Of course, no Main stream media (MMS) story can be complete without obligatory reference to Gujarat riots and Ayodhya-Babri structure. But barring that, the following article invites those who support blindly Mr. Kejriwal and his party, AAP to do a serious rethink.
Economic Times: Poke Me: Why Kejriwal is losing the plot
This week’s ” Poke Me”, invites your comments on why Kejriwal is losing the plot. The feature will be reproduced on the edit page of the Saturday edition of the newspaper with a pick of readers’ best comments.
So be poked and fire in your comments to us right away. Comments reproduced in the paper will be the ones that support or oppose the views expressed here intelligently. Feel free to add reference links etc., in support of your comments.
Supreme Court Justice B N Agarwal is being sorely missed. It took him precisely 15 minutes to get a flustered Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi running from Chennai’s famed Marina beach to the secretariat and start working. That was after the DMK patriarch had said he would fast for the cause of Lankan Tamils, in April, 2009. The slightest of hints about the dreaded Article 356 of the Constitution did the trick.
As TV started flashing Justice Agarwal’s remarks on the incongruity of a constitutional functionary going on a fast, the chief minister had no option but to make a dash for his office before lunch.
Fortunately for Kejriwal, Justice Agarwal has since demitted office. Fortuitously for him too, the party that’s holding the reins of power at the Centre is famous for fiddling over issues. In this power vacuum, self-styled anarchist Kejriwal seems to think he can rule the law from the street instead of living by the rule of law, throwing constitutional norms and principles to the wind; all in the name of unconventional politics.
His politics as Delhi’s chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader has been a dangerous mix of self-righteousness and lynch-mob vigilantism, designed to mask his incapability to push through any of the major changes he had promised. The agenda of Somnath Bharti, his law minister, is equally insidious: subvert the existing criminal justice system to ensure khap panchayat style justice, ignore both facts and the law.
In recent days, the minister has raided (with an unruly mob in tow) houses in his constituency on the suspicion of soliciting and drug-trafficking, dragged away African women and forced them to submit in public to urine samples for medical analyses, all in the name of justice.
Pray how is the AAP any different from the Sri Ram Sene which doesn’t hesitate to play judge, jury and executioner on Valentines’ day in Karnataka and has assaulted AAP leaderPrashant Bhushan for his long-held views on Kashmir? How is Bharti any different from the Shahabuddins of yore who took the law into their own hands? Or the Mumbai underworld?
The criminal justice system as it stands today, one has to concede to Bhushan, is full of shortcomings. It is slow, expensive and has been hijacked by those who know how to manipulate the system. Conviction figures are low.
However, the way ahead cannot be the Kejriwal way — hold the city and people who propelled you to power to ransom and offer the voter street corner vigilante justice in the name of deliverance. The Kejriwal brand of politics is inherently disrespectful of all constitutional values we hold dear; the basic presumption of innocent till proven guilty, the principles of federalism and separation of powers. It holds out a simplistic and a potentially dangerous solution to a people impatient for change – take the law into your own hands like Bharti and fellow MLA Rakhi Birla.
Instead of disowning them, Kejriwal indulged in his own bit of lawlessness when he defied prohibitory orders to sit on a dharna demanding that the Centre hand over control over the city cops to him. He will have us believe that all corruption in Delhi would go once he controls the cops. Finally, on Tuesday, he backed down and settled for peanuts: getting a few cops who dared cross his government’s path to go on paid leave.
The man’s histrionics captured eyeballs; his shrill rhetoric caused panic and chaos in the city.
A few cops under his belt, Kejriwal called off the dharna before things turned ugly and passed it off as a victory for the people of Delhi. Many fell for his theories of police inaction to justify his means.
Riling people against another section is fraught with dangerous consequences for this polity, as we have seen in earlier instances of mass political mobilization whether in Gujarat or Ayodhya. Will saner elements in the party prevail before all its political goodwill is frittered away?
Or is it that Kejriwal is merely pandering to his constituency, the lower middle class, the disgruntled and the poor who wish to be rid of the existing inequitable system? Is he is trying to overthrow the system even though he chose to go the ballot way?
The educated AAP supporter has a lot of thinking to do in the days leading up to the Lok Sabha polls. Is this what he signed up for when he voted AAP in 2013? Surely Kejriwal’s cure, fraught with the danger of unleashing unparalleled violence and strife, is worse than the disease? Maybe, Kejriwal should call for another referendum on the means to his end if there is one. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he may just lose that one.