A party which came into existence with the avowed aim of cleansing the current political system should, like Caesar’s wife, be beyond reproach. That is what was expected of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by civil society activist-turned politician Arvind Kejriwal.
Among the other things expected of any party is to maintain a certain decorum and dignity when discussing opponents. Mr Kejriwal, who has cast himself as a self-appointed messiah of society, seems to have no compunctions about making what can only be described as unbecoming personal attacks on Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, the latest political bête noire to arouse his ire.
Accusing her of corruption and other misdemeanours with no proof is unacceptable conduct from anyone, least of all from a person who claims that he floats above the fray.
Any political formation should have a positive agenda. Mr Kejriwal seems to have none. All we have heard apart from vituperative attacks on other political formations in recent times, is the fact that he will stand against Ms Dikshit from wherever she contests in the Delhi elections. Fine.
What next? Mr Kejriwal has never quite explained why he chose to enter the political fray after making categorical statements that the whole political establishment is no more than a cesspit of corruption. If he has a plan to clean up the system, we have yet to hear of it.
Encouraging people to flout the law by not paying their electricity bills and by going around reconnecting electricity wires that have been cut off for non-payment do not amount to a political revolution.
It only attracts penalties for the hapless people Mr Kejriwal is claiming to help. Earlier, during a protest, his supporters breached police barricades and then accused the police of brutality when the area was cleared. This encourages lawlessness and it not likely to improve people’s lives in any manner.
Mr Kejriwal must understand that attacks on political leaders must be on issues and not on personal grounds. But he has not gone beyond the one-point allegation of corruption. There are many issues on which his party can put the Delhi government and even the Centre on the mat.
There are the problems of crumbling infrastructure, law and order, price rise and so on. But earlier too, Mr Kejriwal focused all his energies on running down the Congress and its leaders and of late the BJP as well.
People are perfectly aware of the faults of both parties, what they would like to know is what is going to be different about the Aam Aadmi Party and why they should vote for it.
The politics of negativism will pay very short-term dividends. If Mr Kejriwal is in for the long haul, he will have to look beyond his own personal dislikes.