Dear Mr. Kejriwal,
As a part of the anti-graft movement led by veteran Gandhian, Anna Hazare, who stirred the collective conscience of the nation and highlighted the growing alienation of the political establishment (ruling/opposition party) from the common man, you played a key role in exposing irregularity in conduct of those at the helm. Rightfully, you highlighted the concept of accountability and transparency in public life. Those in public life are answerable to the public and have to be under public scrutiny. Politicians were accountable then. They are more so now when a General Election is around the corner. The only significant change has been that then you were in the other side as an activist crusader. Now as an ex- chief Minister and leader of a political party, you are one among ‘them’.
I am not sure whether you have properly assimilated this changed role play consequent upon your transformation from a social crusader to a politician, with a holier-than-though tag prominently displayed. If you have, then you must agree you will be subject to same grilling with the same rigor that you have been prescribing for all other politicians so far, about your conduct, thoughts and outlook. And here goes a few questions for you Arvind Kejriwal, leader of a political party- Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with ambitions to play national politics.
Q1. What about allegations against your own henchmen?
According to a report in Times of India, an order was passed by then CBI special judge, Poonam A. Bamba when she pulled up Somnath Bharti and his client Pawan Kumar — facing prosecution on corruption charges — after the CBI accused them of influencing a prosecution witness. Further, according to report in Headlines Today, way back in 2005, Mr. Bharti was not only a spammer but also a scammer, as veteran digital journalist Prasanto K. Roy told Rahul Kanwal. What can be worse and seriously damaging is that a company earlier associated with Somnath Bharti was reportedly also involved in selling pornographic domain names as reported in section of press.
These are reports in media, veracity of which cannot be established by a common man. But, can you on a pedestal of high moral grounds, coexist with such allegations at your door step? What prevents you from ordering an independent inquiry so that truth finally prevails? Charity, after all, should begin at home.
Q2. Vote Bank Politics: muddling in dirty waters
You have never been tired of criticizing vote bank communal politics of major national parties. Fair point. But would you clarify why you were wooing Maulana Tauqeer Khan, a cleric known for a fatwa against a liberal Muslim writer Taslima Nasreen?
Q3. Khap attitude and approach to women
As reported in the press, one of your founding members Madhu Bhaduri who quit AAP recently says, “The party has a mentality of a khap panchayat. There is no space for women. If the other women leaders have any self-respect, they will quit too.”
Incidentally, can you please articulate where you stand on the Khap Panchayat? And did your workers invite members of Khap Panchayat to participate on the dais in your rallies in Haryana- where you have ambitions to repeat your Delhi performance? And how does it differentiate you from other political outfits that have appeasement towards various groups based on narrow political considerations of adding a few more votes at the cost of principles?
Q4. More Aams than other Aams : Old wine in new glass?
Before a formal candidate selection process was put in place for finalizing your candidates for forthcoming Parliamentary elections, your comrade in arms with proverbial Khali- Pilli remarks perched himself in Amethi as AAP candidate. Is the AAP just a rubber stamp to post-facto ratify actions of Khaas leaders in Aam Adami Party? If so, how this is anyway different from workings of a kitchen cabinet headed by a High Command in the parties against whose culture you have been protesting day in day out? By the way when did we hear last of democratization of process for candidate selection for Lok Sabha Polls- in your ‘party with a difference’?
Q5. If Anna does not endorse you, who should?
You are a product of the Anna Movement. People turned up in overwhelming numbers in response to his call for a corruption free India. The movement for a Jan Lokpal raised great expectations and heralding of an Indian Spring. The Parliament enacted a Lokpal which you now dub as Jokepal. You could be partially true. But the fact remains, Anna seems to be satisfied with the Lokpal that was passed- albeit as a modest beginning. Remember, Journey of a thousand miles begins in the first step and Rome was not built in a day.
Now you reportedly plan to move across the country for enactment of a powerful LokPal. Your mentor has refused to endorse you on the issue any further or in your political quest. If you cannot convince your bonafides to your mentor, how will your credibility as a crusader for fighting corruption be accepted by masses that see you primarily as collateral beneficiary as Anna’s protégé?
Corruption? What corruption? AAP is here to fight communalism, Arvind Kejriwal tells Muslims. http://t.co/svGMas6Rol Janlokpal was a bogey.
— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) February 25, 2014
Q6. And finally why the U-turns in public commitments and conduct?
- Before formation of Government in Delhi, you swore never to take support of any party to form the Government. Just In a matter of days you made a complete volte face and formed the Government In Delhi with support of your arch enemy congress.
- At the time of forming the Government, you went public with SMS/ social media/ Mohalla Sabha to seek their opinion on whether you should form government. That is great- Swaraj fulfilled. But what happened when you resigned the same Government that you joined in response to people’s voice?
Caesar’s wife should not only be above suspicion but also be seen so particularly in an outfit which claims high moral ground.
P.S. Dear AK, Please remember India, despite its innumerable failings and monumental misgovernance, is still a functioning democracy, for its proof you do not have to go any further. Look at yourself, a political novice with no political background, an An Aam Admi who could redefine political landscape. It is the ingenuity of the system you must acknowledge. Institutions define individuals and not vice versa and hence please respect the institutional structures. They have built you up and they can take you to greater heights. But for heaven’s sake do not have a larger- than –life image of yourself bent on denigrating institutional frameworks which gave you the political space to stand up and be counted.
Now that you have migrated well past the Aam status, such distant voice may not reach you or rather you may conveniently choose to ignore. But please remember, never underestimate the power of common man- all your other adversaries learnt this bitter truth after paying heavy political price in Delhi elections.
An Aam Aadmi voter
By Hari Hara Mishra