An Aam Aadmi Patry MLA (member of the legislative assembly, Delhi in this case) was detained today on charges of cheating and forgery. The AAP’s Kondli MLA Manoj Kumar was arrested on land-fraud charges on a day when its Punjab MP (member of the Parliament) openly criticised the senior party leader Sanjay Singh’s mobile phone message asking report cards from all four Punjab MPs.
AAP says Manoj Kumar is being harassed. His advocate and AAP leader HS Phoolka says his arrest is illegal. Sanjay Singh says Gujarat model is being used to harass AAP leaders in Delhi. Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan are trying to play ‘martyr’ card through their tweets.
And it is just the latest one in the line of fire – in the ongoing row that is besetting the newest political entrant in Indian politics.
Former Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar had to resign after police arrested him in fake degree case. The AAP chose to defend him even on the day he was arrested with party spokespersons waving documents submitted by Tomar as proof of his ‘truthfulness’. He is in jail now and police have reiterated the stand that his degree are fake, after taking him to the ‘educational institutions’ that he claimed he graduated from.
Another AAP MLA, Bhavna Gaur from Palam, is also under scanner for allegedly submitting false poll affidavit. The matter pertains to her educational qualification and a Delhi court has taken cognizance of the matter. The AAP’s Delhi Cantonment MLA Surender Singh is also facing similar allegations.
The Delhi BJP is also demanding immediate action against Akhileshpati Tripathi and Sanjeev Jha, two other AAP MLAs, for leading attack on Burari police station.
Then there are reports of alleged VIP culture. Taking forward the uncommon streak of the government that campaigned around the ‘commonness’ of the common man, the AAP government will bear expenditure of the offices of MLAs in all 70 constituencies including the manpower cost. Delhi Assembly is to bear the cost, so the ‘common man’ is to bear the cost.
‘Doing away with such existing demands’ would be the genuine common-man-type move. Or the AAP’s party funds, if available to the scale, could have been used.
The move immediately comes after the AAP MLAs demanded a salary hike and vehemently defended their demand (even if targeting others for similar moves). The AAP MLAs said they were not able to meet office expenses and asked for a rise.
There may be an element of truth in some cases but when we see the AAP’s history about such moves (and policies), the party loses any chance of getting the benefit of doubt.
The party made 21 of its 63 MLAs parliamentary secretaries, in the name of assisting ministers (minus seven – one chief-minister and six ministers). So many parliamentary secretaries in a government are ‘unprecedentedly’ unprecedented. When the controversial move reached to the court, the AAP government passed a resolution that declared these amenities to these so-called parliamentary secretaries (or MLAs) would be out of the purview of the ‘office of profit’ clause.
Then, there is the case of the Delhi Dialogue Commission. Manned by some AAP heavyweights, opponents allege that it is yet another front to squeeze public money in the name of ‘meeting party promises’. A report in the Asian Age says ‘salary, perks and allowances of some volunteers appointed in the DDC is said to be much higher than the MLAs’.
And the list doesn’t end here.
Such ‘uncommon-man-esque’ moves by a party claiming to be ‘of common men for common men’ give rise to the valid doubts that Arvind Kejriwal did all that, is doing all that, to appease his MLAs after throwing Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan out, to goad them away from the expelled duo who are also the founder-members of the party.
When the political opponents say that the AAP is doing everything but clean politics and honest governance, we have reasons to believe so.
Arvind Kejriwal and his government have been a big letdown in the first six months. This time, it didn’t touch sentimental issues like shunning VVIP culture in Delhi or following strict code of probity. It did offer water and electricity subsidies but the propaganda associated with it is overdone – was totally gaudy and in bad taste. Delhi is yet to see the pace of development that it had seen in the past few years.
A clean and honest government of common men for common men could have begun on a journey to initiate ‘uncommon’ moves for the betterment of Delhi but the AAP government failed Delhiites on that expectation. And the way ahead looks equally befuddled.
The AAP government, so far, has nothing much to talk about but it has given analysts more than enough food for thought to think about and write on its ‘fall from perceived grace’. And when we see it in the context of Arvind Kejriwal’s attempts to promote his ‘personality cult’ through different sorts of advertisements, funded by the public exchequer in Delhi, it all looks even more sinister.
Delhi needs a government that is on the job. Its common man, who has voted for Arvind Kejriwal and his party, needs his development that has to come with the overall development of Delhi. But Arvind Kejriwal is busy playing the games played by those he scoffed at. And he is outsmarting them. He is taking on Narendra Modi. He is in a bitter power struggle with Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung who is Central Government’s representative. He is talking of ‘referendum for full statehood to Delhi’ when there are more pressing issues of governance waiting for some attention by him. Six months into the government but there is no hurry about the Jan Lokpal Bill and no one in the AAP is talking appointing a Lokayukta in Delhi.
The irony is, the AAP is not ‘realizing it the way as the political folks don’t realize it’. It is thinking that it is above all political folks and can try anything after getting rarely high numbers in the Delhi assembly elections. The party thinks that the next Delhi polls are five years away and they are in a safe zone.
Well, founder-members have left it. It has internal bickering in many state units including in Punjab where elections are due in early 2017. And the party is in imminent threat of being converted into a one-man political outfit.
The Aam Aadmi ideal of the Aam Aadmi Party is dying and with it, the hopes of seeing ‘a politics of change’ has taken another beating.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/