In Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party Government had come with a hope. Anna Hazare did not want to fight the assembly elections — his opinion was that if an election has to be fought, then the Lok Sabha elections should be contested, so that the right beginning can be made to changing the system. He believes even today that the Lok Sabha makes policies, therefore, it is the Lok Sabha elections which should be contested. But Arvind Kejriwal had his differences with this and with his colleagues he decided that they would contest the Delhi assembly elections first. Their thinking was that if they won in the Delhi assembly elections, it will be easier for them to win the country. Anna Hazare’s only say on this was that if a mistake is made in the assembly elections, such people are selected who do not understand the ideology or there is any contradiction in one’s own decisions, then it will raise a question mark on the andolan or movement all over the country, and it will be perceived that these people are unfit to bring about a system change in the country.
It will be too early or too hasty to say that Anna Hazare’s fear is proving correct, but the way MLA Vinod Kumar Binny levelled allegations against leaders of his party, a risk has cropped up that those allegations do not become the allegations made by many other people as well. Perhaps Arvind Kejriwal Kejriwal declared a time table without any thought. This ‘work’ in so many days, this ‘work’ in so many days. He made promises like calling a special session of the assembly at the Ram Lila Maidan within 15 days to pass the Jan Lokpal, which the assembly just cannot do. Now the Aam Aadmi Party has got tangled in the maze of these questions and issues.
Vinod Kumar Binny has made allegations against Arvind Kejriwal of being a dictator and telling lies. Whether there is substance in the allegation of being a dictator, can only be answered by the workers of the Aam Aadmi Party or the Aam Aadmi Party legislators. There is a section which says that Arvind Kejriwal is a dictator, is short tempered, and gets things done his way, but his close associates say that the charge is devoid of any merit. So this has to be decided by the Aam Aadmi Party itself and it may be that excess of work, the tension of work has made Arvind Kejriwal peevish and irritable. And people often assume that peevishness and irritability means being crusty and a dictator.
It is essential that Arvind Kejriwal should handle carefully his promises and his memory and should give more opportunities to his associates to meet him and talk to him. This is necessary, otherwise if the hearts of the people of Delhi are broken, it will be so dangerous that for the next few years people will not dare raise again their voice for change.
That Arvind Kejriwal is a liar or is telling lies, I do not agree with that either. I believe that he forgets, his memory is weak and because of this people take it that he is a liar. If an example of this has to be given, I would like to give my own example. Three or four days before the voting for the Delhi assembly too place, Anna Hazare wrote a letter to Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal highlighted this letter in a press conference and without answering the questions raised it in, said that this letter has been got written from Anna and to get it written, the Congress and the BJP spent nearly one hundred crore rupees. Arvind Kejriwal himself said on television that Anna Hazare had been misled and made to write this letter by one person. When journalists asked him the name of that person, Arvind Kejriwal said that it was a man who had got it written. Journalists said again tell us the name. Then Arvind Kejriwal’s verbatim reply was that ‘Ji, some man by the name of Santosh Bhartiya, who calls himself a journalist and I do not know him’.
It is from this that it seemed to me that Arvind Kejriwal’s memory is weak, because in the office of journalist Apoorva Joshi Arvind Kejriwal wanted to meet some journalists. Apoorva Joshi invited journalists to his office and it was there that I and my colleague Dr. Manish were introduced to Arvind Kejriwal. I cannot remember any other direct contact before this with Arvind Kejriwal. This incident dates to approximately a year after Anna’s fast at the Ram Lila Maidan in Delhi. We talked on various subjects with Arvind Kejriwal for one to one-and-a-half hours in the office of Apoorva Joshi. Arvind Kejriwal said, Santoshji, I would like to sit separately with you. After this I met Arvind Kejriwal at the Chauthi Duniya office located in south Delhi, where Kejriwal had come along with Prashant Bhushan to meet General V.K. Singh. There too Arvind Kejriwal stayed for about one and a half to two hours. During this discussion, Prashant Bhushan was there, General V.K. Singh was there, Arvind Kejriwal was there and I was there.
Another meeting took place with Arvind Kejriwal in Chauthi Duniya’s office at Noida, where he came twice and both times he sat in the Chauthi Duniya’s Internet TV studio and interacted live with his fans all over the world and answered their questions. A meeting with Arvind Kejriwal took place at Prashant Bhushan’s house, at which General Singh, Arvind Kejriwal, I and Prashant Bhushan were present. Even after so many meetings Arvindji forgot them and his last statement was that I do not know this person whose name is Santosh Bhartiya and who calls himself a journalist. Many phone calls came to from Arvind Kejriwal and I made many phone calls to him from time to time. Arvind Kejriwal has forgotten this too. I am not as brave as Arvind Kejriwal that I can say even after so many meetings that there is a person who has taken 100 crore rupees and his name is Santosh Bhartiya, but I do not know him.
I have written about this incident, so that I can correct Binny that Arvind Kejriwal does not tell lies but it his memory which is weak. He will have forgotten that Binny had said something to him or what he had said to Binny. I am saying this because any party leader takes his party on the right path, does not allow discontent or unrest to develop in the party. Arvind Kejriwal is in a way promoting unrest in his party. There is also an allegation against Arvind Kejriwal that he has left unbridled the language used by some leaders of his own party. There is courtesy in language, there is a throbbing, but there is a language of politics in which even if you talk of an opposing politician, you do not insult. But such insulting language or sharpness or arrogance of language is quite damaging in politics. Many leaders in Arvind Kejriwal’s party are victims of this arrogance.
In Arvind Kejriwal’s party there is no unity over policies. What are their economic policies, nobody knows. Certainly Arvind Kejriwal must know, but what his economic policies are cannot be gleaned after reading his book ‘Swaraj’. Economic policies are important because whoever wants to be in a party can decide that if we agree with these policies we will be able to continue in the party, otherwise we should not join the party. Captain Gopinath is a big name. He becomes part of the party, but opposes Arvind Kejriwal’s FDI policy. People associated with the corporate sector are rapidly joining Kejriwal’s party, but I got to see the tweet of his new associate journalist Ashutosh, in which he said if we are opposing foreign investment, we have also have to stop Tata from going abroad. I think this is an absurd argument. That is why economic policies are needed, that what sort and amount of capital would be welcome how and where and where we should reject what capital. When policies are discussed on television, an Aam Aadmi Party leader who would have been a Minister had she won, says on behalf of the party that policy questions are vote bank questions. In her view matters like the Ranganath Mishra Commission should not be debated. Other leaders also say the same thing.
But it is a matter of chance that there are in this party people like Yogendra Yadav and Professor Anand Kumar, whose whole life has passed revolving around policies. But now it has begun to seem that even Professor Anand Kumar and Shri Yogendra Yadav are speaking like common politicians or are speaking or being compelled to speak in that manner.
I believe that the people of Delhi voted for the Aam Aadmi Party with great hope, because they had become disillusioned with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. The need is that the Aam Aadmi Party should not consider the dissatisfaction and unrest stirring within it to be sponsored by the BJP or the Congress. If it does so, in the eyes of the people the party will become just like the parties against which it won. It is not easy to reach twenty eight from zero. If the Aam Aadmi Party party believes that it has performed a miracle, then I will develop doubts about their understanding. I believe that from the anger, anguish and hope generated from the Anna Hazare movement, the people got, in the form of the Aam Aadmi Party, such a weapon which they used for defeating the Congress and the BJP. Therefore, the Aam Aadmi Party party and especially Arvind Kejriwal, keeping in mind the sentiments of the people, should devise ways to interact more meaningfully with its legislators and workers, so that if there is any unrest, it can be attended to right there, and the promises made by Arvind Kejriwal to the people of Delhi can be seen being fulfilled.
Without worrying about opposition from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Arvind Kejriwal should declare a new time table. Without any thought he gave a road map to the people of Delhi. I believe that he should now make a roadmap after considerable thought, and taking one or two months time, should promise again to fulfill the major demands of the people of Delhi. It seems to me that the people of Delhi will not lose hopes so easily, but it is essential that Arvind Kejriwal should handle carefully his promises and his memory and should give more opportunities to his associates to meet him and talk to him. This is necessary, otherwise if the hearts of the people of Delhi are broken, it will be so dangerous that for the next few years people will not dare raise again their voice for change.