AAP’S CHEAP POLITICS IS EARNING IT A BAD NAME

This articles originally appeared on DailyO.

The Aam Aadmi Party is becoming a “shoot and scoot” party with notable “misses” to its credit.

The latest in this “shoot and scoot” tradition of the AAP’s politics is the volley of allegations being levelled against BJP MP Maheish Girri.

The AAP alleges that Girri, an MP from East Delhi, is behind the murder of MM Khan, an NDMC lawyer and estate officer who was shot dead on May 16.

The AAP alleges that Khan was killed because he was to pass a final order on the licence fee issue of the Connaught Hotel, taken on lease from the NDMC by Ramesh Kakkar of the Prominent Hotels Ltd, the prime accused in the case.

Kakkar was miffed with Khan’s inquiry and had written to Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung against him. The AAP also alleges the NDMC vice-chairman and BJP leader Karan Singh Tanwar of complicity in the case. Incidentally, Tanwar had also written to Jung against Khan.

But unlike most other “shoot and scoot” allegations of the AAP, this time it is about a murder case. A life has been lost and more lives will be at stake as the investigation progresses. So anybody making allegations should come with solid evidence.

Instead, the AAP is busy holding press conferences, issuing statements and bombarding social media platforms with its “arrest and probe Maheish Girri in MM Khan murder case” rant. This is when the Delhi Police has given clean chits to Girri and Tanwar in the case.

Since Sunday (June 19), Girri has been sitting on a fast outside the house of Arvind Kejriwal demanding proof for the Delhi chief minister’s allegations. Girri says if Kejriwal cannot present evidence corroborating his allegations, then he should should resign. He had earlier invited Kejriwal for an open debate on the issue but Kejriwal didn’t respond.

Instead, the AAP has decided to take on all who are questioning its wild allegations. Kejriwal, while charging the Modi government, reiterated his demand of Girri’s arrest in the case. Ashutosh, Dilip Pandey and other AAP spokespersons and leaders were seen escalating the war of words with the BJP after Kejriwal’s remarks.

We all know now that the party has always used “hit and run” as its strategy to score political mileage, without considering values of political probity (and propriety) and without thinking of consequences.

We can say that this strategy has in fact served the AAP’s style of politics, because so far the party has had a dream run in Indian politics. It won the Delhi Assembly polls with absolute domination, winning 67 out of the 70 seats – forming its second government in Delhi in two years. It is being seen as the main challenger in the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls next year. And all this in a span of a few years. The AAP came into existence in 2012 and made its electoral debut in the Delhi Assembly elections in 2013.

It seems the party hopes to corner everybody with allegations of corruption.

Like it has done in the case of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and many others.

Jaitley’s case pertains to the “massive” corruption allegations in the DDCA (Delhi and District Cricket Association). Jaitley was the DDCA president from 1999 to 2013 and AAP, Congress, former cricketer and BJP MP Kirti Azad, another former cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi, and many others had alleged that “DDCA had become a den of corruption while Jaitley was the topmost functionary of the body”.

Jaitley has denied any role and has filed a defamation suit in the matter and the case is in the court. And to complicate the matter further, the AAP didn’t seem to have done its groundwork. Instead, it had taken help of documents on the DDCA scam that were already in the public domain.

Then there are other instances of the AAP’s “hit and run” strategy.

For instance, its allegations of the media being biased against the AAP and being pro-Narendra Modi. Based on its convenience, the AAP has time and again alleged media outlets of targeting it by taking money from other political outfits – only to do blatant U-turns later.

The farmer suicide episode during the AAP’s “Jantar Mantar” rally was again a slap in the face of the party. The AAP blamed the Delhi Police for “not acting in time” to prevent suicide of the farmer, Gajendra Singh, but later on Kejriwal apologised for continuing with his speech even after the farmer had died.

The list is long – the AAP’s allegations on Robert Vadra, Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra’s irrigation scam, the allegations against corporate houses, on Modi’s government in Gujarat and so on. Kejriwal had to go to jail following a defamation case filed by Gadkari. Then there was another defamation case filed by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri. In an interview, Kejriwal had said Bidhuri was a criminal.

The party has earned the notoriety of oversimplifying matters for political mileage, levelling wild allegations, never bothering to go deeper to dig facts and never bothering to go in the courts to get them proved.

But what once happened to be a strategic asset for the party is now falling flat. It seems the party is trying to score goals in every possible political development – with empty rhetoric, forgotten promises, forgotten values, unilateralism, authoritarianism and routine political sham.

And it all has reduced the most promising political entrant in India’s recent political history into a party that is self-obsessed and is not realising that such spectacles by it are now seen as scoring self goals only.

©SantoshChaubey

A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY AGAIN TO PLAY THEIR VICTIM CARD!

That was again in the air. What looked on air – looked like a genuine case – a disgruntled person approached Arvind Kejriwal – during one of his trademark self-obsessed events – this time to say thanks to Delhiites for the ‘odd-even’ scheme – to express her displeasure.

Okay, we may disagree by the way the lady chose to express her displeasure – by throwing ink and some pieces of paper (and a CD) – but we will certainly disagree with what followed – with the lady – and in general – especially with histrionics of the Aam Aadmi Party leaders.

As soon as the news broke, it became ‘the’ most important news of the ‘nation’ – as expected – and as expected – the AAP machinery went into overdrive – to squeeze in the maximum political mileage – to play the victim card – to get in the war of words that is getting so ugly with each passing day.

As soon as the news flashed – as soon as its images started getting viral – the AAP propaganda – yes, now we should say them a well oiled propaganda machinery – took to social media and media in full overdrive (with as much throttle speed as possible) – inhabiting nooks and corners of media and social media spaces – with their victim card – with their ‘good samaritan’ card.

In their trademark way – that has started making us cringe now – something that AAP totally disregards.

So, as soon as the news broke, everyone in AAP started shooting (and shouting at the top of their voices) that it was a political conspiracy – and plans to kill Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders were in making.

The party took no time in coming directly to its point – in getting direct confrontation with BJP and with the Delhi Police. In fact, the party looked desperate to catch political prospects from this ‘windfall development’ as the Punjab assembly polls are around the corner where the party is betting big.

And it was ironical!

Making a fuss around this issue by a party that owes its origin to the ‘common man’ – sending a common woman to jail – is condemnable. A disgruntled auto-rickshaw driver had slapped Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal forgave him and reached out to meet him – though he made a big public spectacle of it. But then, Kejriwal is not chief minister then.

He is chief minister now – and with a solid mandate – 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly. And after taking Delhi’s CM office second time in February 2015, he has shed all his inhibitions – including his ‘common man’ branding. Now, AAP is like any other party.

And like any other leader of any other political party, the Delhi CM did not show largesse this time. No one in AAP is talking about her now. Kejriwal did not go to meet her today.

Instead, its ministers, leaders and spokespersons are busy since yesterday in milking this incident to settle score with the Delhi Police, to target BJP and to show how everyone else is behind life (and times) of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP.

It all looks so gaudy – so funny now. And it will certainly reflect in electoral politics. The party that borrows its name from the ‘common man’ could have logically chosen to downplay the incident – with a genuine clemency for the lady.

But we all knew what was coming.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE KEJRIWAL CULT

Now that the ‘benefit of doubt’ is gone, we can see clearly, rue clearly and write clearly.

During his first term, the 49 days of infamous-turned-famous rule, Arvind Kejriwal was all over Delhi. He was the chief minister then, with Congress’ support, and tried to live the big life in his own possible way.

No problem in that. He was allowed to do that as long as he enjoyed the elements of ‘benefit of doubt’, even if he meant to be imitating his predecessors.

Benefits of doubt – that he was an activist-turned politician who was trying to cleanse the system of its malaise and even if he imitated his predecessors, it was more like a human aberration.

He was termed dictatorial. He was termed a man who was turning the most successful political reform movement of the recent political history of India into a one-man show. He was described as a person who did what he wished. He was described as a person who could not bear a ‘no’.

But he had the benefit of doubt, which when met with non-performance of the BJP government during the Central Rule of Delhi through Lieutenant-Governor, created a mix that threw the BJP away giving Arvind Kejriwal an absolute rule.

And this time, he has no benefit of doubt – none of its elements.

And whatever that were there in the name of ‘benefit of doubt’, are now being seen as the elements of a hardcore politician, whose only goal was to become a politician similar to those who happened to be the main point behind his political plunge.

He had taken the political plunge to cleanse the politics of its malaise but the Indian politics of the day has taken him in its strides.

The whole Delhi, like the earlier time, has again been inundated with Kejriwal’s images, like his predecessors, and we can safely say that this is personal choice to do so – sans benefit of doubt.

He had deserted Delhi on February 14, 2014 and in a fiery display, again took the reins of the city-state exactly a year after, on February 14, 2015, and again completed 49 days – earlier this month.

But there were no initiatives like the last time. There was no rush to sound pro-people this time. Instead, the signals so far has told a routine political establishment with a chief minister and his aides who settle in new offices and new homes like a routine politician does.

With elements that clearly tell us that Kejriwal cannot take a ‘no’, is clearly dictatorial in his mindset, is turning his party into a one-man show (and a one-state, one-election phenomenon thus) and without elements that gave him the ‘benefit of doubt’ so far!

With inner party controversies to follow the Aam Aadmi Party post its massive electoral victory in Delhi that resulted in the ouster of the two senior-most founder members, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan (with low to no benefit of doubt when compared with Kejriwal of earlier tenure) and disillusionment of several other names of the civic society who had lend their voices to the movement when it turned political.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

A MOVEMENT. A GOVERNMENT. SIMILAR PREDICAMENT.

Major breakthrough within few months of launching organized initiatives.

Mobilizing masses to convert the initiatives into the experiments with mass appeal.

Achieving more than the success sought, becoming, thus the voices of millions.

Experimenting further while spearheading the course further, faltering, but taking up again, thus up on the way ahead.

Scoring even greater feat in the next phase with resounding success stories, rewriting the trends, overwriting the attempted writings, creating thus a history.

People seeing the history-making elements as opportunities to consolidate grip and further personal agenda.

Increasing trend to read the developments leading to the brilliant success stories with slanted opinions.

Rapid decline from slanted opinions to public display of vested interests.

Emergence and further deepening of the fault-lines.

Those are the premises that make for the stories of the 2011 anti-corruption movement and the political party that emerged from it, or the political party that was squeezed out of it, at the cost of the movement.

The Anna Hazare led movement and the Aam Aadmi Party experiment had a similar trajectory with similar elements in their respective life-cycles.

The high moral ground, the sole reason that mobilized the masses to stay with them to raise voice against corruption, gave way gradually to empty rhetoric.

The vested interests pushed their natural counterparts thus and the factional feuds of personal fiefdoms began.

The movement died afterward.

The ethics that were put in front to push the political experiment out of the movement have also died.

And with it, the political experiment is also dying.

The big question is – how long will it take before it concludes finally.

Will the similar predicaments lead to the similar fate finally?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

FIRST PHASE OF POLITICAL TRANSITION IS COMPLETE – AND ON A LIGHTNING FAST SCALE!

The mood was of celebration. The air was split with aroma. The body language was swaying with a subtle joy of achievement.

First phase of the transition was complete.

And it was achieved on a lightning fast scale.

Something unprecedented, totally unmatched, a never heard of feat, never before seen in the history of contemporary Indian politics!

It took decades for the two main national political parties of India to achieve that scale.

The Congress politically led the country in the freedom struggle for some six decades before it got the governing benches. The Bhartiya Janata Party had decades of wok by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bhartiya Jana Sangh and over a decade of its own before it could realize the power flowing in the legislative corridors.

Similar is the case of other political parties and politicians, be it Mayawati and Bahujan Samaj Party or Mulayam Singh Yadav and Samajwadi Party or Nitish Kumar-Sharad Yadav and Janata Dal (United) or Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal or many other offshoots of Janata Dal and their leaders or personality driven parties of South India.

Though some of them had relatively swift ascendance to the eminence of power corridors and the realization of the life thus the way the folklore goes, none of them could match the level of efficacy and energy shown by the newest one of their league.

And he has done it in just two years – two years eight months to be exact – since he first spoke going ‘political’ in August 2012 – and two years four months – since he formally inaugurated politically!

Obviously, there would be some hurt-burn and it is very well there. After all, they are like human beings, even if they have a separate, higher class.

The primeval feelings do exist and act like the sub-conscious flings.

But, overall, the peers are looking up at them. In fact, they have held sessions in their respective quarters to analyse the ways and means of their latest colleague.

And now, as the first phase of the transition is over, the next phase is beginning – to build on the weekend drama that the nation saw with bated breath.

After all, when the premise that is going to lead to the dramatics of the next stage unveiling on coming day has been so interesting that even the housewives stuck to the television sets ignoring the regular sob-and-blob family dramas, the theatrics when it emerges on the full canvas of its next act, will be a ‘mush watch’ series.

And like us, they would also be watching – with increasing level of comfort drawn from an increasingly familiar set of observations.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MODI TAKES ON AAP, AAP TAKES ON MODI AND QUESTIONING BEGINS

THE QUESTIONS

1. Narendra Modi formally launched BJP’s poll campaign for the Delhi assembly polls from the Ramlila Ground today. Modi is expected to be the main card of BJP with an intensive campaigning revolving around him. Is BJP forced to ride on the Modi Wave once again as the party has no face even remotely near to Arvind Kejriwal’s popularity as Delhiites’ chief-ministerial choice as every pre-poll survey so far has projected?

2. Modi pushed big for the ‘electricity sop’ promising 24-hour supply and freedom to choose from among the discoms based on their rate cards. Will it be an effective counter to Aam Aadmi Party’s promise of slashing the electricity tariff by half given the fact that AAP did reduce the electricity tariff during its 49-day government as promised in the poll campaign?

3. Will the ‘deserter tag’ be enough for BJP to counter AAP and win the elections with clear majority?

4. Alternatively, will Kejriwal’s popularity as the most preferred chief-ministerial choice be enough to check the hostile sentiments on Kejriwal and AAP deserting Delhi just after 49 days and pushing Delhi to remain without a government for almost a year and mobilize the voters to give AAP full majority?

5. Or AAP would be able to deflect some of the blame to BJP for leaving Delhi without a government for almost a year as we continuously came across developments where AAP demanded fresh polls but BJP sounded non-committal?

6. Given the tone of Modi and thus the BJP rally, taking on AAP directly using terms like ‘masters of lies’ and AAP’s counter presser in the evening hitting back using equally acerbic terms like ‘master of empty speeches’ – was the tone of an all out ‘Modi Vs Kejriwal’ and thus ‘BJP Vs AAP’ verbal war set today?

7. Though Arvind Kejriwal said today that he would refrain from responding to personal attacks, but can he be trusted for it given his high intensity activist mode of campaigning? He has gone as far as to camping in Gujarat, where he has no base, to dig dirt and target Modi.

8. Over half an hour speech of Narendra Modi was largely focused on AAP. AAP’s presser was to counter Modi’s speech during the rally at the Ramilia Ground. Though Modi took on Congress, it was basically an AAP driven rally. Is the triangular contest of 2013 assembly polls is reduced effectively to a BJP Vs AAP contest in 2015?

9. Sheila Dikshit on Thursday said Congress could again support AAP in forming the government. Doesn’t it convey the Congress leadership has already accepted that it is fighting a lost battle?

10. Both, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, are perceived as incorruptible at personal level. How would it affect the mood of the campaigning?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE QUESTIONS ARVIND KEJRIWAL SHOULD THINK OVER! (1)

THE QUESTIONS

1. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, why do you think you can still score in Delhi assembly elections? Do you also feel the way a senior Congress politician had famously remarked that ‘public has a very short memory and it soon forgets on allegations in coal scam’?

2. But, why should Delhi trust you after placing its trust in you that you didn’t reciprocate?

3. Don’t your acts say you are power-hungry? You didn’t have majority. Yours were not even the largest party. Yet, you chose to go with a party the policies of which you always berated to form the government when the largest party, BJP, chose to stay away. And when you saw the chance, or were made to believe that you could play a bigger role in the national politics, you simply dumped the confidence of the Delhi voters in search of greener pastures.

4. Now, one of the arguments you give that Aam Aadmi Party’s vote share increased in the Lok Sabha election in Delhi. But seen in comparison with BJP, AAP’s increase stands nowhere. BJP was leading in 60 of the 70 assembly segments in the Lok Sabha election and it registered growth of over 13% in vote share while AAP’s increase was around 4%. Isn’t there simply a BJP or Modi wave in Delhi?

5. Also, the different pre-poll projections say if the elections are held today, BJP will win a clear mandate. You have rebuffed surveys in past saying they are manipulative studies. But seeing BJP’s performance, that was again proved in Maharashtra and Haryana assembly polls, don’t you feel you are waging a lost battle?

6. Haryana, where BJP was nowhere in the scene, shot to power in one go, and with thumping majority. Yes, BJP had been a player in the state for decades but was always treated as junior partner by its allies. While they fought this election alone after the confidence they gained with the Lok Sabha election results, AAP withdrew from Haryana, not contesting even, when Haryana was being seen as the next logical political extension of AAP beyond Delhi. Don’t you think BJP has already won the psychological battle?

7. Is Arvind Kejriwal an answer to the Modi Wave? Can the Kejriwal factor balance the psychological edge the BJP has?

8. Congress is being seen as a non-player as far as the next Delhi assembly polls are concerned, unlike the last year polls where it was being seen as making the fight triangular. How do you see it in the context of the upcoming assembly polls?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ARVIND KEJRIWAL: LOVE FOR THE CULT

AK Collage

Within few days of Arvind Kejriwal becoming the chief minister of Delhi, huge posters of the ‘politician and the chief minister with a difference’ cropped up in the national capital.

The typical feature of these posters was the presence of a messianic sort of Arvind Kejriwal (but in common man outfits) photograph covering half of the space with the other half having text trying to establish Kejriwal as the only deliverer – from bad – and almost everything in the existing system was bad – and the only answer was Arvind Kejriwal.

That was a clear cut attempt to induce a political cult around Arvind Kejriwal. It may be an entirely different matter that who all were behind such exercises (the exercises still seeing efforts) but it was clear that it had acceptance (and thrust) of Mr. Arvind Kejriwal.

And that love for ‘the cult of Arvind Kejriwal’ is undoing the most recent (and successfully launched) political experiment of India, the Aam Aadmi Party, and the politics of Arvind Kejriwal as well.

This ‘cultist’ mentality was opposite to what all AAP and Arvind Kejriwal had promised to be.

AAP was born out of an anti-corruption movement by the civil society, and though had opportunist elements since the beginning, had sincere and independent members as well.

And the fad for the ‘Kejriwal cult’ pushed each of them out of the party. The genuine members with an intent to do something left on their own.

The names that had got into the company for selfish political reasons but could not stand the Kejriwal style were forced out.

The outburst by Shanti Bhushan, the senior most and the founder member of AAP, against Arvind Kejriwal could have been in making for days. Yes, Bhushans are not to be kept in the league of Captain Gopinath or other pre-AAP members who left the anti-corruption movement due to Arvind Kejriwal, but being from the central group that formed strategized the movement and that formed the party, they carry weight.

And the outburst by Shanti Bhushan only reinforces that efforts are still on to make AAP synonymous with Arvind Kejriwal and AAP’s politics with Arvind Kejriwal style of politics where the line begins and ends with Arvind Kejriwal.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ARVIND KEJRIWAL VS BARACK OBAMA??

Did you say a wild comparison?

After all, one is a 49-day chief minister of Delhi, India’s National Capital Territory, who had to apologize for his ‘act of absconding’. Though he doesn’t accept it morally, the electoral and political compulsions after his ‘political martyrdom’ efforts tanked down in the Lok Sabha polls forced him to own the disaster his decision to vacate the Delhi CM’s office in order to look for greener pastures had become. He was forced to accept the ‘deserter’ tag in his own toned-down version.

And the other is the successful (though debatable on who sees what) President of the United States of America, the world’s only superpower (still). The world’s most powerful political person is in the second term of his Presidential office.

Professionally, Arvind Kejriwal began as engineer and graduated to become a finance professional working for the Government of India. Barack Obama is a Harvard educated lawyer.

So, where is the ground for comparison?

It is there, thanks to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and thanks to the Delhi electorate!

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AAP: UNEXPECTED HIGH TO UNEXPECTED LOW

First, it was an unexpected high. Then it was an unexpected low.

The unexpected high was for everyone, including the direct beneficiary. In fact, it came as a pleasant surprise for those who wished to see it happen but had not expected it to happen this way given the circumstances then.

The unexpected low was expected by everyone, (but) except the direct beneficiary, who could not read it or did not want to read it then and had a self-made spectacular fall – from grace, from the position of standing – that came to him because of the growing public frustration and disenchantment with the mainstream political lot.

That is the story of the newest political debutant on the mainstream political scene of India – the Aam Aadmi Party – and of Arvind Kejriwal – and of those who began their political journey with it – and of those who joined it later on, especially after the unexpected high of December 2013 – and those who left it or felt disenchanted enough to walk out of the half-baked activism and politics concoction – after the ‘expected’ unexpected low of May 2014.

Six months – from December 2013 to May (16) 2014 – sum up the what AAP has been so far and what it needs to do – to resurrect – or to decline even further to go to the final political oblivion.

As of now, it has absolute negatives in its score card –

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