The two Barkha Dutt interviews told their own stories: it was the contrast between Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi’s responses that was the main takeaway.

New and Improved Arvind Kejriwal is a Force to Reckon witharvind kejriwal aap CLUED IN KEJRIWAL

  1. Delhi’s famous 48 day CM Arvind Kejriwal is certainly one of most unique specimens of Indian politics. Ahead of Delhi’s legislative assembly elections, this ‘anarchist’ is coming across as reasonable, mature, calm and focused. He is proving that he and his AAP are forces to reckon with; that the BJP is right to be scared.
  2. His opponent Kiran Bedi has been calling him toxic and negative, even ridiculing him for “playing sob sob,” which has come across as rather immature (read more on Indiaopines). For his part, Kejriwal has refrained from responding in kind, preferring to maintain a dignified, stoic and it must be said, an uncharacteristic silence.
  3. gotra cartoon kejriwal CLUED IN KEJRIWALKejriwal seems to have picked up some pointers from arch rival BJP as well, choosing to take offence at something that is clearly deliberately misunderstood. We Indians understand caste slights and always sympathise with anyone when we think their caste has been insulted. Kejriwal has cleverly misinterpreted the phrase ‘updravi gotra’ to mean an attack upon his caste. The reference was clearly to the ‘tribe of anarchists’ (supposedly the AAP), but Kejriwal chose to make it about “the entire Agarwal Samaj” (HT)
  4. In fact Kejriwal has been magnanimous enough to say that he still likes Kiran Bedi; a very grown-up response to Bedi’s calling him names on the same show with Barkha Dutt a couple of days ago.
  5. kiran bedi townhall 650x400 big story CLUED IN KEJRIWALWhen you juxtapose Bedi calling Kejriwal “negative and uncouth” and the latter responding in a calm and even sympathetic manner, this taking of the high road by Kejriwal is undoubtedly clever. It makes him come across as reasonable, forgiving and high-minded; adjectives that we have hitherto not associated with the anarchist of Indian politics. (Scroll down for the Barkha Dutt – Arvind Kejriwal interview of 2 Februal 2015)
  6. The interview is significant also because of how calmly he has responds to questions such as one posed by Kabir Bedi. It is an attitude of gentle ruefulness rather than political aggression that characterises his responses; a great contrast to the bluster and lack of graciousness one detected in Kiran Bedi’s words.
  7. His cheerful self effacing reference to himself as ‘driver’ and his party as ‘vehicle’, which the people of Delhi like, struck a chord. His explanations of due diligence by his party, and regret expressed about past mistakes appeared plausible too.
  8. arvind kejriwal aap fans CLUED IN KEJRIWALAnd then there was his ability to take jokes: he explained the muffler, he spoke about his less than flattering sartorial choices as well as the Mufflerman internet meme this spawned. He came across as very likeable.
  9. The two Barkha Dutt interviews told their own stories: above all it was the contrast between the two chief ministerial candidates that was the main takeaway. Where this new improved Kejriwal appeared articulate calm and reasonable and mature, Kiran Bedi appeared to retain most of her innate bluster against opponents; which however now seems artificially reigned in, presumably because of directions of her new party’s high command.
  10. This is perhaps the reason why Bedi refuses to do a debate with Kejriwal. Could this refusal mean that the BJP has shot itself in the food in Delhi? We shall soon know.

Image 2, video

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