on the promise of transparent and accountable governance was much closer to the Russian model of communism, which talks about equality but punishes anyone who dares to question to Gulag.

It was fortunate for the citizens that the second candidate our democracy created out of desperation from decades of mis-governance, emerged into more powerful figure with more sincere intentions and the position between Modi and Kejriwal was not reverse. Arvind Kejriwal, being entrusted with small constituency with small scope decided to take no responsibility and made attacking the Prime Minister his full time occupation. Kejriwal has mediocre talent around him who are equally ambitious. Having seen that Kejriwal wants to offer no real tangible thing to people, nor has what it takes to offer people anything good, apart from promises to appeal to greed of the corrupt and illegal, sought their pound of flesh for having created a demi-god out of a base man. They were appointed to committees, un-elected given cabinet rank, free hand to indulge in corruption.

So one MLA’s father gets caught in rape case, another gets arrested in fake degree, yet another in sex scam, and instead of showing bit of remorse, our man arrogantly keeps attacking a man who has little substantiated charges against him, who keeps working tirelessly changing the landscape of the nation. With his Naxal colleagues, we find Kejriwal standing with the corrupt, nation-breakers, throwing public money to further his ambitions, with nation-wide advertisements and compensation to people merely on the basis of the possibility to attack Modi. If one takes the history of last two years, you would find Kejriwal standing with all things immoral and illegal- take black money and demonetization, take cow-slaughter.

The results which should have been humbling event calling for introspection among AAP cadres, found them attacking not only democratic institution like election commission, rather also attacking the voters, the same people to who they will again be going in assembly elections. It is at one level satisfying since it guarantees eradication of this bane on Indian democracy called Kejriwal in the next election. Greed has its limits, you cannot keep appealing to the greed of people especially if you have failed on your earlier promises. This bribing of voters cannot replace governance. People do realize that freebies is only for them, while governance is for their future generations. Anyone who has had a child would know, the hardships for present are easily bearable if they come with the assurance of better tomorrow. That is what story of human survival is all about. Only a short-sighted politician will not understand that.

As Confucius said, “If your conduct is determined solely by consideration of profits you will arouse great resentment.” This is not the case of absence of love towards AAP, it is the case of abomination towards AAP. Kejriwal’s colleague from media might have told him that vulture politics over deaths make good story, but nobody seems to have told him that it does not make a good politics. People do not only not love Arvind Kejriwal, they deplore him.

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Saket Suryesh
Saket Suryesh
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Writer, Columnist, Satirist. Published Author of Collection of Hindi Short-stories 'Ek Swar, Sahasra Pratidhwaniyaan' and English translation of Autobiography of Noted Freedom Fighter, Ram Prasad Bismil, The Revolutionary. Interested in Current Affairs, Politics and History of Bharat.
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