Having strayed into the mundane world of business journalism, the misfit gets a high from politics, cinema, theatre and street food, especially in the bylanes of Old Delhi.

Aditi Nigam

Sticking out like a thorn

| Updated on January 22, 2014 Published on January 22, 2014

Call Kejriwal's dharna a ‘drama’ or ‘anarchy’, AAP’s entry has changed political discourse in the country.

Thanks to Arvind Kejriwal’s dharna at Rail Bhavan and the Centre’s order to close down Metro stations in the area, I was forced to walk over a kilometre to reach office.

On the way, I decided to take the busy Janpath market to try and get a feel of what people were saying about the “unconventional” style of politics unleashed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

I, for one, had been cursing AAP for making people walk on a wet and cold day. Sure enough, shopkeepers and pavement hawkers selling piles of sweaters and jackets were talking about the Chief Minister’s dharna and how it had paralysed the heart of Delhi’s babudom.

As I stood there, pretending to choose a sweater, I realised that contrary to the media’s tirade against “inconvenience caused to people” and “running governments from the streets”, most of the people were full-throated in their support for Delhi’s Chief Minister.

“Have you ever heard of a CM sleeping on the streets like all of us? Name one”, shouted a hawker. “Never heard of this,” said another. Across the narrow street, another one shouted, “He is absolutely right. If the police and the Centre do not listen to a CM, how can one expect them to listen to the aam aadmi.”

I, too, joined in and said at least the Delhi Law Minister should not have gone ordering a midnight raid on an alleged drug and sex racket in South Delhi and that it was against law. To my surprise, pat came a reply, “Madam, what about the cops picking up people randomly from the streets, or arresting innocent people on the basis of suspicion, without any paper work?”

A roadside snack seller said he was tired of paying off cops, even for minor things such as shifting his position by 50 metres on a road.

Yes, Kejriwal & Co should have respected the Constitution and the law of the land, but so should have political parties who sat on judgment on television channels. One wishes to ask BJP whether razing of the Babri Masjid, applauded by senior party leaders, was in keeping with the Constitution of India, or whether the Congress followed the rule book when it imposed Emergency and swooped on all Opposition?

Terming Kejriwal’s “unconventional’ style of politics a ‘drama’ or ‘anarchy’ is fine when it comes from the public, but critics of the 20-day-old government, who have ruled the country for donkeys years, will have to grant AAP one thing – it’s entry has changed the political discourse in the country, from news rooms to board rooms to drawings rooms, right up to the dusty and cobbled streets of urban India!

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Published on January 22, 2014
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