End of the road for Kejriwal?

Had Kejriwal limited himself to governing Delhi on sound lines after being given a massive mandate in the 2015 Assembly elections, things would have been different.

VIEWPOINT

Madhusudhana Rao S

The counting of votes in the Sunday election of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) will begin on Wednesday (April 26) and the outcome could be another nail in Aam Aadmi Party’s coffin.

All the exit polls have predicted the AAP’s rout and a resounding victory for the BJP. Out of 272 seats at stake, BJP is poised to win between 210 and 220 while the AAP a measly 20-30 seats. If the exit polls prove right that the AAP is going to bite the dust, the overall result could prove to be  a death blow to a party that came into prominence and power giving a new hope to ordinary people and promising the dawn of a corruption-free era.

The rise of AAP in 2012, an offshoot of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement that rocked the country and the Congress-led UPA government, is still fresh in our minds. Led by young IITian Arvind Kejriwal and a band of well- educated idealists, the common man’s party had caught the imagination of the whole world and the AAP had been projected as an alternative to ‘secular’ Congress and Hindu-centric Bharatiya Janata Party.

But, five years down the line, the AAP has not only failed the voters who have reposed faith in its anti-graft crusader Kejriwal and the party’s promised reforms in public life. In a way, the party’s rise and fall in a short span of five years is the story of a man who doggedly believes confrontations are the best means to achieve the ends.

Driven by perpetual self-publicity coupled with ambition, Kejriwal has managed to be in the news for all wrong reasons. From law and order problem in the national capital to garbage pile-ups on roads to water and power shortages were all the making of the BJP government at the Centre. His fights with the Centre over appointment of officials, devolution of powers and allegations of how BJP is preventing him from successfully running his Delhi State government are legion.

Little did Kejriwal realize his confrontational politics has alienated him and his party from the masses who are AAP’s backbone. Over the years, his trusted aides and party founders like Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav have deserted Kejriwal. So are many other intellectuals and supporters in India and abroad who had backed him morally and monetarily. Devoid of popular support at the grassroots level and backing in the elite circles, Kejriwal has been reduced to a one-man’s army in poll battles.

That is clear in the recent state elections in which AAP contested in Punjab where it was first projected to win a good number of seats, if not a majority, and Goa. To move out of Delhi to build political bases and challenge the well-entrenched parties could be an audacious move. But it signaled Kejriwal’s national ambitions to make the AAP a pan-India party. Here we can see a parallel between TDP supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu and Kejriwal and how regional leaders try to propel themselves into national level.

Had Kejriwal limited himself to governing Delhi on sound lines after being given a massive mandate in the 2015 Assembly elections, things would have been different. But after his disastrous 49-day rule in 2013 as the head of the minority government, Kejriwal has not learnt any lessons. Nor has he corrected his course in the last two years after faltering in his first term despite the fact that the voters had given the AAP a chance to improve its performance and deliver on its promises made to aam aadmi. Could the party rise like phoenix in the 2020 Delhi Assembly election is anybody’s guess.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal’s rise and fall has some lessons for state parties and leaders with national ambitions. That is, to become prime minister with the help of like-minded parties.

Kejriwal, like all other heads of regional parties, is the one and the only face of AAP. Minus AK, there will be no AAP. That is also the situation almost all regional parties face in India. Without the head, a party’s survival will be in jeopardy because local parties rarely set up the first and second rung of leaders. Instead, the leadership is thrust upon someone in the family and it is automatically assumed he or she will be the successor. Unfortunately, even the century-old national party Congress has molded itself in a similar crucible of dynasty politics.

Clearly, there is a leadership vacuum in AAP and left to himself, Kejriwal will continue to harp on issues that are irrelevant to the mass of people. In recent months, his unabashed tirade against the BJP in general and visceral hatred for Prime Minister Modi in particular has reached the nadir.

Now, when he bites the dust what will he say? Currently, his whipping boy is the Election Commission which is staunchly defending the use of Electronic Voting Machines as tamper proof against allegations of opposition parties, including AAP,that they had been tampered with in the recent Assembly polls.

We need not be surprised if Kejriwal starts blaming EVMs as soon as the counting of votes begins.

1 Response

  1. April 26, 2017

    […] New Delhi: BJP has triumphed in the municipal election winning two thirds majority retaining all the three corporations. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)  has suffered a humiliating defeat. The Congress has ended up in third position. While BJP president Amit Shah has profusely thanked the people of Delhi for reposing faith in his party, the leaders of AAP continued to blame the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Read More […]

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Kapil Mishra Keeps His Promise, Charges Kejriwal Of Corruption

Kapil Mishra, AAP leader who was sacked from the Cabinet on the other day, blamed CM Kejriwal of corruption. Mishra is considered close to Kumar Viswas who rebelled against Kejriwal recently.

New Delhi: As vowed on Saturday night, sacked minister of AAP government, Kapil Mishra came out with corruption allegations against none other than Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. He alleged that he has seen Health Minister Satyendra Jain handing Rs. 2 crores in hard cash to CM Kejriwal. Speaking to media on Sunday morning, Kapil asked, “where did the money come from? they must tell what was done with the money?” He earlier tweeted that he has “witnessed HM taking illegal cash.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and other leaders. Poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas also attended the meeting. However, it is reported that he left before the meeting came to an end. Incidentally, Kumar VIshwas’s rebellion was supported by Kapil Mishra, and his sacking is considered by some as a revenge against what he has done.

Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia who spoke to the media after the meeting with the emergency meeting with the CM said that the allegations are not even worth answering.

Earlier in the morning, Kapil Mishra met Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on his way to Rajghat, where he promised to reveal the facts. He also claimed that he did not receive any official confirmation about his removal. He said that even L-G did not receive any communication, and it’s only media that got the news.

After meeting L-G and before reaching Rajghat, he tweeted, “I have witnessed HIM taking illegal cash… have shared all details with Lt. Gov. It is impossible to keep silent. Loss of power is nothing, ready to lose my life also.”

Claiming that AAP is his party, he clarified that he will not quit AAP.

Mishra supported Kumar Vishwas last week during his rebellion against the party chief. There were speculations then that Kumar Vishwas wanted to be the Chief Minister and he has half the MLAs’ support.

Targeting CM directly, he tweeted in Hindi that there is a huge conspiracy ahead of my press conference.. won’t stop, won’t bend.  Kejriwal is dirctly calling up many AAP leaders and legislators.. he added.

BJP hit out at AAP saying that the party has lost the right to stay in power. While Deputy  CM Manish Sisodia on Saturday said that, “Despite Mishra’s efforts, water management was not up to the mark and there were complaints that water is not reaching people.”

The AAP government has set up an enquiry into the tanker scam last year and put the size of the scam at Rs. 400 crore and accused former CM Sheila Dikshit for creating artificial water scarcity to benefit the tanker mafia. And now AAP is blaming Kapil Mishra of inefficiency.

When Kapil was in the good books of Kejriwal, he was considered as the most vocal leader in the party. And he is also one of the leaders who contradicted the party’s stand on blaming Electronic Voting Machines for their defeat in DMC polls after Goa and Punjab defeats. Mishra claimed that party has to reconnect with people and find out the reasons for the defeat, at that time.

The Aam Admi Party is surely facing crisis internally, with leader after leader blaming him of mismanagement, bias and finally corruption. As Party chief and Delhi CM Kejriwal whiled away most of his time blaming Centre instead of concentrating on governance, people refused to vote for him. And the AAP exploded internally first with Kumar Vishwas bringing out the strife, now Kapil Sharma.

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Kejriwal Sacks Minister Close To Kumar Vishwas

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has sacked a minister reportedly close to the dissident leader Kumar Vishwas. Kejriwal has added two ministers.

New Delhi: After burying the hatchet with poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas by removing Amanatulla Khan, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a deft move sacked Water and Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra, who is considered close to Vishwas, on Saturday.

Kejriwal reshuffled his Cabinet citing party’s poor performance in municipal elections last month. After removing Mishra, he inducted Najafgarh MLA Kailash Gehlot and Seemapur legislator Rajendra Gautam into the Cabinet taking the total number of ministers to seven.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told a news agency that, as the water management was not up to the mark despite Kapil Mishra’s efforts, the CM decided to bring Kailash Gehlot in his place.

Soon after the decision was announced in a Cabinet meeting, Mishra declared that he would ‘expose’ the involvement of some AAP leaders in an alleged scam on Sunday.

He also said that he already had met the CM on Saturday morning and handed over documents related to the alleged scam.

Saying that he was not informed about the decision, he alleged that it was taken unilaterally by Kejriwal. The Cabinet or the Political Affairs Committee was not involved, claimed Mishra.

Immediately after the announcement of his removal was made, Mishra tweeted that he was the only minister with no corruption charges against him, and no CBI enquiry against him and none of his family members held a post in the government.

However, a senior government official said that the decision to remove Kapil Mishra was taken after it was found that the minister submitted inflated bills.

Meanwhile, speculations were that he was only axed as he sided with Vishwas. Earlier, he was considered one of the most active voices in the government.

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Kejriwal, Nirupam come under BJP fire

  • Ask to prove surgical strikes

New Delhi: With Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Maharashtra Congress Committee President Sanjay Nirupam asking to prove conclusively for Pakistanis that the surgical strikes across the LoC to destroy the launching pads of terrorists did really happen, the NDA government is confronted with an embarrassing situation. The ruling BJP had gone hammers and tongs at both the politicians for questioning the integrity of the army.  But they were not able to answer the two politicians properly. The question was,’ Why did the government have to take credit for what was essentially a covert operation by the Army?’ Had India gained anything from the publicity given to the incident which cannot be proved for tactical reasons?

The question posed by Kejriwal and Nirupam was the same the one Pakistan has been asking. The BJP spokespersons and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had dubbed the two politicians as supporters of Pakistan and, therefore, enemies of India. The Rightist NDA government has departed from the six decades old India’s Pakistan policy. There have been two open wars, one limited war, two covert, proxy wars (one by Pakistan in Kashmir, the other by India in Balochistan) and any number of covert operations. UPA government or other previous governments did not take any credit for the operations the army conducted secretly.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made India’s support to Balochistan public in his Independence Day message to the country from Red Fort. By doing so, he has let go a veil that was there on Indian operations in Balochistan so far. Pakistan can now turn around and ask India not to question its role in Kashmir since India is doing the same in Balochistan. Even the world would be unable to support India when it complaints of Pakistan’s support to militants and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir. Not many countries in the world knew about our hand in Balochistan. We have given away that advantage by openly supporting Balochistan. The other decision of the Modi government was to own up the covert operation and trying to project it some sort of Entebbe operation undertook by the Israelis exactly forty years ago to release the Jews hostages from Air France plane stranded at an airport in Uganda. The then dictator of Uganda, Idi Amin, had supported the Palestine guerrillas who hijacked the plane. But the Modi government cannot show the video of the event. Moreover, by publicly owning up the surgical strikes and allowing the BJP to celebrate its victory in the war of attrition against Pakistan, the Modi government had reversed one more aspect of India’s policy towards Pakistan for decades-restraint. India has been appreciated by world nations for its restraint in the face of provocations from Pakistan. But today we don’t have the sympathy of the world countries since we gave up restraint and started acting and talking about fitting reply to Pakistan. Whatever may be the reason for the government to abandon the restraint and grin and bear in the face of acute provocations, it was obviously done to satisfy the public opinion. The irate public was utterly angry with Modi for not walking the talk. The mystery of the surgical strikes would remain unresolved for some more time.  

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Politics around Delhi’s ill-health

New Delhi: Many say that the Delhi administration is a contradiction to our parliamentary democracy. It is true because the elected chief minister here is a subordinate to an un-elected lieutenant governor who act as a super-chief minister prescribing do’s and don’ts to people’s chief minister, that is the paradox. This is like ‘the tail wagging the dog’.  

When chief minister’s plight is such who cares dy. chief minister?

Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is in Finland on an ‘educational tour’. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is in a hospital in Bengaluru to undergo a surgery to get rid of his chronic cough. But here Delhi is reeling under the out -break of chikungunya, dengue and other diseases. These two diseases have already claimed 30 lives, and affected nearly 3,000 people.

One can excuse the Chief Minister, though partially, as he himself is in poor health that necessitated an operation.  Partially because, he would have taken advance measures to avoid or at least to minimize the outbreak. Then what about the Dy. CM? He is away from Delhi in a educational tour. Here ‘education versus health.’

Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung may be ‘kind enough’ to CM Kejriwal, but not to Dy. CM. He ordered him to return to Delhi immediately from his foreign tour to oversee the Delhi health. Politically one could say that the lieutenant governor has grabbed a first opportunity to embarrass the AAP government, but what he did is morally correct.

Not only the people of the national capital, but also the entire nation knows that the relations between the lieutenant governor and the chief minister are in a spoiled health. The Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung is not all happy with AAP ministers foreign ‘junkets’. According to a recent news report he ordered the Delhi administration to submit him all the details including the incurred expense of the ministers foreign tours. So one can’t avoid the temptation of tasting some ‘political pep’ in  the Lieutenant Governor’s latest dictum to Sisodia to return back  immediately from his Finland tour.

There is no surprise  if  Sisodia could  invest all his  might in defending  his ‘educational tour’  to Finland, a country which stood first in education system, in the best interests of Delhi’s educational ‘health’.  

Outwardly this is all look like a blend of morality and politicking.  In fact there is no such dvaita (morality and politicking). Politics is all about advaita. It subsumes every other thing.

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AAP suspends rebel MLA Devinder Sehrawat

NEW DELHI: Aam Admi Party suspended its rebel Bijwasan MLA Col Devinder Sehrawat from its primary membership on Monday. The AAP’s Disciplinary Committee’s Delhi unit took the action after receiving a series of complaints against him.

AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey said, “Devinder Sehrawat has been suspended by the disciplinary committee, pending enquiry”.

Earlier Sehrawat wrote to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal alleging that there are leaders in the party in Punjab that are exploiting women in return for tickets for various constituencies in Punjab. AAP Punjab leaders Durgesh Pathak and Sanjay Singh had filed a defamation suit against Sehrawat following the allegations.

Meanwhile, Sehrawat has dared the AAP leaders to expel him, saying, “If you have the courage, severe the ties and expel. With 67 MLAs you could not perform. You don’t have it in you – so get out of the Way.”

This fresh salvo from Sehrawat came as the party is currently grappling with misconduct and sleaze charges against its leaders. 

AAP sources said the former Army officer has a love and hate relationship with the party. The relationship only got bitter after he lost the 2014 Lok Sabha election after contesting from South Delhi. He was the only sitting MLA who was given a Lok Sabha ticket in Delhi.

Sehrawat is the fourth party legislator whose primary membership has been suspended. The list also includes Timarpur legislator Pankaj Pushkar and two other sacked ministers Sandeep Kumar and Asim Ahmed Khan.

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Parliamentary secretaries: HC set aside Delhi government’s order

New Delhi: The Delhi high court set aside the Delhi government’s order appointing 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries stating that it was made without the lieutenant governor (L-G)’s approval.

The AAP-led Delhi government has already conceded that the appointment became invalid in light of the court’s August 4 verdict that declared the L-G as the administrative head of the national capital region.

Chief justice G Rohini and justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal were hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Rashtriya Mukti Morcha, which challenged the appointments, claiming it was “unconstitutional, illegal and without jurisdiction”. The petition also stated the chief minister had “no power, jurisdiction or authority” to administer the oath of office to parliamentary secretaries.

The Delhi government had appointed the parliamentary secretaries in February 2015. However, a constitutional clause prohibits legislators or parliamentarians from holding any position with monetary or other benefits.

 Earlier, in view of this constitutional position, President Pranab Mukharjee refused to sign the bill that ratified the appointments

The Delhi government argued that the appointments will facilitate a smooth functioning. It also clarified that the secretaries would not receive any remuneration from the government.

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Sandeep arrested after a woman files rape case

NEW DELHI: Delhi ex-minister Sandeep Kumar was arrested on Saturday night, hours after a 40 year old woman filed a case stating that a year ago he drugged her and then raped, according to the reports. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police Vikramjit Singh said, “the complaint was filed at Sultanpuri police station and Sandeep has been booked for rape, amongst other charges.

The 40 year old woman said that she was approached by an NGO after the video was gone viral and became public and was advised by them to file a case.

Earlier, Delhi CM and the leader of the AAP, Arvind Kejriwal, had sacked  Sandeep Kumar from the cabinet on 31 August, who was Minister for Child Welfare and Social Justice, after receiving an “objectionable CD” featuring him. The CD contained a sex tape and similar images featuring him.

The Woman’s statement was recorded before a magistrate under 164 Section  of the CrPC. Sandeep Kumar will be produced in court today, according to the sources.

The complainant also demanded an inquiry into this matter to find out who was responsible for the release of the video and demanded severe action against them. 

“If woman’s allegations are correct, this is v serious. Strongest exemplary punishment should be given to Sandeep”, Arvind Kejriwal who is in Rome to attend Mother Teresa’s canonisation, tweeted. 

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Sex Tape: It is several years Old, say Sources

NEW DELHI:  Sandeep Kumar, ex-minister for Child Welfare and Social Justice in AAP who was sacked by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal over a sex scandal, said that he is being targeted because he is a Dalit.

He says, “I am being targeted because I am a Dalit. The man seen in the video and photographs with two other women is not me”. Former minister had indicated that he is considerably more heavyset than the man in the video and photographs. He has asked for an investigation on this matter.

On the other day in a video message to all the AAP workers, CM Arvind Kejriwal said “Sandeep Kumar betrayed the party, he betrayed the AAP movement and the trust of all the people who are supporting us. We will never ever compromise on our core values. We will prefer to die, close the party or perish than tolerating the wrongdoings.”

Opposition parties have called Mr Kejriwal’s action against Mr Kumar as “damage control”. Also BJP and Congress held protests against the ruling government in Delhi demanding Mr Kejriwal’s resignation.

Delhi’s deputy CM Manish Sisodia has dismissed the allegation made by the opposition’s which said Mr Kejriwal knew about the video 15 days prior to which it was leaked.

Sources close to the former minister said, that “he (Sandeep Kumar) was a student then, who was studying law and likely recorded the video and took the pictures by himself, Mr Kumar has not been accused of breaking any law. None of the women from the video, nor his wife have complained against him.”

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‘Don’t behave like Kejriwal’: BJP tells Mamata Banerjee

New Delhi/ KOLKATA: Advising West Bengal CM Mamata Benarjee to stop behaving like her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, who usually blames the central government for non-cooperation, the BJP said that she should rather focus on good governance.

Mamata Benarjee earlier had given 3 months time to the central government to waive off the huge debts which her government inherited from the previous Left Front regime and also threatened to launch a movement on the streets of New Delhi if “interference” in the federal structure is not stopped.

“Our advice to Mamata Banerjee is to stop behaving like Arvind Kejiriwal and get down to good governance s,” BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said.

Earlier, in a party meeting Mamata had attacked the Centre and taken a jibe at the Prime Minister as well for donning a monogrammed suit during his meeting with US President Barack Obama last year.

“Mamata Banerjee’s outburst at Modiji reflects her frustration as she cannot blame previous state government for her failures in her second term,” Singh said.

He also said that the good governance has never been Mamata’s asset. Therefore, from day one of her second term, she has been playing the victim card blaming the Centre for insufficient funds and non-cooperation.

Singh claimed that Modiji’s government is known for strengthening the federal structure and it is also important to note that under the 14th Finance Commission, the centre has allocated Rs 2.5 lakh crore more than what West Bengal has got under the 13th Finance Commission.

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AAP removes Sucha Singh Chhotepur as Punjab chief

Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party on Friday sacked its Punjab chief Sucha Singh Chhotepur from his post, who was heading the party in the poll bound state, following the allegations of taking bribe for assigning constituencies to party candidates for the assembly elections which are to be held early next year.

AAP had apparently received a complaint that Sucha Singh Chhotepur had sought Rs 60 lakh from a ticket aspirant and the deal was fixed at Rs 30 lakh.

21 AAP leaders from Punjab, including members of Parliament Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh, had written a letter to the party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking him to immediately sack Sucha Singh Chhotepur based on party’s principle of “zero tolerance towards corruption.”

The decision to remove Chhotepur as Punjab chief was taken by AAP’s highest decision making body, the Political Affairs Committee, presided over by Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP sources said the party leaders have sent a video clip of Mr Chhotepur taking money in a purported sting operation, along with their letter to Mr Kejriwal.

Punjab’s big parties such as the Congress and the Akali Dal have mocked their challenger AAP, which is attempting to make inroads in the state in this election.

Mr Chhotepur has been part of both the Akali Dal and the Congress, before he teamed up with Mr Kejriwal, who asked him to build the party in the state. He had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha election as an AAP candidate from Gurdaspur losing to the BJP’s Vinod Khanna.

Chhotepur had denied the allegations, saying he had merely accepted “party fund” from a volunteer. He had also claimed it a conspiracy against him. However, it is against to the party policy to accept donations in cash.On his next course of action, he said that it would be decided by the volunteers.

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