Everyone expected the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to preside over a government with a difference. But no one quite thought that this would amount to protests and clashes with the police even as it got off the starting blocks.
As chief minister Arvind Kejriwal led the street protests in the Capital to get some policemen suspended, Metro stations were shut down, buses diverted and roads near India Gate blocked. He has now called off the dharna after apparently coming to a compromise with the government and an assurance from the lieutenant governor that one SHO would be sent on leave. Kejriwal’s dharna with his Cabinet colleagues and supporters was anything but genuinely revolutionary.
At a time when the need of the hour is good governance, one wonders if the way to achieve this was through the CM himself sitting on a dharna and signing classified files on the pavement. It seems Kejriwal, who branded himself an anarchist, is unable to transform himself from a rabble-rouser to a responsible chief minister. Kejriwal, who spent Monday night on the street amid heavy security deployment, wants the Delhi Police to be brought under the control of the state government. However justified his demand is (his predecessor Sheila Dikshit too made a similar request), a CM must display faith in the political system and take up the matter through the right channels.
AAP, born from the anti-corruption movement, has been in power only for three weeks and with the Lok Sabha elections a few months away it must utilise this time to showcase its achievements rather than fuelling the suspicion that AAP is trying to push the Congress to the wall so that the latter withdraws support. In effect, this will deflect attention from the promises AAP has not delivered on. The dharna caused enormous inconvenience to the aam aadmi with commuters having to walk long distances to reach work. With the security threat in the Capital heightened as Republic Day approaches, the police had to deal with the unruly protestors at the dharna at the cost of safeguarding the welfare of the aam aadmi.
The debasing of public discourse as in the language used by the party’s top brass is something that Mr Kejriwal should condemn roundly. From Kumar Vishwas’ racist and sexist remarks about nurses from Kerala to law minister Somnath Bharti’s statement that he wanted to spit on BJP leader Arun Jaitley and senior lawyer Harish Salve because the two had criticised his vigilantism, AAP’s rogue elements seem to be taking the CM’s silence as approval of their conduct. If this is the change that many people sought, some among them must be hankering for the pre-AAP days.