Saturday, February 15, 2014

Good guys always win. Arvind Kejriwal’s story though is unfolding otherwise

Good guys always win. And I think Arvind Kejriwal’s innings in the politics reinforced the fact. Last two months though have saddened the lot of people who believed in the Arvind Kejriwal Story. I still think over a longer period of time, he might bring about a change in the political mindset even though he may not remain a major player.

He won people’s hearts with his actions which were in sync with the way people liked their leaders to be. Simple, straight-forward and action-oriented. Everything he said after forming his political outfit, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was in tune with the ground realities. Corruption has always been an impediment all over the world and it is no different in India. That does not make us attuned to it and he rightly made it is agenda to root out corruption. He also understood the people’s problems with the current political functioning and the disillusionment of the working class who contribute the majority to the exchequer. Against all odds and disrespect from the leading political parties and with a lot of trepidation, he fought the Delhi state elections 2014 and came out the second largest party. As destiny would have it, he became the Chief Minister of Delhi.

With all due respect, he had the chance to prove that he walked the talk. Unfortunately, we do not know what transpired or what was the thought process of him and his team. They went berserk with announcements which by all counts were populist. A lot of unconventional methods went into the kind of governance. Austerity drive that did not materialise, alleged anarchist attitude with the Dharna, vigilantism to catch corruption through hidden cameras, on-ground mob mobility against alleged drugs & prostitution. All the actions were for the larger good although they might not be too pleasing to those who follow the rule of the book. It won him friends and foes as well. Lot of arguments about the process being right or wrong. And then the Jan Lokpal. Not being allowed to get it through, the unnecessary accusation of the Lieutenant Governor being ‘partisan’ and the ego battle to pass the Jan Lokpal finally took out life out of the Arvind Kejriwal Story with his resignation as New Delhi Chief Minister.

It is a case of missed opportunities. He could have been slow with the announcements and could have had a measured approach to governance. He though thought otherwise. Wanting to go for the big-bang statements and have an immediate impact.  I think he has over-estimated the success story of AAP far too much. I hope I am proved wrong. There is a theory going around that they are looking at the bigger battle now i.e. the Lok Sabha elections 2014 in May by contesting 350-400 seats out of 544. Apart from the resources required for such a large scale elections, they do not have the individuals who have a mass acceptance. Merely fielding social activists or corporates will not guarantee success. It worries me that in case the results do not come out as expected, the whole movement might fizzle out. Thus I hope better sense prevails and Arvind Kejriwal takes a long-position rather than go for instant gratification. You should not try your luck too far. But then Arvind Kejriwal has being unconventional and might make a lot of us ‘eat crow’ with its success going forward.

Bottomline is- goods intentions do not necessarily translate into actions. And altruism isn’t always better for others especially when it comes to being on the administrative and governance side.