IRONY IS THAT WE ARE FORCED TO ‘NOT BELIEVE’ ARVIND KEJRIWAL NOW..

Like always, in recent times, Arvind Kejriwal did something even this time that again brought satirical flavour to words that didn’t want to flow for him – like it has been happening for quite some time.

It is a sad old story now that Arvind Kejriwal, his political foray, his political party (AAP-Aam Aadmi Party) and his AAP government in Delhi, have been an absolute letdown from the ‘aspirational high’ of the ‘prospect of moral high they claimed to practice’.

He, his ministers, his MLAs and his ‘non-legislative’ party members have no qualms in presenting themselves as super VVIPs now – something that has been a political benchmark in India. They have even surpassed their political brethren in decorating themselves with ‘government positions (or positions on offer from the government)’ thus feeding on taxpayers’ money – freely and unaccountably.

Delhi is a small state, a half-state, a city state, but its largesse is ‘larger than life’ for this government of ‘common people’ that had claimed to be the ‘one-stop’ solution for ‘all woes of the common man’.

Instead, it is turning fast into a nightmare.

The AAP government in Delhi and the overall political culture besetting the party is like another ‘one-stop’ shop that plays with the electorate’s emotions/impulses to get its way in and which then forgets what it owes to the electorate for the rest of the tenure.

And why it hurts more in case of AAP?

Because we have more than enough bad reasons/negative developments to talk about it in its brief political history than any other political party of the day, especially when the party was trusted and entrusted by the electorate to fight the ‘prevailing political culture with multiple malaise’ – a political culture that is now AAP’s very own.

And continuing the ‘seemingly episodic endlessness’ here, he is again sharpening on his ‘pet demand’ of giving Delhi Police under him – amply magnified by the spate of unending law and order issues in the national capital – giving him thus the opportunity to hone his skills in his favourite pastime acts, i.e., targeting Narendra Modi, Union Government, Delhi’s L-G Najeeb Jung and Delhi Police – and not running and governing Delhi – that we all had so high hopes about. They will not take it, the deepening negative public opinion, but the acts like ‘over Rs. 500 crore publicity’ budget or dictatorial expulsion of many leaders from the party or the party’s frivolous stand on the Delhi’s Lokayukta would come back to haunt the party when it goes out to ask for votes again.

Two minor girls have been raped in Delhi and it is really, really worrying for all of us. Crimes against women and rape incidents across India are a blot on our national conscience and we need to desperately check the crisis, something where we have failed miserably so far.

But the irony is that we are forced to ‘not believe’ Arvind Kejriwal when he tweets asking the prime minister to ‘stop being stubborn and work with him’ and demanding again that ‘Delhi Police and Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau’ be given under him.

Yes, the burden of incessant rape cases is unbearable but when Arvind Kejriwal politicises each and every development to further his own agenda, reacting contrary to the way he used to react, blaming Sheila Dikshit’s government for deteriorating law and order situation in Delhi, we cannot help the satirical ‘expression’ that naturally comes to our faces.

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

VIP ANTI-VIPS

“Officials should show courtesy and consideration to MPs and MLAs. officials should rise to receive the public representatives and see them off too. Arrangements should be made in advance to receive them in office if a visit is already scheduled.”

“While responding to MPs and MLAs, the official would see that the communication is legit. Pre-printed or cyclo-styled replies should be avoided.”

Indian Express, September 1, 2015 (from the Delhi government circular with guidelines ‘on practices to be followed while dealing with MPs and MLAs’).

The circular has been issued by the government headed by a party that, ironically, was formed to struggle against anything that was ‘VIP’ in nature. To complete the ‘symbolism’ behind the intent, the party was named the ‘Aam Aadmi Party (the common men party). Sky high promises, raising sky high hopes, were made when some of the activists from the hugely successful (but ultimately botched up) anti-corruption movement had announced their political foray in the later half of 2012.

Arvind Kejriwal and his party practiced this, at least in public, before coming to the power once again in Delhi.

“In developed countries, even PMs wait at bus stands. Why can’t the same happen here. We want to end the VIP culture in this country.”

Arvind Kejriwal, BBC, February 14, 2015 – after taking oath as Delhi’s chief minister again.

From eschewing guards, placing his safety in the hands of “God”, to dressing in polyester shirts, Kejriwal has rejected these symbols of privilege enjoyed by a tiny minority of judges, civil servants and politicians in this city of 16 million people.

“When God decides otherwise, nobody can save you, whatever the number of bodyguards,” he told local media.

“I’ve been driving for the past few days. I stop at all red lights. I don’t think my time is wasted,” Kejriwal told lawmakers.

India Today – January 8, 2014 – during Arvind Kejriwal’s first term as the chief minister of Delhi.

Now, down the line three years, the promises sound sham and the lid is blown off with acts like this ‘circular’.

Arvind Kejriwal and his party have been openly VIP this time, after storing to the power corridors of Delhi with absolute majority winning 67 of 70 assembly seats.

Now no one, including Arvind Kejriwal, talks about ‘worthlessness of huge government bungalows for legislators’ or ‘big sized cars as their vehicles’ or ‘designated ministerial convoys’ or ‘unnecessary appointments of party members on public money’ or ‘massive advertising blitzkrieg on exchequer’s money’ and so on.

There have been many instances during this run of the AAP government in Delhi that prove what the AAP talked in the name of ‘anti-VIP measures’ was merely an election rhetoric – and once the purpose was solved with winning the Delhi assembly polls this year – after failures in running Delhi first time and in Lok Sabha elections last year – the party decided to shed the tag completely.

After all, the AAP is just yet another political party now – and as any ‘yet another political party’ is deeply rooted in practicing and promoting the ‘VIP culture’ – so is the AAP – like any other political party – like other political parties – that use the ‘symbolism’ of ‘anti-VIP culture’ to promote ‘VIP culture’ for their leaders – VIPs using anti-VIP persona to remain VIPs.

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

WELL, NOTHING LIKE REALITY CHECK HERE..

Well, I am again taking liberty from my self-made principles when it comes to writing – by using a tweet – from sources that usually don’t make for informed news elements. Social media feeds make for some great news stuff – but then one needs to be cautious about what to use, when to use and where to use.

This tweet from the media advisor of the Aam Aadmi Party’s numero-uno and Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tells how far the party of ‘freelance activists and full time politicians’ has moved from its stated ideals (and principles) when it had announced (or we can say now, going by the precedent based on the political trajectory of the AAP so far, it had boasted to mislead people) to enter politics – to clean it up – to make it truly common man centric – to run it as peoples’ mission.

We all know that is passé now, buried into the latest episode of the political history of India – a history where friends and foes are picked up or rejected based on their political tenability. There are numerous developments to talk about this sad demise of peoples’ hope to experiment with their political hopes. And this ‘expressivity’ by the media advisor of Arvind Kejriwal was just in line. Yesterday, he tweeted an article written on Scroll.com, a good website with basically good write-ups.

Nagendar Sharma ‏@sharmanagendar Aug 27
Reality check: Why it is too convenient to label Lalu Prasad’s reign as ‘jungle raj’ http://scroll.in/article/750963/reality-check-why-it-is-too-convenient-to-label-lalu-prasads-reign-as-jungle-raj … via @scroll_in

It was on a day when his boss was in Bihar, sharing various stages with Nitish Kumar. Nitish Kumar is Bihar’s chief minister and is taking on the BJP led National Democratic Alliance in the upcoming Bihar assembly polls slated to be held during October-November.

The BJP was the long-time partner of Nitish’s Janata Dal (United) until Nitish’s prime-ministerial ambitions led his take a different path, breaking the alliance.

Political analysts say Nitish has chance to win over Bihar again, irrespective of his party’s humiliating performance during the Lok Sabha polls last year as he is credited to lead Bihar to a path that started a process to undo the ‘bad elements’ percolated everywhere during 15 years of Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi rule – but what is going against him – is – his alliance with that Lalu Yadav and his Rashtriya Janata Dal – and it could be acidic enough to corrode his winning chances.

And Arvind Kejriwal is extending his ‘moral’ and political support to this alliance. So, obviously, a propagandist party like the AAP would exploit all tools available to justify its acts – like it has done so far – without caring for public sentiments during this round of governance – trying to make Kejriwal larger than life in Delhi’s political circles with ‘grandiose and boastful ’ advertising campaigns.

The article is good in presenting premises but ends up making a premise – a central one – that the written political history of India has been unjust with and biased towards Lalu Prasad – a premise that can be said unilateral and biased. Bihar was ruined during Lalu days of governance – and the malaise was widespread, irrespective of class and caste – and Lalu’s humiliating political catharsis in Bihar’s electoral politics is a living example.

The AAP’s mouth organs speak in unilateral voice and see in a straight direction – as every political party does. This tweet and every other communication element is just doing the same – like this media advisor had adopted a practiced (and expected) silence on a question related to Swati Maliwal’s appointment as the chief of Delhi Commission of Women.

Now, as the goings say, this seems to the AAP’s real political character – like any other political party of India.

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

PEOPLE ARE WATCHING CLOSELY MR. KERJRIWAL!

Well, there are many issues, many routine events and many developments – within a span of just six months – to write against the Aam Aadmi Pary and Arvind Kejriwal – that it, more than anything else, tells how fast has been the erosion of any value system – if the AAP had one.

It has been a rapid downward journey for the AAP since the historic high of February 2015 when it won a historical mandate cornering 67 of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly polls, improving miraculously on another miracle that it had thrown by emerging as the second largest party in 2013 assembly polls – just a year after its political foray.

Due to the turn of events, the AAP ended forming the government in Delhi. Then, the electorate had seen Congress’s support as the basic minimum to form the government and the AAP had tried to show that in spite of Congress’s support, the party was independently following its policies. The party had some tough questions to follow when it resigned in the name of ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ because many saw it as an effort to try luck for greener pastures, i.e., prime-ministerial chair and the Lok Sabha elections.

Anyway, the party survived that. It miraculous electoral feat in February 2015 showed that. It also pushed the AAP to claim the legacy of the ’49 days’ that it was in the Delhi government during its first tenure.

But the aspirations, the hopes started taking a hit here – aspirations and hopes that gave the party such a rare, resounding mandate.

Arvind Kejriwal first got Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan kicked out of the party they had co-founded. Then he executed moves that told us that the AAP was fast becoming a party synonymous with Arvind Kejriwal and it had no political future without him.

And the process looks complete now.

No one in the AAP talks about the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ now.

Instead, Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers prefer to follow a politics of confrontation with the Narendra Modi led Union Government that has a direct political interest in Delhi and will try to exercise its power in whatever way possible through its representative, the Lieutenant-Governor.

Delhi is the national capital of India and therefore the Union Government needs to have deep stakes here. That makes Delhi a half-state for its elected government and like every government in Delhi, Kejriwal had to find a way out of it.

Instead, he chose to take on the Union Government asking for full statehood.

On August 14, his government will complete six months in office but he has nothing but empty rhetoric, spate of controversies and wasteful expenditure of public money in promoting a ‘Kejriwal cult’.

And what’s more, a fatigue is creeping in, to write even a critical piece on the AAP. The party that made ‘common man’ a leitmotif of its political rise needs to think how would it answer people who are increasing viewing it as just yet another political party with nothing new to offer. The AAP had promised change but the voter is finding the hard truth that the party has changed, and for worse. The AAP may or may not realize it but ‘uncommonness’ has become the new leitmotif of the party.

Voters are scrutinizing these developments. People are watching closely Mr. Kerjriwal!

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

AAP SHOULD NOT HAVE APPOINTED SWATI MALIWAL

In ‘an acceptance of defeat sort of way’ that was heavy on political overtures (intended to play ‘victim card’), Arvind Kejriwal, the chief-minister of Delhi, requested today that the Lieutenant-Governor should not shut the Delhi Commission of Women office – as he, ‘the elected chief minister of Delhi’ was accepting defeat.

He requested that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should allow the Delhi government to function and should stop trying to rule Delhi through the L-G. His party even put advertisements for it in different parts of Delhi – from its Rs. 526 crore ‘kitty’ of advertising blitzkrieg.

What is happening in Delhi is the same old story, story that has become routine in Delhi’s political and social circles, a story that began on February 14, 2015 – a story of consistent downfall from the high pedestal of ‘claims to change the face of politics’.

And the latest development in the ongoing ‘Kejriwal Vs L-G or Kejriwal Vs Delhi Police or Kejriwal Vs Bassi or Union Government Vs Delhi Government’ series is no exception.

Every such development, every such move by the Aam Aadmi Party puts it in even more negative light because it the party had claimed to cleanse the politics of its malaise, had blamed others to be deep into corruption and impropriety. When Arvind Kejriwal and some other leaders of the hugely successful 2011 anti-corruption movement were announcing their political outfit, they had promised to remain common men. When they were canvassing for votes, their messages were packaged around needs of the common man.

Ideally, for a party following the line of probity in its every deed, any act that smokes even a little of impropriety should be an avoidable act. In fact, such acts must be avoided at any cost.

And so, the Aam Aadmi Party should not have appointed Swati Maliwal as the DCW chief in the first place – leave alone the ongoing battle with the L-G over the issue.

Complaints of senior AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Somnath Bharti are already with the DCW and they have been issued summons. The organization that was being run like a ‘kitty party’ as Swati Maliwal alleges, had termed ‘Kumar Vishwas and Somnath Bharti anti-social elements’.

And Swati Maliwal is related to that Aam Aadmi Party. She is wife of the AAP leader Naveen Jaihind. She has advised Arvind Kejriwal on different issues and has been associated with him for almost a decade now.

Ideally, on that ground, that makes a perfect case of conflict of interest, the AAP should not have even proposed her name.

But such a move could have been expected only from a party that followed principles of probity in every act – and the AAP of the day is not that party. The AAP leaders speak of principles but desist in following them in their acts.

It is a sad episode, again, of Indian politics – for Indian democracy – for its spirit to experiment with political options.

Arvind Kejriwal’s media advisor Nagendar Sharma today tweeted on Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi’s interview – “Was there a conflict of interest in @aajtak interview of Delhi Police Commissioner? Just asking!”.

I usually don’t write back on tweets but I wrote on it – “Wasn’t there conflict of interest in Swati Maliwal’s appointment? Complaints on Kumar Viswas and Somnath Bharti?”

As expected, Mr. Sharma didn’t answer.

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

ANOTHER SHAMBOLIC ACT BY AAP

It is not about that petrol and diesel are still cheaper in Delhi than neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

It is about betraying people once again and that too when the Aam Aadmi Party government is just five months old in the office – the five months that it completed only yesterday.

And the move by the AAP government has come just two weeks after denying to plan anything on this line.

After the uproar two weeks ago about the proposal to increase VAT, Raghav Chadda, the party’s spokesperson, had rushed to clarify: “We have reduced the penalty. We didn’t say that we are increasing the VAT. We have just tabled the amendment for the flexibility of VAT department.”

Let’s see what he had to say today. Today, he tried to shield behind verbal jugglery inundating his response with technical (financial) terms saying – “FMs of all North Indian States decided that fuel prices should be at uniform rates to avoid geographical tax arbitrage and trade malpractices.”

Well, public doesn’t understand such jargons and people who have voted for the AAP (or for that matter any other political party or government) react negatively to such developments.

And it will reflect in elections. The AAP, due to its ignorance, may not gauge it in Punjab polls, but the outcome will certainly be humiliating in Delhi if this streak continues. Five years on electoral scale are not too long.

And such a ‘hostile to public sentiments’ move came on a day when the BJP led Union Government reduced prices of petrol and diesel by Rs. 2 throughout the country. That made the AAP’s shabby response sound even more hypocritical.

Totally indefensible and Manish Sisodia’s response only added to it – (tax rates on Petrol-Diesel are being rationalised in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, HP, Chandigarh & UP under unified tax policy. 1st time in North India.)

It may be first time in India – this rationalization as said by Manish Sisodia, Arvind Kejriwal’s right hand and Delhi’s deputy chief-minister, may be debatable – but the AAP’s fall from grace after February 14, 2015, when it took oath for the second time, has been, unfortunately, an uninterrupted show.

And the continuing advertising blitzkrieg, on public’s money, is only adding to it. The message such acts by the AAP government send that the government has not been able to raise money and is insensitively indulging in acts to finance its populist measures and its wasteful expenditures.

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

AAM AADMI IDEAL OF AAM AADMI PARTY IS DYING..

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/