If high drama and rhetoric characterised the first stint in government, the second is not turning out much better for the Aam Aadmi Party. Despite having secured an overwhelming mandate, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal seems to be lurching from one controversy to another. The latest is a spat with the Lieutenant Governor, Najeeb Jung, whose directive to route important files through him has irked Mr Kejriwal. The CM has sought to bypass this order, which means a possible governance gridlock with the LG digging his heels in. The ugly fracas involving the expulsion from the top decision-making body of the party of important founder members has also taken up much of the CM’s time. Then came the issue of the law minister’s allegedly fake degree.
Instead of trying to set things right as soon as possible, the CM has taken the easy way out and blamed the media. Using what can be termed offensive language, he claimed that the media had taken out a supari to finish off his party and also asked for a public trial of the media if it was found to be factually incorrect. From time to time, Mr Kejriwal has also threatened to send the media to jail. This kind of language goes completely against the grain of a party which claims to represent the aam aadmi; indeed it shows an authoritarian and intolerant streak. The people gave AAP a second chance in the hopes that its politicians would understand the bread and butter issues which affect the common man. But, the party seems more focused on its internal problems and trying to apportion blame on others for its own failings. We are yet to see any concrete plan of action to deal with the many problems Delhi faces. After the suicide of a farmer at an AAP rally, the CM quickly sought to blame the police, which are not in his control, belatedly expressing regret for not stopping the rally even after the farmer’s death.
The Delhi government has to co-exist with the LG and the BJP-led central government. The best way forward would be to try and work out mechanisms for cooperation instead of making all differences so public. The LG is on firm ground when he says that all important files have to be routed through him and to pick a fight on this is simply counterproductive. Since this is meant to be a totally transparent government, there should be no problem in him seeing the files. The time for grandstanding is long over. Mr Kejriwal has to get out of protest mode and get down to governance. It may not get him the headlines in the much-reviled media, but it will at least vindicate to some extent the faith that people reposed in his party.