Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has picked a fight again. And this time with no less than Arun Jaitley, the Union finance minister who is also seen as the BJP’s chief troubleshooter, over alleged irregularities in Delhi’s cricket association.
So what the war is all about? Is it limited to the Delhi and District Cricket Association or is there more to it than what meets the eye?
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party has been engaged in a prolonged battle with the BJP-led government at the Centre, which has red flagged every important decision of the Kejriwal administration.
The chief minister accuses the Centre of trying to put roadblocks in front of him and feels the BJP is talking revenge for the humiliating defeat in Delhi assembly elections earlier this year.
But the country’s ruling party argues it’s Kejriwal — the CM without a portfolio — who always crosses the Lakshman Rekha by exercising his authority on matters such as policing on which he has no legal rights.
Kejriwal has tried to emerge as a strong pillar of an anti-BJP formulation that is in the works. Kejriwal has teamed up with many chief ministers - Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banarjee for example - to take the fizz out of Modi’s cooperative federalism claims.
Anti corruption has been Kejriwal’s main plank. He owes his rise in politics to the Anna Hazare movement during the previous UPA regime, which catapulted corruption into a major electoral issue and helped Narendra Modi, in some way at least, to use it in his favour.
Since then, Kejriwal has never missed an opportunity to dent that ‘clean image’ of the Modi government.
The Delhi CM attempted to fish in troubled BJP waters on the very first occasion when the BJP was on the back foot following the Lalit Modi scandal, involving foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje.
Kejriwal has been flexing his muscles for some days now, promising to uncover what he believe is bungling in the DDCA.
He promised a commission of inquiry to probe the matter. But it is not about cricket.
Kejriwal perhaps received the first hit to his clean image when the CBI raided the office of his principal secretary in a corruption case. Kejriwal cannot afford to lose the distinction of being an honest a politician among a bunch of corrupts. And hence this urgency to highlight the DDCA irregularity.
His strategy, for the moment, seems to play the victim harassed by the Centre whose own ministers are tainted.
In the process, he is attempting to hurt Modi where it matters the most. But he may have erred with targeting Jaitley, who is considered to be one of the cleanest politicians in the present political system.