Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi durbar: debacle or dossier for future lessons?

Three weeks into power, the Aam Aadmi Party is riding as many storms as the sting operations it did before deciding to take the plunge in Delhi’s assembly elections.

Actually, make that Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP. (We will come to this later)

During the stormy ride so far, even AAP supporters know hand to heart that there have been areas of grey where flip-flops, pointed out by the opposition who have never left any chance to do so, have caused doubts.

To his credit, Mr Doubtfire Kejriwal has stood by teammates, even if it has to quickly deflect criticism on Somnath Bharti’s alleged high-handedness in a midnight raid to the issue of Delhi Police’s inefficient ways.

AAP dharna in Delhi. Courtesy PTI

Hours back of writing this, the dharna against Delhi Police ended in a bit of moral victory for Kejriwal. Of course, Kiran Bedi and many will see it as a u-turn from AAP demanding suspension of four officials to settling down for one. Kejriwal never said he insisted on all four. See his interview to NDTV before he, the Chief Minister of Delhi, went to protest on the streets.

Statehood for Delhi was not on the agenda for Kejriwal, and given the surreal rawness to the way of functioning so far, it has only added more to the chaos.

If you shut out the din in the social media that is amplifying that chaos, the irony of all that is, well, reflective of the perils of democracy.

The reason for the AAP’s rise was the epidemic state of growing restlessness about a corrupt government that has slacked in the absence of quality opposition. BJP-supporters can say what they like, but they got the answer when the party with a Hindu ideology in a diverse nation never went beyond one term despite their India Shining propaganda. Quite obviously, they will need to re-invent. The process would have been faster, had they not insisted on Narendra Modi as their face.

For now, AAP has sneaked in, trying to open a door, one too many. Ask Somnath Bharti.

The public were tired of the inaction. Now many are saying AAP is trying to bite more than it can chew.

The public wanted electricity and power. When AAP managed it a nominal 200 crore subsidy as compared to crores of scams and wasteful subsidies earlier, it was still projected as a crime.

The public never bothered about Republic Day. In the less than 48 hours of the occasion that got tagged as the #AAPDrama trend, every one was concerned of the token spectacle more than correcting the broken fibre of the nation. Is Delhi Police’s high-handedness only a rare exception to the law and order enforcement agencies around the country?

It is not that AAP is or will be perfect in all actions. But will our reactions be proportionately justified. We allowed Congress to get away with bigger crimes for no less than 65 plus years but a five-bedroom office-cum-residence for a CM is troubling, no?

It is important to keep that weighing scale handy and measure each transgression of AAP with the precedents.

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 11.42.21 PM(A sample of a sensible voice among the din on Twitterati)

But there is also a fine line between arrogance and supreme confidence. Unless you don’t have the latter, you cannot achieve as much and in as little time as AAP want to in their pursuit for pan-India presence. The brashness outside Rail Bhavan only served to that purpose. Dismissing every criticism with a smile on TV interviews or countering with the passion of a woman in a streetfight will not take Kejriwal far.

Problem in that, too, is that there is only one Kejriwal (hence the reference above). In all the controversies, deserving or not, that got raked by his team members, once Kejriwal started firefighting they slipped out of the headlines as if nothing happened. Be it Kumar Vishwas, Rakhi Birla or now Somnath Bharti, none of them have the ability to hold a stage together, the reticent Manish Sisodia included.

Any time now, either Kejriwal will have to deputise governance and take the mantle of spreading the wave across India upon himself, or vice versa if he has a good team of leaders.

This epidemic wave of activism is catching speed in the country even though action has been in Delhi. Yet, there are no concrete directions. Kejriwal says “ho jayega” when pointed out that Lok Sabha elections are just months away. Will that mean candidates and prospective office-bearers like Vinod Kumar Binnys will not get enough screening process, and may be the reason the party falls before it finds its feet.

When a year-and-a-half old child takes its first steps, one tries to run or walk fast in full enthusiasm. But even if he wants to, it is God’s way of saying, ‘all at the right time. Let the body develop first’.

AAP will need to dispassionately view the signboard that is saying: PROCEED WITH AGGRESSION, BUT CAUTION!


Also read:

Don’t underestimate the power of the common man

The Narendra Modi conundrum

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