Arvind Kejriwal : WILL HE BE THE 2014 GAME CHANGER?

leadArvind Kejriwal won the Confidence Vote in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha. Won the Confidence Vote in the sense that the Congress was left with no alternative but to support it and the Bharatiya Janata Party was left gazing helplessly at Arvind Kejriwal seated in the Chief Minister’s chair. In fact, the BJP had believed that there was anger against the policies of the Congress, they had Narendra Modi with them, they had been in a fifteen year exile which would end in 2013 and Dr. Harshvardhan would become the new Chief Minister of Delhi. The Bharatiya Janata Party was in a state of such over enthusiasm and extreme self belief that it just didn’t depute all its leaders for campaigning in a planned manner. Their self belief had increased to an extent beyond limits only because of the wrath against the Congress, and the crowds that had gathered at Narendra Modi’s rallies and meetings. Due to these spectacles they wore they could not see that the anger of the people of Delhi was as much at the Bhartiya Janata Party as it was at the Congress.
It seemed to the people that the Bharatiya Janata Party had not discharged its role of opposition properly and correctly. Neither did it do so in Delhi, nor did it do so against the Government sitting at the Centre inside of Parliament. On the roads of Delhi the BJP was seen only in a ritualistic manner. It did not oppose the Congress policies anywhere. It could not oppose those policies anyway, because its own its economic policies and those of the Congress are the same. The BJP’s complaint is just that — which Narendra Modi says in his meetings — the Congress has not implemented its open liberal economic policies, and they (the BJP) will implement them properly.
If people had known that Arvind Kejriwal would get so many seats, then it is certain that that Arvind Kejriwal would have got more seats than a clear majority required. If Anna Hazare had campaigned in his support in Delhi, then too Arvind Kejriwal would have got a clear majority. But Arvind Kejriwal’s misfortune was that even those who were with him in their hearts, were not prepared to give him more than 12 to 14 seats. The entire media proved to be unsuccessful in this matter. Legislators proved to be unsuccessful. Congress and BJP strategists were ‘defeated’ on this issue. ‘Defeat’ was something that even Arvind Kejriwal’s associates tasted. When Yogendra Yadav got a survey conducted in Delhi, he gave the Aam Aadmi party 47 seats. These 47 seats became a weapon of publicity for Arvind Kejriwal. In fact, Arvind Kejriwal used everything that he could for publicity and campaigning. He made extensive use of Yogendra Yadav’s credibility and his Institute, without disclosing that Yogendra Yadav was a leader of this very party. Those people who saw Yogendra Yadav’z analysis of the elections on various TV channels, they kept in mind only that image of Yogendra Yadav. That is why where the media, which had said a maximum of 12 to 14 seats would go to the Aam Aadmi Party, was unsuccessful, I believe that Yogendra Yadav, who said 47 seats for the Aam Aadmi Party, also failed, as only 28 seats went to the Aam Aadmi Party.
But getting these 28 seats is not important. What is important is the anger of Delhi, the difficulties which the people of Delhi have been facing for the last sixty years. They were not heard either in the Congress, nor were they heard in the Bharatiya Janata Party. The people were also angry with such parties which registered their presence in the Delhi Assembly by winning just two or three seats. That is why Mayawatiji’s Bahujan Samaj Party was wiped out in the elections percentage-wise in Delhi and in numbers was wiped out totally. Actually, the entire base of the Congress slipped away and went to the Aam Aadmi Party. This is the first time in Delhi that people living in the slums did not take money, there was a lesser quantity of liquor distributed in the slums. Usually it is considered that slums and unauthorised colonies are the trump card of the Congress, where a night or two before the elections, liquor is handed out, money is distributed, and the votes come to the Congress. This did not happen this time. This time people themselves asked Arvind Kejriwal to come and hold meetings. People themselves gave their support to Arvind Kejriwal. They made Arvind Kejriwal a weapon for their anger against the political system. This weapon was a weapon of the people, which they used in the elections. The story after this is even more interesting, because neither the media nor election analysts nor those conducting pre-election surveys recognised that Arvind Kejriwal was becoming a symbol of the people’s anger.
One thing becomes clear from this and that is that all analysis, all surveys are like leaves in the wind or to put it crudely, bullshit. They are there to make fools out of people. It was the same case with seats in Rajasthan. Nobody had imagined that Vasundhara Raje would get so many seats. It had been accepted that because of Ashok Gehlot, Vasundhara Raje would come to power, but that she would come to power with so many seats, nobody had even considered.
Arvind Kejriwal carried out his entire campaign the way a students movement is carried out. He ‘instigated’ the youth in the same way. He called workers from all over the country in the same way. Many workers from all over the country came voluntarily. They came to Delhi and stayed on facing difficulties. For some the stay was good. But they all worked equally. And the way the workers worked to create an atmosphere in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, was something unique – something which the people had forgotten. It was prior to the decade of the nineties that such campaigns were carried out. Political parties had workers. But now political parties no longer have dedicated workers. Political parties alleged that by giving money to people – rupees two thousand daily – Arvind Kejriwal lured people to campaign in his favour. Actually, they could not understand why the youth had come out to campaign in favour of Arvind Kejriwal. Why were people coming from overseas to campaign for him? We kept seeing Arvind Kejriwal in the form of an over zealous election warrior. But that very over enthusiasm of Arvind Kejriwal gave confidence to the people of Delhi that this was the person who could be used as a weapon for their anger.
Arvind Kejriwal did not practice traditional or conventional politics. He practiced non-conventional politics, he practiced direct politics, which the Congress and the BJP or journalists, the media, election analysts thought was his strategy. Arvind Kejriwal did not make any strategy. He did just one thing. He went amongst the people and convinced them that with his strict attitude he would not make any compromises, ally with or come to any agreement with the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Congress, and this is what won the hearts of the people of Delhi. Now, when there has been a victory for Arvind Kejriwal in the Vidhan Sabha, the way he gave a speech without adopting a soft attitude towards the Congress, shows that Arvind Kejriwal did not make any agreement or compromise for the ‘kursi’ (Chair).

However, in the corridors of Delhi, there is hot news that Rahul Gandhi goes to a gym in Aman (Lodhi) Hotel on Lodhi Road. Sheila Dikshit said to Rahul Gandhi said that if support is given to Arvind Kejriwal it would be in the interest of the Congress, otherwise the Bharatiya Janata Party would get the Aam Aadmi Party legislators to resign or it would buy out the Congress legislators. Because only eight Congress MLAs have been elected, out of them five may go to the BJP. Because nobody wants elections, therefore, they should support the Aam Aadmi Party. When Sheila Dikshit explained this to Rahul Gandhi for two days in a row, it entered Rahul Gandhi’s mind that the Aam Aadmi Party should be given support. In the Lodhi Road gym Rahul Gandhi met some people, and gave them the green signal that the Aam Aadmi Party should be supported.
However, many Congress people believe that now, for the next ten years, the Congress has ‘disappeared’ from the politics of Delhi, because Arvind Kejriwal’s agenda is the agenda of the people. The Congress and BJP never go by this agenda. If Arvind Kejriwal’s steps go down well with and appeal to the people of Delhi, in the next elections, whether they are held in six months or in a year, Arvind Kejriwal will come to Delhi with a towering majority. Therefore, many people in the Congress are saying that together, Sheila Dikshit and Rahul Gandhi have made the Congress in Delhi consume cyanide. Not only that, these people are also saying that by supporting the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress Party has now indicated that at the national level too it is ready to be irrelevant and if its entire base goes with Arvind Kejriwal it will not worry them.
In fact, the Congress and the BJP were unable to comprehend Arvind Kejriwal’s use or experiment of politics. Because the experiment or use of politics that Arvind Kejriwal made in Delhi was not planned or intensively thought out, and neither was it haphazardly used, therefore people who see a secret or mystery in everything could not fathom Arvind Kejriwal’s step. But effects of this experiment or use of politics by Arvind Kejriwal have started becoming visible in Congress and BJP ruled States. In Maharashtra, the Government has become worried about lowering rates of electricity and Sanjay Nirupam has created an uproar in Congress politics by writing a letter on this. The Government of Haryana has reduced the electricity rates. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has promised electricity for 12 hours daily to farmers. Vasundhara Raje has decided to prune her style of living and reduce the number of vehicles in her convoy. There are other States too which will perhaps make decisions taking the people of Delhi as the pulse of the country. Therefore, Arvind Kejriwal’s win in Delhi gives many kinds of indications of the future at the national level.
But Arvind Kejriwal’s win in Delhi should be analysed a bit more. Arvind Kejriwal has given problems the form of an ideology. Whether the problem is of electricity, whether the problem is of water, in Delhi he has made it an ideology, whereas it is on the basis of ideology that steps are taken to solve problems. And the steps which are not taken on the basis of ideology, their stability does not last for many days. The question is, how should water be conserved, how should people get water, who are the people behind sale of water, where all does the money from this sale go, and should a policy be formulated in Delhi for giving free water to everyone?
Similarly, electricity and its production should be deliberated upon. Coal is getting depleted and becoming scarce, water is getting depleted and becoming scarce, electricity is not being generated in Delhi. Is it not possible that solar energy be used and every locality and every industry should have an electricity power house of its own? It is possible, but it depends on the policy. Of course, we cannot say that all these things are not in the mind of Arvind Kejriwal. But what we have seen is that problems should not be made into an ideology, rather problems should be solved on the basis of ideology or policy, only then will the poor and the deprived be able to get benefits.
The people of the country are annoyed with the colour and manner of politics. The colour and manner of politics have increased the problems of the people, this kind of politics has blocked their way. No matter what caste they are, what community or economic class they are, nobody in the country is happy, because no one can see hope for a worthwhile life, no one can see hope of development. That is why people want to break the prevalent politics. People want that good people should come into politics, people who are centred should come, people from amongst the public should come, but as often happens, Arvind Kejriwal too is not taking any precautions and is not hesitating to take along just anybody. People from the Bharatiya Janata Party, from the Congress, from the Samajwadi Party are joining his party in a rush and after joining are influencing the people that they are Arvind Kejriwal’s special people and Arvind Kejriwal has included them in Team Kejriwal.
Delhi is generally prosperous. Here even those living in slums use coolers, heaters, air conditioners, etc. But in spite of this many people in Delhi have no place to live or to eat which they can call their own. If this is the condition in Delhi, if ordinary people in Delhi are angry about their lives, then what, it should be surmised, is the situation in the rest of the country?
In all the border States of the country, Naxalism or militancy are very much on the increase. Start seeing from Kashmir and go anywhere — passing through Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala — everywhere you will see a crop of extremism and Naxalism. From the border States, Naxalism has now come to the interior States. It has come in Bihar, in Maharashtra, in Chhattisgarh, in Madhya Pradesh, in Uttar Pradesh. This Naxalism has stemmed from the anger at problems not being solved. People say that problems cannot be solved in a peaceful manner. It seems to me that Arvind Kejriwal has relevance here. If Arvind Kejriwal plays the role of a sensible person in solving problems and if he becomes a Chief Minister who is concerned 24 hours with the problems of the people, then Arvind Kejriwal will create a new hope in the country and will open a new door for dealing with problems like Naxalism.
In fact, the major issues of the country are economic, social and educational. People would want to know from Arvind Kejriwal what are his economic policies? Is he in favour of the prevailing market system or would he want to change this entire economy and start a pro-people economy in which there is something to do for every person? If Arvind Kejriwal puts forward his philosophy clearly, then in the matter of the economic system, the social system, the education system, the people of the country will see in him a new leader. And if Arvind Kejriwal, like the BJP and the Congress, also supports market based economics, then Arvind Kejriwal will himself be opening the door to failure.
Arvind Kejriwal will also have to make clear whether market-based economic policies will continue? What will happen to the farmer’s crops and to his land? Water, forests, land are being privatised, will Arvind Kejriwal stop it? Or will he support it? The rivers of the country are being sold to the foreign companies – will Arvind Kejriwal support it or oppose it? These are questions which Arvind Kejriwal will have to answer at the very earliest because the 2014 Lok Sabha elections are almost upon us. That is why unless new economic policies can be formulated and power is decentralised, till then all the steps that are taken can be counter productive, there will be a continuing danger of this.
Arvind Kejriwal has formed his team. Along with him are people like famous lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas and Shazia Ilmi. All these people are intelligent, sensible people and they have conveyed through their language that they are in favour of the people, their tilt is towards the public. Despite this, the language of one of their associates is uncivilised and abusive and is beyond decency. Arvind should keep in mind the saying that one fish can dirty the whole pond. But the biggest praise for Arvind Kejriwal should be because he has created such a batch of youth who are presenting an intellectual challenge to the youthful leaders of the Congress and the BJP. Arvind Kejriwal has influenced the minds of an entire generation of youth. They can be seen facing up to BJP and Congress youth, which includes both boys and girls, without fear everywhere. If all these enthusiastic youths, in whom the faith in change has arisen afresh, if they can be clear about their policies too, then it will be an unparalleled contribution in Indian politics by Arvind Kejriwal. It is hoped that Arvind Kejriwal must certainly be thinking about this.
There has been a difference of opinion between Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare from the beginning. Anna Hazare believed that the path of change was through the Lok Sabha, whereas Arvind’s opinion was that if we win the Delhi Assembly elections, then it will create new hope in the country. The two paths are before us again today. If one looks at the strategy behind what Anna Hazareji was saying, if instead of creating the same atmosphere for the Delhi assembly elections, Arvind Kejriwal had created it throughout the country for the Lok Sabha elections, then today throughout the country people would have been seen standing behind Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal most zealously, because Anna had understood that the anger of the people was against the system — Arvind saw one form of that anger. There is one risk in Arvind Kehriwal’s use of Delhi. If in the next three or four months Arvind Kejriwal’s use or experiment in Delhi becomes unsuccessful or gets diluted slightly, then in the entire country it will seem to the people that it is not suitable for use.
Perhaps that is why Anna Hazare wanted to fight fully the Lok Sabha elections. However, there are two such persons with Arvind Kejriwal who have the personality to keep him mentally centred. The first is Yogendra Yadav, who is basically with the poor people of India and the other is Professor Anand Kumar, who from the beginning has been a combined form of Dr. Lohia and Jai Prakash Narayan’s ideology. Professor Anand Kumar is a professor at the Jawahar Lal Nehru University, but his language style, his way of living and capacity to understand things is a big help for Arvind Kejriwal. As far as Yogendra Yadav is concerned, he has been a close associate of Kishan Patnaik and Kishan Patnaik spent his whole life worried about the poor and fought for them.
He was Dr. Lohia’s young friend, who had given birth to great debates in Parliament. I remember even today the pair of Kishan Patnaik and Om Prakash Deepak. Om Prakash Deepak was a unique personality. The way today’s times are welcoming Arvind Kejriwal, if Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare could have been associated with personalities like Kishan Patnaik and Om Prakash Deepak, then today’s fight would have become the greatest fight of all in the social context. There is still time. Whatever Arvind Kejriwal thinks about the country, he should go and tell Anna Hazare. Let him explain his strategy to Anna Hazare, because Anna Hazare believes that he will not support the party and sides, because the word ‘party’ is not there in the Constitution and Anna Hazare does not consider parties right in a true democracy. But despite this, if in this transitional phase, Arvind Kejriwal goes to Anna Hazare and gives him the full context and reference and how and which people he will want to take along with him in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and intervene in the politics of India, perhaps it can be a turning point in Indian politics.
If Arvind Kejriwal thinks that he can fight and win the Lok Sabha elections without Anna Hazare, then it seems to me that somewhere in his thinking there is an excess. Even today the Government of Delhi is being called Anna’s Government in most parts of the country. People are saying this freely, there are such examples in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, where it is being said that in Delhi Anna’s Government has been formed. There is no contribution of Anna in this. Anna’s only contribution is that Arvind Kejriwal linked his whole campaign psychologically with Anna.
This Ramlila Maidan where Anna’s fast was held, one-liners like Anna’s dream of the Jan Lokpal were reminding the people of Delhi of Anna’s movement. Today there is a big opportunity before Arvind Kejriwal to go Anna Hazare, talk to Anna Hazare and try and link him in and fulfill the hopes of the poor in the country, the faith of the poor, the dream in the eyes of the people of the country which had been which had been kindled by Anna’s movement, and prepare Anna to realise that dream. Take Anna with him. Only then is there hope for them in the elections in 2014, otherwise the 2014 elections can go in anyone’s favour.
I want to write the last lines for Arvind Kejriwal. Arvindji, Anna says that he is against communalism because communalism will break the country, but he is also against corruption in the name of secularism, because he cannot ever tolerate corruption in the name of secularism. And from here tremendous scope can be seen for Anna’s intervention and Arvind’s mind in the 2014 elections. Let us see whether the future adds a good page in the fortunes of the people of the country, writes a new text or not. I believe that the elections of 2014 will prove to be an election that will change the fortunes of the country.

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