A new fish in the political pond – Priti Jain

Ever wondered what the Greeks had in mind when they first coined politikos, the art of running governmental or state affairs. Any idea about the quality of political leaders produced then and the change in the present availability. Ever pondered on the gradual evolution of the political scenario since its inception?  Honestly, don’t bother. You’ll be surprised to discover how little the nature of politics has changed over time. Herbert Simon, pioneer in the work of Public Administration, always emphasized the need for a distinction between the ends-means relationship. He feared that when means supersede the ends, they become ends in themselves. Well, that’s the political story.

The Indian political picture is no different. Instead of digging the old books of politics, let us smell and refresh ourselves with the new chapters being written by the upcoming parties ready to join the bandwagon, well of course with a new ‘ideology’. Anna Hazare, who had devoted his past 30 years for a corruption-free India for us, was only born on April 5, 2011. His Team Anna took up the Gandhian way of life in their struggle for independence. We accepted them with open hearts, keeping them on a pedestal symbolizing our support for the movement. Then, every citizen fighting corruption was Anna. Their popularity gained momentum; Lokpal bill was introduced, passed in the lower house of parliament but stalled in the upper house. The essence of the cause went amiss amidst the many bills. The end result being unsatisfactory with nothing in the hands of the people, the fight continued. But the moment was gone. Things were not the same; people seemed to lose interest and were thought to be fighting a lost cause.

And then came the stirring revelation of the split in Team Anna, a political mockery of Anna’s commitment. Arvind Kejriwal tore the team apart by stepping in the world of politics, with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In his defense, the role of being an activist was not enough to witness a change in the conditions. There was a need to enter the muck to clear it out. A cliché, granted but a necessity, maybe. Retracting from their earlier resolutions, taking an incorrigible path of politics for the espial on corruption goes painstakingly down the throat. Anna chose to stand by his words and delinked himself from the political aspirations of Kejriwal. A move that helped the sustenance of the respect earned on the grounds of staying aloof from politics. But somewhere down the line, this was inevitable, although it did vitiate the purpose of being an activist per se. The working of an activist is restricted to protests, rallies, press conferences and petitions, whereas a political leader has far more liberty to bring about the changes envisioned. Arvind Kejriwal in his argument does make a point to that effect.

His political contemporaries have left no stone unturned in belittling and opprobriating his image as a political aspirant, blemishing his façade as an infidel activist. He has been the cause of their anger and uneasiness recently. The ruling party can no more call him a BJP agent after his accusations against the big BJP fish, the President, Nitin Gadkari himself. Though the whole party backs him up and believes he will be exonerated against the charges, it does put a question mark on his second term as the party head. His alleged role in usurping the land of the farmers for roping funds for his Purti group of companies had brought him under the scanner of the Registrar of Companies (RoC), during his reign as the PWD minister. The amount of truth to the matter is disputable since the credibility of the charges is also questionable.

The split has sown the seeds of disparity between the two leaders and opened up room for other members to hop in as Anna supporters. Be it retired Army General V.K Singh or more responsibility in the hands of Kiran Bedi. Thus, the septuagenarian has strongly reiterated his stand on political participation. One thing that has come out unequivocally is the Kejriwal’s chase of only the big stalwarts. This has irked the parties to the greatest extent. As and when the elections near, the experienced leaders are the ones that are the vote gatherers for them, with their defamed images, it will definitely hurt their vote banks. It’s also bringing out the worst of many political leaders to the forefront. Salman Khurshid lost his temper during a press conference vindicating himself against the misappropriation of funds by the NGO owned by his family. Calling Kejriwal pathetically small in comparison with his Congress party brought forth the ‘too big to fall’ thinking of the party.

What Kejriwal is doing is vividly interpretable. The old tactic of creating a huge pressure and dismantling the fabric of the party by targeting the ministers with high portfolios has been attempted here. He might’ve chewed more than he can swallow. His big-mouthedness and one-dimensional outlook focusing mainly on corruption is not healthy to sustain a political career. Given that corruption is the potent threat to democracy, a political leader has to think of the all round development of the nation. He needs to get in touch with the grassroots of the nation and not just confide himself to conferences in Delhi. Campaigning is the crux of elections and needs to be done with a well-sort agenda in mind, which is nowhere in sight in his context.

He is indeed showing the traits of a true politician with answering allegations against him regarding foreign funding of his party with another allegation. How different is he then? He has to work more towards substantiating his claims and using his positive popularity to the fullest. The split with Anna can only be a success if he can prove his mettle by walking his talks.

2 comments

  1. malaydeb /

    Kejriwal is an evil. Don't ask me why? 'cause even though I know it by heart, but I am not articulate enough to put it in words.
    I can feel it, though. I have an inbuilt suspicion of people who appear 'self-righteous' with a sanctimonious veneer around them.
    By the way I am not a congress sympathiser.

  2. See, everyone pretty much knows that this ‘new party’ is a big farce and does not seem to be having a future. Let them try! If what you say is true it’s going to be just another brick in the wall. If not, are we going to be affected? Not really. And makes no difference if you’re a congress sympathizer or not, say what you have to say.

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