That a month could be a long time in politics is being proved repeatedly by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the party supposedly the harbinger of hope and a better society.
The surfacing of an audio clip in which Arvind Kejriwal is reportedly trying to engineer a split in the Congress to be able to form the government again is very unfortunate, regardless of whether the tape is genuine or not.
It points to deep fissures in the party. Last year when Mr Kejriwal took the precipitate decision to resign as chief minister his well-wishers put it down to his activist nature, partly for which he had become popular and also partly for which he was forgiven by the electorate later and given a massive mandate to govern Delhi.
But now what is happening is far worse and this is just what the people expected not to happen in a party like AAP, which swears by ethics and probity in public life.
First, the latent tensions in AAP were hopelessly exposed and acquired the look of an ugly power struggle between Mr Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, and this led to the expulsion of the latter two from the party’s highest decision-making body.
Messrs Bhushan and Yadav had been the dominant ideologues of AAP and their presence could have posed an intellectual challenge to many other parties and might have attracted the youth in larger numbers. One wonders if the same thing could happen now, given the way the two factions are trading charges in public.
For example, Mr Yadav wanted the audio clip of the ‘conversation’ that took place between Mr Kejriwal and former AAP MLA Rajesh Garg to be referred to the party’s internal lokpal. Regardless of that, AAP and Mr Kejriwal should immediately come out with a statement on this whole matter and clear the air. Else, it would mean keeping the people of Delhi in uncertainty.
It is going to be a month since Mr Kejriwal was sworn in as chief minister of Delhi. But apart from keeping his promises on water and power, not much movement has taken place on governance. As regards the central government its each step is being monitored month by month because good governance had been the BJP’s plank.
It should happen in the case of the Delhi government also. Full statehood for Delhi had been Mr Kejriwal’s election promise.
What are the steps the government has taken towards realising it? Once Mr Kejriwal is back from Bengaluru after his treatment, he should go back to the AAP manifesto. Bringing to the foreground what matters to the people can be one way of healing the rifts in the party.