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Challenge before Kejriwal

Ranabir Ray Choudhury | Updated on March 09, 2018

No match for the pros.

Will he a leader or a follower be? We shall have to wait and see.



By agreeing to form a government in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal has taken a huge risk which could affect the future of his party.

The Aam Aadmi Party has only one plank to stand on, namely, the campaign against corruption, particularly in high places.

It may be argued that, as the campaign’s political manifestation, the AAP is a direct offshoot of the broader struggle against the scourge of corruption led by Anna Hazare, who at one point of time was ably assisted by Kejriwal and others.

No one can deny that Hazare had struck a chord all over the country with his campaign, a support that was demonstrated in full measure by the votes won by the AAP in the recent State elections.

During the course of the Hazare campaign, the Congress had come in for severe criticism as being fully responsible for the spread of corruption during the past six decades. Kejriwal was a party to this stand. However, his maiden political step has been to lay stake to forming a government in Delhi with the open support of that very party. Kejriwal’s defence is that this is what those who overwhelmingly supported his party in the polls want — a demand he has no option but to accept and follow.

Promising to deliver

The question that immediately crosses the mind is whether Kejriwal is leading his political outfit and supporters from the front or whether he is content with just following them? Conventionally, the huge electoral support which Kejriwal won should indicate that the people are looking up to him for leadership, which does not come across when he says that he chose to form a Government in an apparently hung Assembly because his supporters wanted him to do so. What is his precise view on the need to form a Government with the support of the Congress Party which, as he has himself said repeatedly, is grossly responsible for the growth of corruption?

In all fairness to Kejriwal, he has declared that the people of Delhi “are expecting much from us. We will perform and deliver all that we have promised”. From this, it is clear that the AAP’s principal mandate now is to implement the anti-corruption charter it has drawn up after the elections, which in fact appears to be a good enough reason to form a Government in Delhi. But Kejriwal has already shown that he is a poor politician because he has left the door wide open for the Congress to stake claim for all the good work that the AAP will try to accomplish.

After all, does not the AAP Government hold office at the pleasure of the Congress Party? This perhaps explains the sudden deluge of anti-corruption noises emanating from the Congress and its eagerness to provide support to Kejriwal from outside.

Congress’ one-point programme

Briefly, Kejriwal is no match at all for his political opponents in the Congress party who will now pursue a one-point programme of trying to bracket themselves with the AAP in the people’s minds.

After all, the Lok Sabha elections are not very far off, and it would help the Congress if it could sell the point that it is actively associated in the struggle against corruption through its passive participation in the AAP Government in Delhi.

It must also be remembered that, as a political outfit, the AAP is no match for the Congress Party, which is a special disadvantage for the former in the present circumstances. Expectedly, the BJP has seen through the game of the Congress strategists, which is why it has begun accusing Kejriwal of adopting double-standards and deviating from the Hazare campaign.

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Published on December 24, 2013
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