Seeing Arvind Kejriwal’s politics and personality, one is reminded of the book ‘Narcissism: Behind the Mask’ by David Thomas. Arvind Kejriwal too has made a big, high sounding edifice of his greatness. Kejriwal has projected himself as super intelligent revolutionary, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) engineer who rejected an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) job in favour of serving society. He was actually an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. He thinks he is great and others are pygmies. When his control or restraint snaps, he starts talking in a less than ordinary ‘you-me’ manner even as he describes himself as a saint. He says that if he had to earn money, he would not have quit the income tax job.
Arvind Kejriwal wants to convince people that he came into politics after giving up a comfortable life. After seeing the party workers of the Aam Aadmi Party too one feels that instead of being political workers, they are devotees of Arvind Kejriwal. They sing songs about his greatness and do not want to see his drawbacks. But the very character of truth and reality is such that if not today, then tomorrow it comes before one. The question is whether Arvind Kejriwal’s politics is honest politics or whether it is a Narcissistic person’s hunger for power under the guise of honest politics. It is easy to understand and answer this. All that one needs to do is to see and compare how much difference there is between what Arvind Kejriwal says and does, and how much honesty and integrity there is in his politics — and his personality will become clear.
Those days the fight against corruption was very intense. An ‘andolan’, a movement was on. It was not politics. There was Anna Hazare on the stage. Baba Ram Dev and Kiran Bedi were there too. Many other stalwarts were also sitting alongside. Arvind Kejriwal was giving a speech, mike in hand. Arvind Kejriwal was telling the people that friends, just now we have, under Baba Ram Dev’s leadership, handed over proof of 370 pages to a police station. We have come after filing a report at the police station about the scam in the Commonwealth Games. There has been corruption in the Commonwealth Games, there has been fraud, there has been cheating, there has been a conspiracy, there has been forgery. All of these are criminal offenses and an FIR (First Information Report) should be filed. If an FIR is not filed within seven days, we will go to court, we will get an order against the police that an FIR should be filed. After the thunderous applause which followed had subsided, Arvind Kejriwal said, we have proof that the trolley which was purchased, is available in the market for rupees 1.5 lakhs, but rupees 2.75 was paid for it. There have been purchases by the Health Department of the Delhi Administration. They purchased ‘heart machines’. Their market price is rupees 1.5 lakhs but they have been purchased for rupees five lakhs each. A hundred such machines have been purchased. In other words, a fraud of rupees five crores has taken place. There was thunderous applause from the people along with cries of ‘shame, shame’. This program was also being telecast on various TV channels.
Symptoms of Narcissism
In 2012, came a book by psychologist David Thomas and very soon was widely discussed. The name of the book: ‘Narcissism: Behind the Mask’. Narcissism is a form of psychological frustration. Some people also believe that it is a personality disorder. Some symptoms of Narcissism have been given in this book. Without any major achievements and special or exceptional skills, a Narcissistic person feels that the whole world holds him or her to be great and special. Such people have a great hankering for power and are greatly attached to power, but they do not allow this to show. They keep such people around them who will always keep praising them and believe them to be great. Narcissistic people cannot tolerate opposition or someone talking ill of them. Those who do not think they are great, are regarded as not very good people by those with Narcissistic tendencies. A Narcissistic person is continuously engaged in an attempt to draw the attention of the whole world. Such a person always wants to remain in the news. A Narcissistic person makes use of other people and discards them after using them for some particular work. Such a person is always lost in day dreams of a highly successful future, great attraction of others towards himself or herself, power, success of his or her ideas and appreciation of his or her own intelligence. Such a person envies others and thinks that the whole world envies him or her. Such a person thinks that he or she is endowed with every possible quality and others are monumental fools. A Narcissistic person is proud and haughty in behaviour.
The people who were seeing it on TV, they must surely have been feeling revulsion towards the Congress Government and Arvind Kejriwal must have appeared to them as a warrior fighting against corruption. Arvind Kejriwal made another disclosure in his speech. He said the Prasar Bharati had given a contract to a company for rupees 246 crore and within a few hours that company sold the contract to another company for rupees 170 crore. This means that the work was only for rupees 170 crores and within a few hours a company took crores of rupees and fled to England. After this Arvind Kejriwal made a very important point. He said what I am telling you is not just ‘air’, i.e. without a solid basis. We have taken information from the Central Vigilance Commissioner’s (CVC’s) report, from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG’s) report, and from other reports and documents and sources. We are not saying this happened, the Government agencies themselves are saying it happened.
This episode dates to 14 November, 2010 and this was Arvind Kejriwal’s honest face. The face which spoke without fear against corruption.
After this, under the leadership of Anna Hazare, Kejriwal became a part of the Lokpal movement. Then he formed a political party. A public troubled by and tired of corruption, people who wanted to fight and end corruption, gave solid support to Arvind Kejriwal who kept saying that he did not come into politics because it was his wish, but because he was compelled to do so. It was from here itself that Arvind Kejriwal began changing from a warrior fighting against corruption into a crafty politician. Whenever he was interviewed on TV channels, he would say that he would not fight elections, nor occupy the chair of power. He wanted to be neither a CM nor a PM. He was there only to fight corruption in politics.
A lot of contradictions have developed between his statements before the Delhi elections and the situation today. These days Arvind Kejriwal is engaged in proving wrong whatever he himself says. The first shock was given by Arvind Kejriwal when he said he was ready to fight elections and also agreed to become the Chief Minister. People thought of him as the warrior fighting against corruption, but the moment his party was formed he had started playing the detestable game of politics. During the elections in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party was putting up election posters everywhere that if people voted for the Congress, the honour of their daughters and daughters-in-law would be looted and robbed.
Kejriwal’s second most important issue was corruption. During the election campaign he kept declaring himself honest and kept calling Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit corrupt. The moment he saw a camera he would say that Sheila Dikshit is synonymous with corruption. He had said throughout the election campaign that nobody who was corrupt would be spared, everyone would be punished. Not only would they be punished, but these people had looted public money, we will get the money back from these people, we will bring back the public’s money. After the Government was formed till today, there has been very tardy action, if at all, to punish corrupt people.
As the election came closer, he made another move to lure the people. That’s because election surveys had begun to come in. The result of every survey was that no party in Delhi will get a majority. The question then arose, who will the Aam Aadmi Party go with? People were angry with the Congress and the other alternative was the BJP. Arvind Kejriwal felt that going with either could be harmful for his party, so he resorted to a lie. He declared that the Aam Aadmi Party will not take support from any party, nor will it support any party. At the same time he also said that if his party did not get a majority, he would sit in opposition, but would not at any cost give or take support from the Congress or the BJP.
When the election results came, no party got a majority. The Aam Aadmi Party prepared a list of 18 issues and on its basis asked for support from the Congress and the BJP. The thing to understand is that even today Arvind Kejriwal without hesitation speaks the white lie that we did not seek support from any party. The question which arises is, if support was not sought, then why was that letter with the 18 issues written? Why were 18 issues separated from the party manifesto? The Congress Party decided, on the basis of these issues, to extend support from outside, even though most Congress MLA were opposed to extending support. In a sting operation, a Congress legislator even called Arvind Kejriwal a liar, a minx, and that it was like giving a blade in the hands of a monkey, etc. Even then Arvind Kejriwal accepted Congress support, because the ‘support decision’ had been made by the Vice President of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi.
Fighting corruption by joining hands with the Congress Party is like selling a comb to a bad man. Because of this ‘alliance’ Arvind Kejriwal had to compromise with corruption issues in the Commonwealth Games. That Kejriwal waho was talking before the elections about sending Sheila Dikshit and Rajkumar Chauhan, once a Minister in Sheila Dikshit’s Government, to jail now says that there is no proof against Sheila Dikshit. It is Kejriwal himself who can tell that the statement given in 2010 and the 370 page proof was false or whether what he is speaking today is a white lie.
Arvind Kejriwal is engaged in proving himself to be the most honest person. He created an attractive halo around himself and it is his heartfelt desire that the people of the country and the media should view him with that halo around him. If any person or journalist raises any question on this, then Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party immediately dub them as agents of the BJP and the Congress. This is meant to say that in the entire country, Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party alone are the fountain heads, like Gangotri, the source of the holy Ganga, from which flow truth, simplicity and integrity. Other than them, the rest of the people in the world are thieves, unscrupulous, corrupt and agents. But immediately after the elections, the reality of Arvind Kejriwal showed up. The edifice of lies and greed was exposed.
Before the elections, Arvind Kejriwal used to say I have come into politics to serve the people. If I had to earn money, why would I have quit my income tax job. He said that no leader from the Aam Aadmi Party would take a Government bungalow or vehicles. Those elected from the Aam Aadmi Party would continue to stay in their old homes. Lured by talk like this, people gave them their votes. The people of Delhi felt that these people are different from others, but when the Government was formed, the reality emerged. Arvind Kejriwal, through officials, zeroed in on a large bungalow in Delhi. Actually, the Central Government had at first refused to allot a bungalow, but who knows what happened in two days, and the same Congress led Government allotted him an elegant, sprawling bungalow on Bhagwan Das Road bungalow. There were ten rooms, there was a big lawn. The bungalow was truly elegant. Of course, there is nothing wrong if the Chief Minister gets such a bungalow. If a Chief Minister does not get such a bungalow, who will live in these bungalows?
The problem is that by describing himself as somebody who sacrifices comforts etc and yet doing so, as in the case initially of the bungalow, he has achieved a big feat of converting ideal politics into a gimmick, a low kind of dramatic, farcical politics, somewhat like a nautanki. This is the reason that when the media got news of the bungalow, there was both ridicule and criticism. Leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party who had been boasting of idealism were shamed. But there were also some who were not shamed. They kept speaking lies. Kumar Vishwas even said that there were five rooms in the bungalow, of which Kejriwal will stay in two rooms and the remaining three rooms will be used as an office for public service. Kejriwal too at first gave a statement that he had seen the bungalow and there was no harm in taking it. First of all, idealism went for a toss and then Kejriwal became a victim of the criticism of the party’s own workers. In the social media, people began to leave the party.
When Arvind Kejriwal came to understand that the bungalow was harming the party, because of it people were leaving the party, then he came under pressure and changed the decision. It was also observed during this period that Aam Aadmi Party Ministers had availed themselves of Government cars – Innovas which cost rupees 16 lakh each. They even got VIP number plates for them. When asked about it by the media, an Aam Aadmi Party Minister said ‘Yes, we will take Government cars, we will take them with full confidence, because we are not stealing anything’. There is no harm in taking a Government bungalow or cars, but appealing to the public through hypocrisy and treachery is certainly condemnable.
Arvind Kejriwal kept saying till before the elections that he believed in politics that would bring about a change in the system. He wants to convert India into a direct democracy i.e. participatory democracy. In this system, public opinion is important and essential for every decision of the Government. So Arvind Kejriwal talks of taking the Government directly among the people, Government policies should be made by the people, etc. To prove this Arvind Kejriwal called a Janta Darbar (people’s meeting in open court) on the roadside. But when people came, not only was the Janta Darbar exposed, but questions were raised on Arvind Kejriwal’s concept and view of a change in the system. Because of the fear of a stampede, the first to run away from the Darbar was Arvind Kejriwal himself.
This was Kejriwa’s first programme after becoming the Chief Minister. He called the Janta Durbar because he wanted to prove that he could run the Government even from the roadside. Arvind Kejriwal must understand that those who framed our Constitution were visionaries and stalwarts like Nehru, Ambedkar, Maulana Azad, Patel and Rajendra Prasad. Given the vastness of India, they had rejected direct or participatory democracy. Perhaps Kejriwal feels that he has more political and social understanding and knowledge than those stalwarts. But when he was faced with reality, Arvind Kejriwal put an end to the Janta Darbar itself. Arvind Kejriwal has given the blueprint for change in his book ‘Swaraj’. The sad thing is that the book too has got caught in a controversy over plagiarism.
The issues that were given prominence and priority by Arvind Kejriwal before the elections – he has failed to tackle them. An important issue was of people who were working on contract basis. This means that in Delhi generally, instead of giving permanent jobs, they are given on contract to people. Included in them are teachers, peons, sweepers and sanitation employees, drivers, labourers and people who work in offices whose job is not permanent. Kejriwal had promised that he would end the contract system the moment his Government was formed in Delhi. After the formation of the Government, he has not made such jobs permanent. To sidetrack the matter, he formed a committee and threatened to end the employment of those who persisted in sitting on a dharna-demonstration (sit in to protest). Such people are feeling themselves cheated today.
The fact is, Arvind Kejriwal cannot tolerate any opposition. He thinks that what he does is correct, and everybody else is wrong. But there is one issue on which the Aam Aadmi Party is running helter skelter – and that is the issue of Arvind Kejriwal’s security. Of course, with the Chief Minister there must be security men, but Arvind Kejriwal, to remain prominent in the media, made this an issue. He said before the Government was formed that he will not take security, he does not fear anything. But the reality is that security personnel are always walking with him, in civil dress or sometimes otherwise.
Now let us understand how Kejriwal lured the people in the matter of electricity and water. On the exemption from water bill payments, what was promised before the elections has not been implemented. Arvind Kejriwal has put a condition on giving free water. Only those houses are getting free water where a meter is installed. People who do not have water meters in their houses will not benefit. But in his strategy to stay dominant on TV, Arvind Kejriwal has forgotten those people who do not even have a pipeline in their area. It is the same with electricity bills. Delhiites have started getting their bills in the tenure of Kejriwal’s Government, and the 50 per cent exemption or subsidy that was announced is not there in the bills.
The people of the country got evidence of the difference between what Arvind Kejriwal says and does when he was on dharna till two days before Republic Day and was calling the Republic Day Parade just a ‘show’. He had said that he would sit among the common people and watch the Parade, but when he was seen on TV sitting with UPA Ministers in the VVIP section, his real face was seen. He says something else and does something else.
In the name of the Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal is deceiving the aam aadmi – the common people. He is using them in exactly the same fashion that he used Anna Hazare. His politics is the politics of instigating people who are angry or upset with the present system. Arvind Kejriwal’s politics is the politics of sentiments, the politics of making democratic institutions unreliable, the politics of weakening democracy, the politics of spreading anarchy. The politics of the Aam Aadmi party is individualistic. It is the politics of only cheering Arvind Kejriwal. It is thoughtless politics. The thing to understand is that, yes, in our country there are many shortcomings in our system which need to be corrected, but there should be a road map for it. We should bring about this change while keeping democracy alive. People will have to struggle and strive for this. This task is beyond a narcissistic person who tells white lies and makes baseless allegations a medium for politics and thinks that cheating the people and getting votes is politics. The politics of the Aam Aadmi Party is the politics of telling lies by day and by night and of making their faces shine on TV. If this is the new definition of politics, then such politics should expeditiously be made history.