December 28, 2013, he took oath. Today, it’s January 16, 2014. Mr. Kejriwal is now 19 days old in the office of the chief minister of Delhi.
The slate, though delicately balanced on spots of positives and negatives, has not much to claim. And that is worrying because the Aam Aadmi Party should not fail and Mr. Arvind Kejriwal should not go down the political, social and communication annals as a co-opted and compromised activist and political reformist.
Yes, it is ridiculous to write anything in just 19 days when the other political parties have taken decades but have failed to perform. But writing here is about the valid concern over the ‘possibility of the renewed hopes of the common man failing so soon’ because the politics promised by AAP is the need of the day and so there has to be an intense scrutiny on every step by the stakeholders involved; because AAP does raise expectations about a ‘politics of change’, something that has been a rare event in Indian politics.
And though AAP is running out of time with just two months in office before the Lok Sabha poll-schedule is declared enforcing the model code of conduct thus debarring any more steps to be taken, we, the voters, have already run out of time. So, this concern has valid grounds.
Yes, the slate that looks delicately balanced in favour of AAP has corrosive elements that can easily alter the way the public is going to perceive Mr. Kejriwal and the AAP government in Delhi.
Yes, an AAP government in Delhi headed by Arvind Kejriwal – it is just the beginning of the formative phase of AAP and if the perceptions go wrong now, if they get the negative hue in this phase, the formative phase can easily become the summative phase eating up the consolidation and expansion phases.
And the signals from these 19 days are worrying.
The AAP government rode to the Delhi Secretariat on big promises. And from the day-1, from December 28, it looked to be in motion to fulfill them.
But the way it has moved so far puts the very intent under scanner. The way it has moved so far indicates more of a rush to lure the voters somehow before the Lok Sabha elections.
The biggest one on power tariff saw a temporary measure with subsidy compensating for the reduced bill amount. Free water is even more costly beyond the insufficient cap of the free monthly usage. And both of these measures are not uniformly distributed. They target some sections of the population while ignore some others.
Mr. Kejriwal and his team have had a series of flip-flops on cracking down on the VIP culture that easily outdo the quantum gains, if any, of this promise in the initial 19 days.
Their symbolic efforts to use the Delhi Metro for the government inaugural ceremony or the high cost involved in organizing the ceremony at the Ramlila Ground or their repeated ‘yes and no’ on availing the ‘earmarked’ government accommodations and vehicles, or the miserably failed show of organising a Janta Darbar to hear public’s grievances at the Delhi Secretariat where Mr. Kejriwal was coordinating the show from the rooftop while public was buzzing around aimlessly and helplessly, or a ‘sincere’ effort of a young colleague of Mr. Kejriwal’s cabinet to glamorise a small incident as a security threat to her, or the episodes of the repeated theatrics of Vinod Kumar Binny and AAP, have raised question marks on AAP’s and Arvind Kejriwal’s intent.
Yes, it has been just 19 days. Mr. Kejriwal, you have time to write your rulebook on how you and AAP are going to be perceived in the coming days, in the days of electoral chaos of the Lok Sabha polls and the days beyond that.
We have got worrying signals in these 19 days, and more worrying is the prospect that these signals look to get gloomy even more. Mr. Kejriwal, you need to change that.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/