Up till the last two years the people who participated in the Jayaprakash Andolan and V. P. Singh’s fight against corruption used to say that times have changed, nothing can be done in the country now. The youth of today cannot carry out agitations. No agitation is possible in the country anymore. The big political parties of the country felt that the people of the country have drunk opium and slept and there is no one to raise a voice on their waywardness. This belief was proved wrong. The political parties forgot that there is a limit to the tolerance of the public as well. In times of emergency only do the seeds of changes sprout. A storm of changes prevails, only then agitations take place and leaders are born.
A thin person wearing the normal attire of a common man, who might not even be noticed if he passes by, has emerged as a hope in the eyes of crores of people in the country today. The person _ Arvind Kejriwal _ has become a point of discussion of each and every household in the country. He speaks sharply, gives sharp arguments and is giving the impression of being stubborn. However, if there are a number of good things in Arvind Kejriwal then there are a few bad things as well. An analysis of Arvind Kejriwal’s good and bad things can be done, but there are no two opinions on this : that in the situation which is prevailing in the country against corruption, there is a major contribution from Arvind Kejriwal.
The Anna Hazare-Arvind Kejriwal separation does not mean that they have become enemies. The mission of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal is the same, their aim is the same, only their path is different. Anna Hazare is of the opinion that with the help of agitations, a lot of pressure can be put on the Government, whereas Kejriwal feels that begging won’t solve the problem or achieve the purpose and only after dethroning the present political parties from power can the system be changed. Actually, both these ways are correct.
From the time that Arvind Kejriwal decided to make ‘India Against Corruption’ a political party, many questions have come up. Some questions are being raised by his friends, some questions are being raised by his opponents and some questions are being raised by the people of the country, and getting the answers to these questions are very important.
It is strange that whenever the question is raised whether Priyanka Vadra is going to come into politics, or whether Rahul Gandhi is going to come into active politics, then the media discusses these topics for hours, but no discussion is ever done, no questions ever raised on what is the capability of Rahul Gandhi, what is his thinking, what is his opinion on the different issues in the country or does he even have any opinion? But when a person who has thinking power, who has foresight and is honest, enters politics it creates a lot of problem for the political pundits of the TV channels. When Arvind Kejriwal makes allegations against those who are corrupt or talks about changes then the media tries to put Arvind Kejriwal in the stockade. The truth is that Arvind Kejriwal has registered his name in the first list of future leaders through the way of politics and leadership that he has demonstrated over the last few months and the manner in which the youths came to the streets in his support.
Do we have such leaders for whom their supporters are so ready to take up cudgels? Which party do we have where the workers of the party work without taking money? Which party do we have who gathers crowds without paying money during their rallies? Which leader do we have for whom the public gathers so readily to hear his words? Insects have started eating up the party system of the country in much the same way that weevil pests eat up wheat. Crowds on rent, rented processions, rallies on rent and rented workers, this is the reality of the political parties today. Without taking money, even the officers of the party organisation do not make a move. The political parties have put away all their responsibilities on the shelf. They only run the organisation to fight the elections, make Governments and earn a lot of money. The type of seeds which the political parties have sown, they are reaping the same type of harvest. Without giving money they cannot collect people for their election promotions and cannot even make an agent stand in the polling booth.
In such circumstances when Arvind Kejriwal is seen on television reconnecting the electricity wire in the house of a poor person, then it gives an unmistakable feeling that the mood and nature of politics is changing. When young boys and girls are seen bring beaten up by the police in different cities for making demonstrations against corrupt leaders, then faith awakens that there are still people alive today who are ready to fight for principles. When a senior leader of the country loses his senses and starts giving threats of killing then it can be said that the political parties have started to fear Arvind Kejriwal. When Arvind Kejriwal shows courage by making allegations against Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, then the hopes of the people that the country can change are strengthened. The people are waiting keeping their eyes raised because the country and democracy of the country are in trouble.
In the last eight years the country has only taken a backwards step in all the areas. Both corruption and inflation reached a peak during this period. May it be the Central Government or the Governments of the States, none of them did anything to try to take steps to stop corruption nor did anybody try to stop the increasing cost of living. Projects kept on failing and the public kept on getting affected and suffering. During this period such an atmosphere prevailed which gave a feeling that there is no Government in the country at all. If there is Government then it has only been made to provide benefits to the private companies. The private companies, leaders and officials have crossed all limits of scandalous corruption. The political parties sitting on the seats of the Opposition kept their mouths shut and waited for their turns. This was the reason that Governments in the states did change but the process of governance did not change. The scholar of economics, the Prime Minister, kept on giving assurances that inflation will reduce now, or will reduce at some point. The Finance Minister continuously kept making fake promises and became the President, but the people of the country could not get rid of high prices. Not only the poor, the rich also faced trouble this time around due to the increasing cost of living.
During this period, one after the other, bigger and bigger scandals kept getting exposed. The public began to believe that the result of the strategies of economic reforms of Manmohan Singh is that the hands of a number of groups of ministers, leaders, officials and industrialists who are engaged in robbing the country all the time have been strengthened. Fertile lands began to be snatched in the name of development, the Adivasis started becoming homeless, the situation of ordinary workers started to deteriorate, farmers started committing suicides and the effect of the Naxals kept on increasing. The situation is such that apart from the people who are robbing the country, each and every individual is in trouble.
It is the good luck of the country that during this period of crisis, new people with new energy, new thinking and new working methodology are coming to the fore front. They should not be condemned, they should be welcomed. As a result of one Arvind Kejriwal, the peace of the political parties has gone for a toss. Corrupt officials now fear to take bribes. Ministers and officials have become wary. Awareness related to corruption has increased in the country.
This is the reason why, when the agitation for the Jan Lokpal started, lakhs of people from across the country came out on the streets. This was a historic agitation, but the Government did not understand its importance. The Maharajas of democracy sitting in Parliament termed it “Drama”. Some great leaders even said that the laws of the country are not made sitting on the streets. Anna Hazare was no doubt the leader of
the Jan Lokpal agitation, but the architect of this agitation was Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal played a vital role in preparing the form, organisation, strengths and the control systems of the agitation. The scholarly advocacy of Prashant Bhushan gave solidity to the legal side of this agitation. The work of uniting the people and organising India Against Corruption (IAC) was also done by Arvind Kejriwal. May it be by giving a debate on television channels, or a speech during rallies, or may it be his address to the country during the agitation and by destroying the arguments of the Government by his own arguments, Arvind Kejriwal has made a place for himself in the hearts of the people of the country. Apart from the members of Team Anna, Arvind Kejriwal has proved his organisational ability by forging a complete force for India Against Corruption from across the country and by speaking to them on a continual basis.
The speeches of Arvind Kejriwal give evidence of a person who has good foresight and who can draw a fine line for politics in the future. When the question arises how the members of his party would be selected and the reply comes that the people of the country would do the selection, then any political pundit would find this answer to be strange. It might be possible that this selection would be difficult, might not be possible, but the candidate will be a people’s choice, this thought in itself is very convincing. The important thing that needs to be understood is that at least somebody who is corrupt, a convict, a thief, a dacoit, a rapist or a fool would not be a candidate. This is change, because the political parties which are on the scene now give tickets after taking the religion, finances, muscle power and the family of the candidates into consideration.
Arvind Kejriwal is from Haryana. His did his Mechanical Engineering studies from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. Before becoming a political and social worker, he was employed in the Indian Revenue Service. After leaving his job he formed a non-governmental organisation (NGO) named Parivartan, whose aim was to bring law, accountability and transparency to the works of the Government. Arvind Kejriwal exposed corruption in many Departments of the Government with the medium of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. To take the agitation of the RTI to the ground level, Arvind Kejriwal was also honoured with the Magsaysay Award in 2006. After this he joined hands with Anna Hazare and started the fight for the Jan Lokpal. Agitations demanding Jan Lokpal continued for two years. Some compromises were made with the Government, many meetings were held between Anna Hazare and the Ministers of the Government, so that a strong Lokpal could be framed. But the Government put the suggestions of Anna Hazare in cold storage.
Team Anna held talks with almost all the parties, but none of the parties gave straight forward support to the Jan Lokpal. The reason is also clear : how can the people who are nurturing and getting benefits from the corrupt system want to root out corruption ? After this, Arvind Kejriwal felt that if the Jan Lokpal has to become a reality then they would need a majority in Parliament and till the time the present political parties stay in majority in Parliament, a strong law cannot be made against corruption. So he took the decision of making a political party. Anna Hazare is not in support of making a political party. So both of Anna and Arvind Kejriwal separated.
This separation does not mean that they have become enemies. The mission of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal is the same, their aim is the same, only their path is different. Anna Hazare is of the opinion that with the help of agitations, a lot of pressure can be put on the Government, whereas Kejriwal feels that begging won’t solve the problem or achieve purpose and only after dethroning these political parties from power can the system be changed. Actually, both these ways are correct.
A political leader needs to possess certain attributes, among which popularity, authenticity, farsightedness, self confidence, helping nature, honesty, sensitivity towards the problems of the people and resourceful to eradicate these problems etc., are the major ones. However, if we start to look for these attributes among the current political leaders then we might be lucky to find one or two leaders from the ruling parties and the Opposition parties who possess them. A number of dishonest people will be found in all the political parties, but honest people will be rare to find. Popular leaders will also be found, but farsightedness won’t be found in them. Such leaders will also be found, who have a lot of self confidence, but they will not be sensitive towards the people of the country. The reason for making all these listings is to show that a perfect leader can be found in museums only. Arvind Kejriwal is honest, he is educated, he has the farsightedness, and he is popular as well. After parting ways with Anna Hazare, the way that he has been struggling for the poor and the workers indicates that he is sensitive towards the problems of the people of the country. Moreover, it can be understood from his book ‘Swaraj’, that he is a leader who believes in democratic values and wants responsibility and transparency in the working methodology of the Government. Many people are of the opinion that Arvind Kejriwal would not be successful in getting many seats, because to win an election a lot of manipulations needs to be done. It is not a question of winning or losing the election. It might also be known to Arvind Kejriwal that he might not get 272 seats in the coming elections. It is an issue of political purpose in democracy. Will there be no pro-people politics in the country, will there be no politics for the poor and the deprived? The way that the Dalits, Adivasis, backward classes, Muslims, farmers and labourers have been deceived, will there be no politics for their rights? The parties who are vested with the command of the central and the state Government at present, they have stopped paying attention to these questions. They have taken governance for granted and are helpful only to the corporates and the industrialists.
Obviously, there is a scarcity of leaders in the political parties who are sensitive towards these problems. To do politics for the poor and the deprived they should be grass root leaders, which is not the case with these political parties. The political parties have stopped making good leaders. To even hope of having such leaders in the current regime of political parties who are inclined towards ‘dynastyism’ and nepotism is also a sort of dishonesty. If the political parties stray from the correct path then should the people of country wait for these parties to come back to the right path or should new leaders be given the opportunity to come in the forefront? The insensitivity and corruption of political parties has taken the country to its current critical position. Whenever a crisis befalls a country and society, a leader is born _ this is the rule. So agitations against corruption giving birth to new leaders is a surety. Arvind Kejriwal is a ‘yield’ of this crisis period. It might be possible that many people might not agree with Arvind Kejriwal in totality, but it is not a necessity to agree on each and every point. Lal Krishna Advani, Sonia Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, etc., are big leaders. We do not agree with many of their statements, but still they are leaders. It is the good luck of the country that during this period of crisis, outside the traditional political domain, new people with new energy, new thinking and new working methodology are coming to the fore front. They should not be condemned, they should be welcomed. As a result of one Arvind Kejriwal, the peace of the political parties has gone for a toss. Corrupt officials now fear to take bribes. Ministers and officials who used to give their signatures on Government orders by taking money from industrialists as a matter of habit have become wary. Awareness related to corruption has increased in the country. Agitations are being carried out in different places for the demands of the people. In Delhi, Sheila Dixit has even given a defamation notice, but due to Arvind Kejriwal’s agitation, the Government had to bow down, the increased cost on electricity had to be minimised. The day when leaders like Arvind Kejriwal will be born in all the States of the country, that day would mark the end of those people who run the Government as per their will. This country is in need of many Arvind Kejriwals.