December 28, 2013, he took oath. Today,
it’s January 13, 2014. Mr. Kejriwal is now 16 days old in the office of the
chief minister of Delhi.
The slate, though delicately
balanced on spots of positives and negatives, has not much to claim. And that
is worrying because the Aam Aadmi Party should not fail and Mr. Arvind Kejriwal
should not go down the political, social and communication annals as a co-opted
and compromised activist and political reformist.
Yes, it is ridiculous to write
anything in just 16 days when the other political parties have taken decades but have failed to perform. But writing here is about the valid concern over the 'possibility of the renewed hopes of the common man failing so soon' because the
politics promised by AAP is the need of the day and so there has to be an
intense scrutiny on every step by the stakeholders involved; because AAP does
raise expectations about a ‘politics of change’, something that has been a rare
event in Indian politics. After all, this is what they have been voted in for.
And though AAP is running out of
time with just two months in office before the Lok Sabha poll-schedule is declared enforcing the model code of conduct thus debarring any more steps to be taken, we,
the voters, have already run out of time. So, this concern has valid grounds.
Yes, the slate that looks
delicately balanced in favour of AAP has corrosive elements that can easily
alter the way the public is going to perceive Mr. Kejriwal and the AAP
government in Delhi.
Yes, an AAP government in Delhi
headed by Arvind Kejriwal - it is just the beginning of the formative phase of
AAP and if the perceptions go wrong now, if they get the negative hue in this
phase, the formative phase can easily become the summative phase eating up the consolidation
and expansion phases.
And the signals from these 16
days are worrying.
The AAP government rode to the Delhi
Secretariat on big promises. And from the day-1, from December 28, it looked to
be in motion to fulfill them.
But the way it has moved so far puts the very intent under scanner. The way it has moved so far indicates more
of a rush to lure the voters somehow before the Lok Sabha elections.
The biggest one on power tariff
saw a temporary measure with subsidy compensating for the reduced bill amount. Free
water is even more costly beyond the insufficient cap of the free monthly
usage. And both of these measures are not uniformly distributed. They target
some sections of the population while ignore some others.
Mr. Kejriwal and his team have
had a series of flip-flops on cracking down on the VIP culture that easily outdo the quantum gains, if any, of this promise in the initial 16 days.
Their symbolic efforts to use the
Delhi Metro for the government inaugural ceremony or the high cost involved in
organizing the ceremony at the Ramlila Ground or their repeated ‘yes and no’ on
availing the ‘earmarked’ government accommodations and vehicles, or the
miserably failed show of organising a Janta Darbar to hear public’s grievances
at the Delhi Secretariat where Mr. Kejriwal was coordinating the show from the
rooftop while public was buzzing around aimlessly and helplessly, or a
‘sincere’ effort of a young colleague of Mr. Kejriwal’s cabinet to glamorise a
small incident as a security threat to her, have raised question marks on AAP’s
and Arvind Kejriwal’s intent.
Yes, it has been just 16 days. Mr.
Kejriwal, you have time to write your rulebook on how you and AAP are going to
be perceived in the coming days, in the days of electoral chaos of the Lok
Sabha polls and the days beyond that.
We have got worrying signals in
these 16 days and you need to change that.