By Semu Bhatt
On April 2, Kejriwal stunned people at his road show in Delhi by saying he will join the BJP if Narendra Modi assures to stop the gas price hike. In couple of hours, came the infamous Kejriwal U-turn, emphasising that even if he dies, he will never join the BJP or the Congress.
From swearing on his children over not taking the support of corrupt parties in Delhi, to not contesting the Lok Sabha elections – Kejriwal has changed his mind so many times that in social media, he is referred to as “paltiwal.” Kejrwial’s biggest U-turn has come in his political target — from Congress and corruption, he has trained his guns on Modi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The ludicrousness of a 49-days chief minister, who was panned for his lack of administrative skills and gimmicks, questioning one of the longest serving CM of the country, who has received 100-plus awards for development and good governance from various national and international agencies, is lost on Kejriwal.
Apart from such convenient turnarounds, KejriSpeak include contradictory behaviour, deception, distorting facts and passing off wrong as right and vice versa. George Orwell would be pleased.
Reality Distortion Field
This Steve Jobs-specific term, if applied in a general context, suits Kejriwal just fine.
Kejriwal uses a mix of charisma, persuasion skills, exaggeration, manipulation and falsification, to distort people’s sense of reality and make them believe in whatever he says. His politics is that of sensationalism, sanctimony and confrontation. From his skilfully created pedestal, he lies with impunity, while maintaining his claim on absolute honesty. Anybody who dares to call his bluff, is immediately labelled as an agent of corrupt forces.
Kejriwal feels no compulsion to practice what he preaches. He took the support of the mega-scams ridden Congress to become the Delhi CM. Once in power, he asked the BJP to give him proof against Sheila Dixit to take any action, forgetting that he used to show a 370-pages document on Dixit’s corruption. His anger against the VIP culture did not stop him from moving around with a large police entourage or having special trains to accommodate his showmanship. It did not stop him from refusing to vacate the official residence after resigning as the CM. The “chhota aadmi” has to shell out Rs 85,000 per month as rent for that house. He threatened to disrupt the Republic Day parade, then went on to watch it from the VVIP enclosure.
For someone who questioned politicians over their helicopter rides, Kejriwal dropped his principles at the first opportunity to hop into a private jet. He stood while his party men beat up an Anna Hazare supporter in Haryana on March 28, only to later sermonise on nonviolence; just as he had let his supporters attack the BJP headquarters on March 5 and then had called for peace.
The former Delhi CM wanted to lock up the paid media, but had his own media fixing with a Hindi news channel anchor. Kejriwal conveniently ignored that the “paid” media gave a lot more coverage to an ink attack on him than it gave to the assassination attempt on Modi. He calls Modi an Ambani and Adani agent, however, never speaks about the corporate houses and business leaders who support the AAP. He calls for transparency, but his party’s funding process is anything but transparent.
His obsession with self-righteousness did not come in the way of giving internal clean chits to erring party members. As CM, he sat on a dharna to oust a police officer who defied his minister’s illegal orders, but did not institute an inquiry into the death of his long-standing colleague Santosh Koli. He read obituaries of three living RTI activists in Gujarat, but was quiet on over 180 homeless people who died in Delhi’s cold under his watch.
His statements on farmers’ suicides in Gujarat are a good example of how Kejriwal goes about fabricating facts — on March 7, he gave a figure of 800 farmers’ suicide in ten years; on March 24, he said 5,874 farmers committed suicides in the last decade. Interestingly, Kejriwal reported sick on the day he was to visit the relief-aid starved Vidarbha farmers, but became fit enough to travel for a fund-raising dinner event at Nagpur.
Not really clean
AAP prides in choosing clean candidates, but in reality, it is no different from others. According to Association for Democratic Reforms, 15 of AAP’s 92 candidates fielded in phase 1 to 4 of polls, face criminal charges. Its candidate list includes alleged land grabber, builders’ lobby stooge, sympathiser of an ISI-agent, anti-development activist and so on. Kejriwal, who issues character certificates to other political leaders, ignores the criminal, corruption and ideological baggage of his party’s candidates.
AAP is not above the vote-bank politics either. Its manifesto has a separate section to woo the Muslims. Yogendra Yadav uses his nickname “Salim” in Muslim areas. Gul Panag has become Gulkirat Kaur to sound more like a Punjabi. Ashutosh, who never used his last name, has suddenly realised that he is a Gupta to attract Banias.
Kejriwal’s supporters are a hypnotised lot. Unlike the BJP supporters who forced the party to revoke its decision to induct Pramod Muthalik, Kejriwal supporters never speak a word against the party. They accept Somnath Bharti, though indicted by a judicial probe for midnight raid and manhandling of women; just as they accept molestation accused Srinagar candidate Raza Bhat.
AAP supporters call themselves concerned citizens, but do not question the party over induction of people with anti-national tendencies and criminal records. They want to see Kejriwal, who repeatedly admits lack of knowledge of governance, as the prime minister of India. It does not occur to them that a clean politician, if we believe Kejriwal is indeed clean, need not be competent to run a government. Especially when he is a self-proclaimed anarchist with a history of breaking the laws, ignoring the Constitution, spreading chaos and running away from responsibility. These are minor issues that “concerned citizens” ignore for a noble objective of changing the system.
For Kejriwal, his supporters are thought-slaves, who accept his most blatant falsehoods. Those who break free from the KejriSpell and defy him, are shown the door. Kejriwal also uses the aam aadmi for his benefit. When he wanted to take Congress support in Delhi, he sought people’s referendum, but he did not ask commoners when he wanted to quit. He again thought of heeding the popular voice for contesting from Varanasi, though his party had already decided his candidature from the holy city. For him, unawareness of supporters and people is his strength.
Beginning of the End
For all his Gandhian claims, Kejriwal is a manipulative, shrewd, ambitious politician, who is in a hurry to achieve higher goals — the reason he embraced planned “martyrdom” in Delhi when the Congress and the BJP did not allow him to pass his pet bill unconstitutionally. He, however, should remember that pulling off stunts daily can get one media publicity, not votes. After all, even someone as crafty as Kejriwal, cannot fool all the people all the time.
Semu Bhatt is an independent strategic analyst and an author. She can be reached on Twitter @semubhatt. Views expressed are writer’s own.