Blame Game Could Prove Costly for Kejriwal
Since coming to power in Delhi for the second time, Arvind Kejriwal appears to be a different politician. He is no longer as aggressive against his political opponents as he used to be. He is not as so forthright as he was when he joined politics. He seems to be more calculative now than in the past. Is it politics that has changed Mr. Kejriwal or he has changed his politics? From ‘my way or highway’ attitude, he is now trying to project himself as a politician who believes in consensus, not in confrontation. The self-claimed anarchist is now trying to create an image of a responsible politician.
There is nothing wrong in Mr. Kejriwal wanting to change his image. Obviously, people would like a mature, amicable and articulate politician more than someone who is focused on his personal interest rather than the nation’s interest. But the question is, while doing so, is he keeping the interest of his supporters in consideration? Is he in the process of deserting his followers for the sake of attaining a mature image? Otherwise, why has he remained silent since anti-CAA movement gripped Delhi? It is nearly three months now that women and children have been protesting in Shaheen Bagh, but Mr. Kejriwal has not uttered a single word in favour or against the agitators. Moreover, when Delhi was on fire and more than 40 people were killed in group clashes, he did virtually nothing to bring back normalcy. He evaded his responsibility by indicating that as Delhi Chief Minister, he has limited power and maintaining the law and order in Delhi is the Centre’s responsibility.
Where Mr. Kejriwal erred is that only law enforcing agencies can disperse the hooligans. But rebuilding trust and brotherhood between two communities is the responsibility of the political parties. Clearly, he and his party Aam Admi Party (AAP) have miserably failed in this regard. In Delhi, AAP is influential in places where people from lower income group live, the places worst-hit during the recent unrest. But not a single AAP leader or worker was seen on the roads to douse the fire. They were not even visible when frightened people started leaving Delhi. It appears that all AAP leaders and supporters have gone into hibernation after ensuring victory for the party in the recently held Assembly polls in Delhi.
But being aloof during crisis may be counterproductive for Mr. Kejriwal and his party. Whatever he may claim, the fact remains that AAP’s victory in Delhi is a result of BJP’s failure to project any formidable leader against Mr. Kejriwal. AAP may claim that the victory was possible for its pro-people policy. But the situation is slightly different. If development fetched votes for AAP, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia wouldn’t have had to struggle so hard to win as he was credited the transformation of the education scenario in Delhi. So, clearly it was leadership issue that clinched the issue in AAP’s favour. To consolidate its position, Mr. Kejriwal and his party would have done well to stand beside the affected people, instead of putting the entire blame on the Centre to remain on the safe side. Such attitudes do not pay rich dividends in politics. No matter how big the party is, it received rejection from people for failing to take a firm stand on crucial issues. So to keep his popularity intact, Mr. Kejriwal should express his opinion on important issues instead of evading those citing limited powers.