An Aam Aadmi Patry MLA (member of
the legislative assembly, Delhi in this case) was detained today on charges of
cheating and forgery. The AAP's Kondli MLA Manoj Kumar was arrested on
land-fraud charges on a day when its Punjab MP (member of the Parliament) openly
criticised the senior party leader Sanjay Singh's mobile phone message asking
report cards from all four Punjab MPs.
AAP says Manoj Kumar is being
harassed. His advocate and AAP leader HS Phoolka says his arrest is illegal. Sanjay
Singh says Gujarat model is being used to harass AAP leaders in Delhi. Ashutosh
and Ashish Khetan are trying to play 'martyr' card through their tweets.
And it is just the latest one in
the line of fire - in the ongoing row that is besetting the newest political
entrant in Indian politics.
Former Delhi law minister Jitender
Singh Tomar had to resign after police arrested him in fake degree case. The
AAP chose to defend him even on the day he was arrested with party spokespersons
waving documents submitted by Tomar as proof of his 'truthfulness'. He is in
jail now and police have reiterated the stand that his degree are fake, after
taking him to the 'educational institutions' that he claimed he graduated from.
Another AAP MLA, Bhavna Gaur from
Palam, is also under scanner for allegedly submitting false poll affidavit. The
matter pertains to her educational qualification and a Delhi court has taken cognizance
of the matter. The AAP's Delhi Cantonment MLA Surender Singh is also facing similar
The Delhi BJP is also demanding immediate
action against Akhileshpati Tripathi and Sanjeev Jha, two other AAP MLAs, for
leading attack on Burari police station.
Then there are reports of alleged
VIP culture. Taking forward the uncommon streak of the government that
campaigned around the 'commonness' of the common man, the AAP government will
bear expenditure of the offices of MLAs in all 70 constituencies including the
manpower cost. Delhi Assembly is to bear the cost, so the 'common man' is to
bear the cost.
'Doing away with such existing demands'
would be the genuine common-man-type move. Or the AAP's party funds, if
available to the scale, could have been used.
The move immediately comes after
the AAP MLAs demanded a salary hike and vehemently defended their demand (even
if targeting others for similar moves). The AAP MLAs said they were not able to
meet office expenses and asked for a rise.
There may be an element of truth
in some cases but when we see the AAP's history about such moves (and
policies), the party loses any chance of getting the benefit of doubt.
The party made 21 of its 63 MLAs
parliamentary secretaries, in the name of assisting ministers (minus seven -
one chief-minister and six ministers). So many parliamentary secretaries in a
government are 'unprecedentedly' unprecedented. When the controversial move
reached to the court, the AAP government passed a resolution that declared
these amenities to these so-called parliamentary secretaries (or MLAs) would be
out of the purview of the 'office of profit' clause.
Then, there is the case of the Delhi
Dialogue Commission. Manned by some AAP heavyweights, opponents allege that it
is yet another front to squeeze public money in the name of 'meeting party
promises'. A report in the Asian Age says 'salary, perks and allowances of some
volunteers appointed in the DDC is said to be much higher than the MLAs'.
And the list doesn't end here.
Such 'uncommon-man-esque' moves by
a party claiming to be 'of common men for common men' give rise to the valid
doubts that Arvind Kejriwal did all that, is doing all that, to appease his
MLAs after throwing Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan out, to goad them away
from the expelled duo who are also the
founder-members of the party.
When the political opponents say
that the AAP is doing everything but clean politics and honest governance, we
have reasons to believe so.
Arvind Kejriwal and his
government have been a big letdown in the first six months. This time, it
didn't touch sentimental issues like shunning VVIP culture in Delhi or
following strict code of probity. It did offer water and electricity subsidies
but the propaganda associated with it is overdone - was totally gaudy and in
bad taste. Delhi is yet to see the pace of development that it had seen in the
past few years.
A clean and honest government of
common men for common men could have begun on a journey to initiate 'uncommon' moves
for the betterment of Delhi but the AAP government failed Delhiites on that
expectation. And the way ahead looks equally befuddled.
The AAP government, so far, has
nothing much to talk about but it has given analysts more than enough food for
thought to think about and write on its 'fall from perceived grace'. And when
we see it in the context of Arvind Kejriwal's attempts to promote his
'personality cult' through different sorts of advertisements, funded by the
public exchequer in Delhi, it all looks even more sinister.
Delhi needs a government that is on
the job. Its common man, who has voted for Arvind Kejriwal and his party, needs
his development that has to come with the overall development of Delhi. But Arvind
Kejriwal is busy playing the games played by those he scoffed at. And he is
outsmarting them. He is taking on Narendra Modi. He is in a bitter power
struggle with Delhi's Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung who is Central
Government's representative. He is talking of 'referendum for full statehood to
Delhi' when there are more pressing issues of governance waiting for some attention by him. Six months
into the government but there is no hurry about the Jan Lokpal Bill and no one in
the AAP is talking appointing a Lokayukta in Delhi.
The irony is, the AAP is not 'realizing
it the way as the political folks don't realize it'. It is thinking that it is
above all political folks and can try anything after getting rarely high
numbers in the Delhi assembly elections. The party thinks that the next Delhi
polls are five years away and they are in a safe zone.
Well, founder-members have left
it. It has internal bickering in many state units including in Punjab where
elections are due in early 2017. And the party is in imminent threat of being
converted into a one-man political outfit.
The Aam Aadmi ideal of the Aam
Aadmi Party is dying and with it, the hopes of seeing 'a politics of change'
has taken another beating.