Dharnas against the government, FIRs against corporates, statements against FDI, holding the state and the country to ransom – the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) party led by Arvind Kejriwal has done all this and more since coming to power in the last week of December. What have they achieved? What have they governed? What they are planning to do in the future? Do they even have a roadmap? Let’s check it out.
Arvind Kejriwal left ‘Team Anna’ midway during the Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption in Nov-2012. He decided that if they wanted to get the Jan Lokpal Bill through, they should form a political party. Many who believed that one should be part of the system to change the system supported his decision. But some of them including Hazare disagreed. There was confusion on how will his party get its own members to even fight elections let alone win them. Some wondered whether they will have enough funds to fight the election. But despite all this and against all odds, the party was formed towards the end of 2012.
1 year on, Kejriwal won 28 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Legislative Assembly election. Though they hadn’t gained majority, in a surprising turn of events Congress supported AAP to form the government. And so Kejriwal came to power almost one year from the day he began his journey for a corruption free India.
Now was the time for him to act. Now was the time for him to ensure that all his promises to the people were fulfilled. Now was the time for him to make India a corruption free country. And what better place to start than the capital – Delhi itself. He had the huge support of the people. And that was because people have become frustrated with every politician in the country. He seemed like a messiah in the big bad world of politics.
Kejriwal surely had some interesting points in his manifesto. Though, they may seem quite ideal, a lot many people thought that finally someone has risen to give the Congress and BJP a fight. And honestly, he did manage to make them sit up and take notice. Isn’t that a big achievement in itself? With the support for his party rising among the general public, more and more corporates and famous figures also began joining the party. From Ashutosh of CNN IBN to Balakrishnan from Infosys, AAP had become the darling of the country in just a year.
But again, what goes up must come down. In just 49 days of power, Kejriwal and AAP become known more for confrontational politics and agitations. But all you have heard him do is protest or sit on endless dharnas. Whether it was Somnath Bharti being accused of abusing woman or Kejriwal making statements like “Delhi Police is not under our control” after the rape of the Danish woman, things seem to have gone down hill.
One of Kejriwal’s biggest pain points was the inflated electricity bills of people. He alleged that power companies were minting money and making crores and cheating people and decided to an audit. Well and good. During his election campaign, he asked people to not pay the bills. Finally the 24000 who didn’t pay have been given a 50% discount in their bills. Result – The government will pay the amount from the taxpayers money. To be honest, this just reinforced the belief that you can get away with not paying for services you use. And such populist measures are always problematic in the long run.
Recently Kofi Annan had said that the Indian government should be wary of too many subsidies. People should be paying for what products they use. But instead with measures like Kejriwal’s, it seems that our politicians never learn.
One of the worst scenes was Kejriwal protesting on the road in front of the Rail Bhavan for suspension of 3 police officials who disobeyed his law minister Somnath Bharti. Yes, our country’s politicians don’t have any respect for democracy as seen from the knives and pepper sprays used recently, but this was surely one of the lowest points of his rule. There sure can be better ways of governing than a minister himself holding the country to ransom.
But a lot of criticism at AAP has got to do with the fact that their opponents did become jittery. Their every move was being debated and commented upon by BJP and Congress supporters with a lot of analysis. Any wrong move was over analysed.
Maybe in hindsight, AAP shouldn’t have accepted to come to power at all. Maybe, they got into the game too early. Maybe, they would have been better off being in the opposition and learning the tricks of the trade for a while before getting their hands dirty.
Though 1.5 month is a very short period of time, Kejriwal and his AAP party became known for dharnas and protests. I am sure they have done some good work like converting old buses into shelters for poor people suffering in the cold, conducting sting operations on corrupt officials, organizing the Janta Darbar (though it turned out to be quite chaotic) etc. But sadly, all this was always overshadowed.
But what shocked everyone the most including his own party was that Kejriwal resigned once the Lokpal Bill didn’t go through. He could have protested. He could have gone to the court. He could have done a lot more than just resign.
Kejriwal is a revolutionist but sadly he became known more for anarchy as the time went on. If you have started a revolution, why leave in the middle? If you filed an FIR against Mukesh Ambani, why not stay put to fight it through? If you have promised the people the Lokpal Bill, shouldn’t you see it through?
For the first time in years, people had started to expect something to change in the country. People had started to believe in the man. He had shown everyone that you can change the system.
But alas, he’s gone for now. And no one knows what’s coming next!