Mad Sultan of Delhi?
Riding on the crest of anti-corruption wave, Arvind Kejriwal, became an icon for the youth–thousands volunteered for his corruption-free movement. But this peak of popularity turned out to be ephemeral once he compromised all his principles to become chief minister. Confusion in his mind or complexity of the high office made him quit. But he worked his way back to be chief minister on his own strength. His ambitions soared, the media convinced him that he could take on Narendra Modi, and since then his mission ‘destroy Modi’ seems to have destroyed the Kejriwal, who had set out to clean the government.
Once a unique phenomenon, now he lives and operates from his own ethereal world, for him austerity is Rs 16,000 a plate dinner and power, according to Shunglu Committee Report, is licence for nepotism and being a chief minister gives him the authority not to conform to rules and regulations.
Indictments fail to shame him, no setbacks stop him, the Aam Aadmi’s poster boy Arvind Kejriwal has no parallel–he is unique, in a class of his own, if ever an inventory is made of leaders whose promises and actions have no connect, his name will be among the top. It is also impossible to understand his thought process but he is a wizard when it comes to covering a downright wrong action by claiming martyrdom. Its an art and he is the best to portray himself as an aam aadmi, who is targeted by both the BJP and the Congress. This is the key to his success, he arouses sympathy for himself, harassed and hounded ,because he tries to help the aam admi.
The aam admi, moved emotionally, becomes vulnerable and ignores his Rs 16,000 a plate dinner, his charter flights and the alleged misuse of money. Kejriwal, one is sure, lost no sleep, over the adverse report of the Shunglu Committee after inspecting 400 files of the AAP government, which ripped open the tight lid under which Kejriwal kept his real character hidden. After the report, he virtually stands denuded. Congress’s Ajay Maken echoed what the critics chorused that Shunglu report proved that Kejriwal was full of guile and cunning that has helped him con hundreds of thousands. But there is the old saying one can fool some people for some time but one can’t fool all the people all the time. But Kejriwal has that elusive talent, and he seems to have that in plenty, of getting away with his misdemeanours without alienating his supporters. This is why possibly Kejriwal without any fear dared violate rules and statutes and gave plush posts to his kith and kin, or to the relatives of his ministers. The Shunglu report has listed umpteen cases of nepotism and misuse of power by Kejriwal.
Some will say he has the Teflon Touch while his detractors, and their number is rising rapidly, will scornfully say, Kejriwal is like a ‘chikna ghada’, nothing sticks to it. Likewise, so far, nothing has stuck on Kejriwal. True, he got away unscathed from a rather damaging report of a Nawabi-style celebratory dinner to his party seniors, which was so extravagant that Kejriwal never mentioned it even for defending an event which India’s President or Prime Minister would never host.
The repeated assertion by Kejriwal that he and his ministers would live an austere life and live like aam aadmi, one realised rather early, was just a con trick. The AAP leaders have seldom practiced the austerity they so loudly preached. In fac, the AAP government, notwithstanding its brute majority, is akin to the theatre of the absurd with its ministers and legislators acting without any logic, caring only about their self-interest, not about the country.
Kejriwal does not miss any opportunity to upbraid Modi in foul language and insinuate most absurd wrong-doings. The media has encouraged him in Modi-baiting. So much so, he over-estimated his reach. In recent assembly elections, out of his 40 candidates in Goa, 39 lost their security deposits. In Punjab, where Kejriwal was so sure of forming the government there that celebrations had started in the morning of March 11, the day of the counting, his party managed to win only 19 seats, just two seats more than the ‘hated’ SAD-BJP alliance.
No CM ever achieved what Kejriwal could
Sets record of six libel cases filed against him
Arvind Kejriwal has a habit of rushing to the media the moment he learns something against any political person or big industrialist. Normally, once documents purporting to give information of wrong-doing is received even by say Income-Tax department or CBI, full inquiry is made to verify if there is any substance in the charges made in the document before moving against the person indicted. Kejriwal is either very naïve or so vengeful that he does not care what happens, he must defame the person indicted in the document sent to him. The result is six defamation cases against him. He was recently summoned as an accused in a criminal defamation complaint filed by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, in which he was granted bail by court. But this is not the first defamation case filed against him, the number has already reached six cases. Here is the list of all:
Case 1: Summoned by ex-political secretary Pawan Khera
Pawan Khera filed a case against Kejriwal for his alleged “derogatory remarks” against power tariff hike during protests in October 2012.
Case 2: Lawyer Amit Sibal
Kapil Sibal’s son Amit Sibal filed a case after Kejriwal alleged conflict of interest over Amit Sibal appearing in the Supreme Court for telecom major Vodafone, while his father was the union communications minister.
Case 3: By Nitin Gadkari
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari filed a case against Kejriwal after he defined Gadkari as “India’s most corrupt” during a press conference in January 2014.
Case 4: Surender Kumar Sharma
Sharma accused the two AAP leaders of approving his name as party candidate and later defaming him and also denying him the ticket.
Case 5: Ramesh Bidhuri
BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri alleged that Kejriwal had made baseless allegations against him.
Case 6: By Arun Jaitley
A Patiala House court issued summons against Kejriwal on 9 March for allegedly uttering defamatory statements against Jaitley in relation with a controversy surrounding the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
The media had conjured up the political scenario of AAP winning both states, Punjab and Goa and then challenging from position of strength, BJP in its Gujarat citadel. It was almost sure that in alliance with Hardik Patel, Congress and Udhav Thackrey, AAP will uproot BJP. And once the root was shaken, Modi will not last beyond 2019.
Alleging that the BJP wanted to ‘finish’ his party, which fought for the common man, Kejriwal said, “Since we announced that we will waive house tax and put an end to the corrupt practices of the BJP’s and the Congress’ councillors and politicians in MCDs, the BJP is completely rattled. That is why, every day, it lies and makes baseless allegations against us. Now they have even snatched our office.”
This is his usual ploy to cover his own mistakes–become a martyr and hope Delhi’ites will avenge the BJP and the Congress for tormenting their chief minister. Their chief minister has done things no other chief minister ever dared to do. For starters, he abused so many that he faces six libel cases (see box) but he has been very fair and shared with his colleagues distribution of lucrative jobs to kith and kin.
With so much going against Kejriwal, the Shunglu Committee report being so devastating that in any country in the west, the head would have had to resign. But he has not lost his rhetorical vigour nor the intensity of his delusions about his political prowess.
He knows even if accused of the worst mistakes, Delhi-wallahs, who apparently for reasons unknown, adore and adulate him and refuse to say, hear or see anything wrong, would never abandon him. Its India’s good fortune that the adulation and fascination of Delhi-wallahs for Kejriwal has not infected any other parts of the country, not even neighbouring Punjab. The upcoming Delhi Municipal Corporations elections might finally decide what future holds for Kejriwal. He is, however, ready with his customary ploy to shift the blame for an adverse outcome from himself to EVMs.Most feel his vicious attacks on Modi, who has almost reached the peak of popularity, reduce Kejriwal to be like the trumpeter in the Tammany Hall. No one will bother about his rantings. A rather tragic ending of the Sultan of Delhi.
By Vijay Dutt