The movement India Against Corruption led by the social activist Anna Hazare was a phenomenal success in its initial phase. Though the movement did not last long but it gave birth to a political party led by Mr Arvind Kejriwal giving a new hope and assurance of a transparent and corruption free governance. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) formed by Kejriwal was then seen by many as a game changer.
During the elections in February, 2015 in the state of Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Kejriwal received an unprecedented success winning 67 out of 70 State Assembly seats. The vote share of 54.3% was not an ordinary feat in the backdrop of two powerful national parties BJP and Congress in the election fray besides other parties and independent candidates. In a parliamentary democracy, what really matters is the people’s mandate and people in Delhi solidly rallied behind the AAP on their dream agenda of clean and good governance.
Although I found the antics of Kejriwal quite annoying and so was his runaway politics with the Delhi people after 49 days of governance in in 2014, I was certainly impressed with the AAP’s meteoric rise and the extra-ordinary feat. Pehaps chief reasons for the party's success were Kejriwal’s clean image, his crusade against corruption, his earlier dicision on electricity and water and the AAP Manifesto with seventy-point Action Plan on which they had been able to persuade the Delhi electorate in their door-to-door campaign. The election results clearly suggested that there was a mass shift of electorate from Congress and other smaller parties in favour of the AAP.
AAP Manifesto and Action Plan
Some of the more important points in the AAP Manifesto and Action Plan were employment, quality education and excellent healthcare to all citizens, safety for women, infrastructure in terms of more roads, public transport and traffic system, affordable electricity and clean drinking water, improving Yamuna with clean water and beautiful river bank besides providing round the clock essential services to all. Making Delhi pollution-free was another important commitment.
Apart from the above, other significant promises were Jan Lokpal Bill, Swaraj Bill, full statehood, 500 new schools and 20 colleges, 2,00,000 public toilets, 900 new Primary Health Centres and 30, 000 additional beds in Delhi hospitals, 47 new fast-track courts for speedy justice, Wi-Fi freely available across Delhi, lowest VAT regime, 8 lakhs jobs in next five years, regularisation all contractual posts, at least 5,000 new buses in Delhi fleet, and so on so forth.
Stability and good governance are indeed key factors for the sustained and long term development and growth of any community, state or country. Without an iota of doubt, it can be said that Delhi being the seat of the central and state governments is already better placed than the rest of the country in terms of resource deployment, infrastructure development and civic amenities etc. Having gone through their Manifesto and Action Plan, I recall in one of my write-ups I had poimted out that for the sustained development, a government need resources which mostly comes from the taxation. When the AAP has committed to a low taxation regime, how they will mobilise resources to fulfill their promises.
In a state economy, taxation is the chief revenue resource, some others being the central assistance and borrowings. If a government does not realize the minimum cost of service, resorts to subsidies and freebies and keeps taxation to minimal, the obvious question is how it will raise resources for housing, new schools and colleges, hospitals and healthcare, roads etc. promised to the electorate.
Lacklustre and Chaotic Regime
Recently in February, 2017, the AAP with Kejriwal led government completed two years in Delhi. All along the period, the party and government have been marred with conflicts and showdown with the Lieutenant Governer (LG) and Central Government on the issues like illegitimate transfer and postings, jurisdiction, corruption and criminal charges against the ministers and legislatures, disproportionate expenditure on publicity within and outside Delhi, court cases involving Kejriwal and ministers, and focus of Kejriwal and others to expand party base in other states and consequent disastrous results.
The AAP didn't spare even the constitutional and statutory institutions like Election Commission and High Court citing their bias against the AAP. Besides, the ministers and party leaders have also been involved in in-fighting, controversies and confrontation leading to expulsion and voluntary break-away in Delhi and outside.
A majority of ministers chosen by Kejriwal were booked for the criminal offences like money laundering, fake degree, graft charges, marital dispute, attempted rape and misbehaviour with women. Currently, the popularity graph of Kejriwal Inc is on such a low that if a fresh election is held, it will be difficult for many of them to save their security deposit what to talk of coming back in power. Irony is that the AAP fought elections on anti-corruption plank and now the party is increasingly getting infamous for its alleged fraud and corrupt practices.
Report Card of the Government
On 13 February 2017, the AAP completed two years of rule in Delhi but despite their tall claims and aggresive publicity, the government led by Kejriwal is yet to fulfil most of its key promises. Its main achievements / failures in the light of the promises made in the Manifesto and Action Plan are enumerated below:
Improvement in Public Transport:
The AAP had promised to improve the public transport with fresh induction of 5,000 buses, expansion of existing infrastructure, construction of new roads and ensuring the last mile connectivity. On the contrary, despite tall claims there has been hardly any addition or improvement in the existing fleet of DTC buses and roads, what to talk of the last mile connectivity. Rationalization of bus routes too is pending for long.
Over the years, the strength of bus fleet as well as ridership has reduced due to overall poor service. Consequently, commuters rely more on private vehicles and alternative means of transport including metro service. While the AAP government cannot be blamed for the past failures but it cannot shy away from taking responsibilities for own commitments.
In their first Budget, the AAP government had promised to induct 10,000 more buses in five years while the manifesto had a promise to add 5,000 buses. In the following year’s Budget, it projected to procure 1000 new low floor non-AC buses, 1000 under the cluster bus scheme and another 1000 under a new premium category during 2016-17. However, even a single low-floor bus has not been added so far. Reportedly, a little over 200 buses have been added under the cluster scheme but the premium buses remain under the clouds of uncertainty.
In Delhi, during the last few years, the battery-operated rickshaws have emerged as a complementary mode of para-transit for the last mile connectivity. But the government has to go a long way for their registration, licensing and promised subsidy. Despite tall claims for improvement, over 85,000 autos, supposedly the AAP’s dedicated vote bank, continue to mis-conduct and charge commuters arbitrarily. Apparently, the PWD prepared a plan of east-west and north-south corridor in the city, but government is yet to take a call on it.
Wi-Fi in Public Zones: T
he Kejriwal government’s another tall promise was to make Delhi a Wi-Fi zone freely available in public places which fascinated the majority of Delhites. Despite government assurances that the internet and telecom companies have been taken in loop and high-level feasibility study done but even after two years, there appears no possibility for free Wi-Fi services in the near future.
The Kejriwal government claims to have made sustained efforts to improve schools, classrooms, check fee rise and training to teachers and principals including training abroad. Reportedly, about 8,000 classrooms have been built during the last two years. Further, a check on hiking of student fees in private schools has been maintained particularly on those built on government land. However, the government has to go long way to meet its election promises.
In their election manifesto, the Party had promised 20 new colleges and 500 new schools for augmenting facilities and quality education. Now instead of schools, the government claims to have constructed over 8,000 new classrooms, which as they claim, tantamount to 100 new schools. The education minister reportedly justified that the crux of the promise was to enable more students having access to quality education. On the other hand, independent assessment and the government teachers’ association feedback suggests that the stated rooms have been constructed in without proper planning and assessment while many schools still run under tin sheds.
To enhance the quality of teaching, some teachers and principals were sent for training to Cambridge University, Indian Institutes of Management and probably some other institutions. Despite tall claims of the government, some experts doubt its usefulness. In the context of schooling education, exposure in Cambridge may be fascinating but how far it would be relevant in the Indian context remains a debatable issue. The education is an important aspect and irrespective of the party in power, certain annual allocations are made and expenditure is incurred on commensurate activities. The point is why the Party didn’t make any assessment before promising 20 colleges and 500 new schools and now in a hush-hush trying to justify by addition of classrooms which would require more teaching and non-teaching staff and other related developments.
Power Tariff and Free Water:
This was one promise that the Kejriwal government had promptly fulfilled even during its first stint of 49 days. The government subsidized power tariff to bring it to almost half, while at the same time Distribution companies have not been allowed to increase tariff. Similarly, the government had almost simultaneously made notification for the promised 20,000 litres of free water to every household in Delhi.
The government’s sop of 50% subsidy on power tariffs for those who consume up to 400 units seems to be popular among people who live in their own houses; however, in many cases tenants (with common meter) complain that the landlords charge them at the old higher rate. This can be quoted as a success story of the AAP government. But there is the other side of the story too. If the public do not pay at least for the cost of the service they receive, and the government takes this burden on their shoulder, this is bound to have adverse impact on other sectors like health and sanitation, education, infrastructure etc.
Ideally, the subsidy should be extended only to certain weaker sections who can ill-afford it. The past Delhi governments have already been providing free electricity connection and subsidized consumption to the identified weaker section populace while Kejriwal government took this populist measure for all irrespective of their economic status.
Considering the geo-political and economic consideration, Delhi is certainly better placed than the rest of India with the highest per capita income compared to any other city or region. Resorting to heavy subsidy for the entire populace in Delhi would necessitate the government to make room for a huge allocation in the regular budget which is not possible without impacting other crucial social needs like education, health & hygiene and infrastructure development. Such concessions and freebies may fascinate and lure people but clearly it is not in the state interest in the long term.
Apart from the reduction of electricity bills by half, other promised action was CAG audit of power Discoms, Delhi’s own power plant, introduction of competition among Discoms and making Delhi a solar city. The first one was fulfilled, the CAG audit of Discoms is sub judice, the third and fourth i.e. Delhi’s own power plant and introduction of competition among Discom are far from even preliminary work. Further, the progress on making Delhi a solar city is very slow after notifying the Solar Energy Policy in 2015.
On the water front, The AAP government maintains it is providing 20,000 litres of water free of cost to domestic consumers. For users above 20,000 litres, a predetermined service charge and volumetric charge is levied. Currently, about 83% households have piped supply and for the remaining the Delhi Jal Board is supposed to deploy tankers. Though it is the legacy of past but the free supply of water has further compounded the problem. A large number of households do not have meters and there are large numbers of complaints from the residents of unpiped section about non-supply and/or purchase at exorbitant charges from the water mafia.
To illustrate that everything is not well on water issue, it will be suffice to quote recent row between the AAP Minister Kapil Mishra and Kejriwal, and sacking of the former on the charges of inefficiency and mismanagement of water supply in Delhi. As a matter of fact, the objective of the free water scheme was to make the life of the people of lower income group easier with a habit to conserve water by using less. On the contrary, the people are not getting the intended benefit as the majority of them do not have metered connection. Besides, the free availability of water is making them less aware of the need to conserve.
Health and Sanitation:
In their Election Manifesto, the party had promised excellent health to Delhites by creating 900 primary health centres, 30,000 additional beds in hospitals and 2,00,000 public toilets besides augmenting existing facilities in the government hospitals. So far, the government has opened about 110 Mohalla Clinics across the city offering free consultation, routine tests and free medicines. Besides, certain generic medicines are free in the Delhi government hospitals too. The AAP government is aggressively showcasing this as a path breaking achievement with international acclaim from the likes of UN Secretary General and former WHO Director.
At best, this can be treated as a health mission in its nascent stage but it is certainly far from being satisfactory or a game changer as claimed by the AAP government. The government had announced to set up 1,000 Mohalla Clinics by the end of 2016, the deadline was extended to March 2017 but the government nowhere seems to reaching this target.
Even the few Mohalla Clinics opened so far have been marred with controversies like limited test facilities against promised, reluctant doctors due to payment issues, timings, heavy rush of patients & long queues, and touts freely operating to exploit patients. Besides, there are complaints that these clinics have been deliberately opened in the AAP owner houses/buildings to pass benefit on them.
On sanitation front, the government has been on a warpath with the three corporations of Delhi dominated by the Bhartiya Janta Party councillors. The AAP government has been constantly blaming the MCD for failures on sanitation and health issues, and at occasions created logjam by stopping the payment to sanitation staff. Consequently, the staff had gone on strike refusing the disposal of garbage making the life of Delhites miserable for days during the last two years. With the BJP winning MCD elections with thumping majority, there seems to be no chance of truce between the government and MCD.
Environment and Pollution:
The Kejriwal government’s ideas on environment and pollution are high but low in implementation. They had promised to make the Delhi proud of the Yamuna brought alive by clean water with beautiful riverbank and make the city pollution free. Delhi is one of the world’s most polluted cities with the daily pollution rate very high crossing dangerous levels in winter months. There have been occasions when Delhi High Court and Supreme Court had to intervene in recent years; the former calling Delhi a ‘gas chamber directing both the Centre and Delhi to come out with an action plan to deal with the problem.
The AAP government decided to experiment with odd-even car rationing plan in 2015-16, claimed it a success, though independent analysts were apprehensive; but the government lacked the resolve to further try it. Apparently, in the first phase there was no visible impact on air pollution but it led to the reduced traffic while the second phase saw more congestion on roads.
However, the vehicles are not the only source of pollution. Construction activities are another high source of particulate matter. Then farm fire in Haryana and Punjab as also parts of the Western UP are another high source of pollution. Though checking the pollution in Delhi has been a perennial problem for years and the AAP government cannot be blamed for it but currently they are at the helms of affairs to tackle the problem and they made a firm promise for a clean pollution free environment. The fact is that except for some half-hearted measures every then and now, they have no clear vision or action plan to check pollution during their remaining stint.
On the front of environment conservation, the AAP had promised rejuvenation of Yamuna river and beautification of the river bank. It is surprising that the neighbourly Uttar Pradesh with its meagre resources can considerably do it for the Gomti river in its capital Lucknow but the Delhi government with its vast resources is unable to even come out with a viable action plan in two years for Yamuna. This failure is attributable partly to the government’s lack of will and partly to the fact that they are on a constant tussle warpath with the Central government and, obviously, lack the latter’s cooperation and support.
Unauthorised Colonies and Slums:
One of the biggest political issues in Delhi has been the failure of successive governments to provide planned housing. Estimated number of unauthorised colonies in the city is about 1,650 with some 50 lakh population. Ahead of the last assembly elections, the AAP had promised to provide water, sewer lines, electricity, schools and hospitals in a systematic and phased manner. The party had also stated that within one year, the unauthorised colonies will be regularised with ownership rights to residents.
The AAP government announced a unilateral decision to open registry of property in unauthorised colonies without following the due process with the municipal corporations and the Union urban development ministry. Consequently, the process is stuck with half-hearted approach and usual blame game. Similarly, their promises of ‘Jahan Jhuggi, Wahan Makaan’ have not progressed due to bureaucratic bottlenecks.
Others Issues - Creation of New Jobs, etc.:
In their manifesto, the Party had promised creation of eight lakh jobs for Delhites during its five years tenure but nothing concrete has emerged so far in this context. Similarly another promise of installing 10-15 lakh CCTV cameras across Delhi keeping for woman safety and to check other crimes appears to have gone haywire in spite of a periodic murmur from the party leaders.
Ironically, the AAP was born out of the Jan Lokpal Movement, the Kejriwal government resigned in its first spell on this issue and came in power with a thumping majority largely for the same reason. A Lokpal Bill was indeed prepared and passed by the Delhi Assembly in 2015 but again without following the due process and consultation with the Lieutenant Governor and Union Government as required under extant law. Apart from the lack of procedure, the Bill had jurisdictional issues too which the Party does not appears in a mood to resolve due to its apparent strategy of playing victim and passing the buck on the Central government, more particularly the prime minister, for every failure.
Apart from the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, the AAP had committed to Swaraj Bill, full statehood, 47 new fast-track courts for speedy justice, lowest VAT regime, marshals in buses, and regularization of contractual labour/posts among a plethora of other promises. On the contrary, in an order passed by Delhi Government some time back, they asked the municipal corporations to get rid of contractual employees as one of the conditions for granting loan.
Needless to say, the party has not shown any grit or resolve to address these issues in with all seriousness. Instead, taking resort to their overwhelming majority in the Assembly, they tend to arbitrarily pass bills and resolutions or government orders so often in violation of laid down procedure or path and blame the Lieutenant Governor and Central Government for the lack of progress. For instance, only recently one day special session of the Assembly was called just to justify their allegation that the electronic voting machines are prone to manipulation. When the Commission gave them opportunity on 3rd June 2017 to substantiate their allegation, they simply backed out making funny excuses.
Where Does AAP Stand Today?
The above account is sufficed for anybody to surmise whether the AAP government is a success or failure. Apart from their big ticket measures on electricity and water, which have its own fallacies, the government has done virtually nothing concrete vis-à-vis their Election Manifesto and action plan. Every government has a budget, every government has corresponding spending against targets; so that is what the AAP government is also doing – a business as usual with a lacklustre performance.
The point is they entered into fray with a promise to make a difference with clean politics and efficient governance but that difference is visible nowhere till now. Instead, ever since their inception they have been resorting to conflict and blame game with the Central government and other institutions, marred with internal conflicts, misdemeanour and corruption. In short, they constantly remain in focus and news for all wrong reason.
Conflict with Central Government:
Despite being in government, the party leaders have been frequently resorting to tactics like dharna, agitation against the Central Government and other institutions to press their agenda. In the legislative matters, governance and routine transfers, there are numerous instances when they have bypassed Lieutenant Governor or tried to encroach in the Central jurisdiction creating conflicts. The government and party head Kejriwal’s pet peeve is against the prime minister Modi and he leaves no opportunity to blame him for virtually anything that goes wrong in their eyes. In fact, he is on record calling himself an anarchist and in two years, commensurate with his observation, he has left no stone unturned to prove this point.
Internal Conflicts: Since day one in power, the party is ridden with internal rivalries and conflicts due to ideological differences, supremacy tussle, greed for more power and autocratic functioning of the party head supported with his sycophant friends. It is not surprising that a large number of prominent leaders including the founding members have either been expelled or resigned to join other parties in the last two years. Some worth mentioning names are Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Sazia Ilmi etc. Another prominent leader and poet Kumar Biswas reportedly has serious differences with the party leadership and it appears only a matter of time before he formally quits the party.
Misdemeanour and Corruption Charges:
In these two years, almost entire Kejriwal cabinet and many legislatures have come under scrutiny and fire for misdemeanour, fraud, graft and corruption charges. They may call it victimization but any court or CBI proceeds to act only after prima facie finding sufficient ground or evidence in a case. Jitendra Singh Tomar, ex-Law Minister was booked and prosecuted for a fake degree scandal. Som Nath Bharti, a trusted Minister of Kejriwal, invited serious controversies for raid in Khirki extension and racist remarks earlier, and was later booked for marital dispute and cruelty against his own wife. Asim Ahmed Khan, Food and Environment Minister was removed and is under prosecution for the graft charges. Satendra Kumar Jain, Health Minister is under investigation for large scale money laundering and recruiting own daughter as health advisor. Amanullah Khan, Kejriwal’s one time favoutite, had been arrested for molestation and abusing a woman. In a recent development, Kapil Mishra, an ex-Minister and expelled AAP member, is almost daily spilling beans with serious corruption charges against the party and government chief Kejriwal himself.
Nowhere in the political history, would one find such a large scale misdemeanour, fraud, graft and corruption against prominent leaders of a political party in a short time. The reason for this state of affair is also quite clear. For aspirants, it is difficult to get into immediate limelight in the established political parties like Congress or BJP immediately on joining. So, it is a simple case of large number of ambitious and unethical aspirants finding a golden opportunity in the form of the AAP and the party, in turn, without proper scrutiny and background check admitting them in the fold on extraneous considerations.
AAP - Losing Electoral Base
The electorate in general and Delhi in particular is increasingly disillusioned with the party and government which is evident from the following developments:
Punjab & Goa Elections:
Recently in February – March 2017, elections for the state assemblies of Punjab and Goa were held. The AAP had fielded its candidates for almost all constituencies in these states with high stakes to win majority in both states. In fact, Kejriwal and his ministers had camped for weeks together in these states with an aggressive canvassing, leaving Delhi unattended for long spells. The electorate rejected the party in both the states, while they stood second in Punjab slight ahead of Akali-BJP combine but were unable to open account in Goa.
Rajouri Garden Bypoll:
Ahead of Delhi municipal corporations election for electing counsellors, the AAP had a shocking defeat in the Rajouri Garden bypoll in April 2017 wherein its candidate forfeited his security deposit trailing well behind his BJP and Congress rivals; the vote share dropping from 47% in 2015 to 13% in 2017. The seat was won by BJP.
MCD Polls in Delhi:
Despite tall claims and high stakes, the party had a crushing defeat in the MCD polls after its Punjab and Goa debacles. The polling percentage has significantly gone down from 54% in 2015 assembly elections to 26% in 2017 MCD polls causing a huge blow to the morale of the party. In terms of the number of seats, they won 67 out of 70 Assembly segments in 2015 while 48 out of 270 municipal wards in 2017.
So the question is what has gone wrong with the AAP in such a short time? Apart from their dismal performance in governance of Delhi, undoubtedly, the following other main factors have significantly contributed towards the electorate losing faith in the AAP:
1) The way Kejriwal had been challenging and using foul words against PM Modi and BJP all the time, it is clear that he was in a hurry to pose himself as his alternative at the national level. The bitterly contested assembly elections of Punjab and Goa are ample evidence besides his already announced plans for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh of his national ambition. Obviously, this has been at the cost of neglecting Delhi which has not gone well with the Delhi electorate and elsewhere.
2) Instead of focusing on own work, the AAP campaign revolved around the negative, and often abusive, propaganda against opponents. Be it the demonetization, surgical strike by the Army against enemy lines, epidemic diseases in Delhi or elsewhere, they choose to oppose lock, stock and barrel with a bitter criticism. They have not spared even statutory bodies like Election Commission (EC) while vehemently opposing electronic voting machines (EVMs) with the allegations of tampering in favour of the BJP.
3) Continuous internal tussle and conflicts leading to expulsion of several key leaders and/or voluntary resignations from the party too have apparently not gone well with the electorate.
4) The party gradually drifted away from its own chosen agenda of transparency and good governance. Apart from the populist water-electricity plank, the party projected self as a crusader against corruption in 2015. In the prevailing mayhem of their own created political mess in Delhi and outside and tirade against the EC and EVMs, somehow the party has lost its much professed themes of Jan Lokpal, Swaraj etc., assuming a routine character of any other lacklustre political party.
5) In his rhetoric to pitching self against PM Modi, Kejriwal thanks to his anarchist image has failed to display any positive attributes or vibes during campaigns. For instance, Modi has an image of hardworking man who works for 18 hours a day with complete dedication and grip over the system he governs. On the other hand, Kejriwal doesn’t hold any portfolio thus no accountability, his Deputy CM virtually runs the government setting him free as a man in a big hurry to expand wings in the other states.
AAP and Controversy are Synonyms
Even during their first stint of 49 days before exiting the government on the pretext of the Jana Lokpal Bill, almost every other day was marred with a fresh controversy involving leaders or party as a whole resorting to dharna, agitation and hunger strike against the central government.
In the second spell, Kejriwal government took oath of the office as Chief Minister of Delhi on February 14, 2015 ushering in a new hope and assurance of transparent and corruption-free governance. But the events of the last two years, belying hopes of the common man tell an entirely different story.
Strangely as it would appear, Kejriwal himself had encouraged the common man in the beginning to carry out sting operations to catch corrupt and dishonest officials. Ironically, several audio and video clips surfaced in the first 100 days itself highlighting sting operations on the party and government head himself. These much publicised clips inter alia included instances of Kejriwal resorting to horse-trading in 2014 to form government and using un-parliamentary words against senior party leaders like Prashant Bhusan and Yogendra Yadav. Consequently, reportedly Kejriwal himself stopped party members and people carrying or using phones during indoor meetings.
Before the controversy of sting operations could subside, the AAP was marred with the crisis of the power struggle within the party. Founding members and senior party leaders Prashan Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had a clean image of the party’s think tank. While the duo raised questions on the party supremo’s dictatorial style of functioning and certain ethical issues in the party, the Kejriwal camp accused them of working towards the party’s downfall by questioning the latter’s authority and attempting to remove him from the party convener’s post. The high tension drama ended up with the removal of the duo from the party posts and expulsion from the party in in April 2015 along with some other leaders.
A major blow to the party came in their agitation against the NDA Government’s land acquisition bill. A rally was organized in Delhi wherein thousands of farmers having allegiance to the AAP participated. The rally ended in a fiasco after a farmer from Rajasthan hanged himself on a tree in full view of the party top leadership. The death of the farmer led to a widespread criticism and unanswered questions on the ability and sensitivity of the party leaders about handling the problems of the common man.
As if these controversies were not enough, soon the Kejriwal government’s tiff and face-off with the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi and the Commissioner, Delhi Police started ripples in bureaucratic circles leading to a constitutional crisis. This started with the LG Delhi appointing the senior most bureaucrat Shakuntala D Gamlin as acting chief secretary in May, 2015 while the regular incumbent was on leave Ex-India for ten days, contrary to the wishes of the Chief Minister who wanted another officer of his choice for the job. Kejriwal publicly accused the lady bureaucrat in a press conference of lobbying for a big corporate house and got sealed the room of another senior bureaucrat for issuing her appointment letter.
The event triggered a series of action and reaction affecting and demoralizing the state bureaucracy. The tussle and tug of war between the Chief Minister and the Lieutenant Governor reached the highest institutions of the executive and judiciary. This war continued with numerous ugly face offs till December 2016 when LG Nazeeb Jung finally resigned citing personal reasons. The usual reasons for the conflict was the AAP bypassing LG’s authority in legislative and executive matters and the latter trying to act as per the existing law.
In September 2015, Som Nath Bharti an ex-Law Minister of Kejriwal government was arrested in a domestic abuse case after his wife alleged that he resorted to domestic violence on several occasion. In the past too, Bharti had created flutter when he made a raid in the house of an African woman in Khirki extension, criminally intimidated inmates and outraged her modesty. In a long list of controversies, these are a few illustrations. Besides, several AAP ministers and legislatures have been in bad news for their demeanour, favourism, fraud and corruption cases all along. For instance, in an office of profit case, the appointment of 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries by the Kejriwal government was quashed by the Delhi High Court and the case is now pending before the Election Commission to decide their fate.
Playing the Victim Card
Whether it is a confrontation with the Lieutenant Governor or investigation of any complaint about the favourism, fraud or corruption involving any minister or party member, Kejriwal Inc has made it a habit of playing the victim card. They will create a controversy by own acts of omission or commission and promptly drag the Central Government, more particularly the prime minister, with the allegation that the latter is trying to derail their working and/or victimising them to defame and demoralise, thereby denying a democratically elected government to work.
Interestingly, Kejriwal has used the term anarchist for himself in the past and many detractors and adversaries, and now even common man, frequently use this term to define him. He is a social activist turned politician who has absolutely no hesitation in using any harsh or foul words against his opponents whether in politics, media or any other sphere of life, while a person holding a responsible public position should be careful with his speech besides being sober, tolerant, rational and well-meaning.
It is indeed very unfortunate and sad to see the nemesis of the AAP and its leaders and the government head. A party which was raised from a popular movement against corruption and which ushered in new hopes of the transparent and clean governance, has completely gone haywire from its original principle and objectives. The AAP Ministers and Legislatures have resorted to the same VIP culture and arrogance that they were against and fought with as part of the India against Corruption. The professed ideology and ethics are seen nowhere. The majority of Ministers and many legislatures have been booked or under scrutiny on the charges of misdemeanour, fraud, corruption etc. No other party has ever seen so intense internal tussles and conflicts washing their dirty linen in public. They are fast losing their mandate with the electorate and it is not too far off in the future that the disillusioned public will show Kejriwal Inc their true place if they don’t improve in the near future.