Arvind Kejriwal’s denigration of the Congress and the BJP is unlikely to cease after government formation in Delhi. As chief minister, he’ll take credit for the promises delivered, blaming un-kept assurances on the paucity of numbers and a recalcitrant Opposition.
The capital’s post-electoral political scenario affords Kejriwal that unprecedented leeway. It’s either him or deluge.
An alternative arrangement being a near-impossibility in the fractured House, he would be, till the equation lasts, the CM and the Leader of Opposition rolled into one.
Heads he would win and tails the BJP and the Congress would lose.
The regime’s longevity would depend on his rivals’ appetite for ignominy. They would be called names and when reluctant to play ball with the ruling party, they would be accused of conspiring to destabilise the aam admi’s sarkar.
Amid all-round cynicism and distrust of the old political order, the destabilisation theory could stick in the backdrop of threatened anti-graft investigations against ousted Congressmen and incumbent BJP dispensations in municipal corporations.
Kejriwal and his associates have also let it be known that they would agitate when they are unable to legislate. A case in point: the AAP’s threat to protest at the Rajpath if the UPA-ruled Centre does not accord full statehood to Delhi.
Their formulations on the statehood question could be a replay of the fait accompli the Anna Hazare-led agitation had offered Parliament on the Jan Lokpal issue. That kind of a “my way or the highway” approach to the sticky issue could be the final straw.
Why? Delhi is home to not one but two regimes. It’s this dichotomy that explains the complicated separation of powers denying full statehood to the national capital.
The issue cannot be settled in the limited time frame available between now and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It would be realistic to pursue the matter after the installation of a new regime at the Centre.
An absolutist stance on the subject would show the protagonists as immature and unreasonable.
It will be sagacious, therefore, for the ruling dispensation to backload the full statehood promise to take up other, more aspirational issues such as cuts in the prevailing power tariff and supply of free drinking water.
Brinkmanship on cumbersome questions such as full statehood will be the AAP’s only option if it fails to fulfil the promise of free water and cheap power. Much would also depend on how much derision and humiliation the Congress is willing to endure.
Forget the denouement. A spectacle it’s going to be as Kejriwal uses attrition to look attractive.