The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall of Arvind Kejriwal has been edited by Abha Mehra.
The Bhartiya Janta Party extended its enviable winning streak in the recently concluded municipal elections in Delhi. BJP managed to win over a hundred and eighty seats out of the two hundred and seventy. This loss asserts the possibility of a premature demise of Arvind Kejriwal’s political career.
When Kejriwal entered active politics, he was the man next door. He wore torn khakis and a muffler round his neck. His persistent coughing and an even more persistent desire to combat corruption identified with millions of Indians. His directness and simplicity touched many hearts. The Indian Aam Aadmi finally found a messiah who asked the political elite something. He held them accountable for all the unscrupulous means deeply rooted in the system. He questioned the rampant atrocities against women in the national capital. Arvind Kejriwal asked just the right questions, and no one seemed to have an answer.
A lot of people who claim to be political enthusiasts wrote Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) off, even before they fought an election. But, they were in for a surprise (read: shock). AAP won twenty-eight seats out of seventy in the Delhi elections in 2013. In the process, they decimated the incumbent Congress.
Kejriwal persistently sold himself as an outsider to politics. Yet he shrewdly went on to form a government by allying with Indian National Congress. He called it a “sacrifice” for the greater good. The sacrifice did not last long because he resigned as the Chief Minister in just forty-nine days. The voters in Delhi felt betrayed and were looking to teach the self-proclaimed “anarchist” a lesson. As a result, BJP went on to win all the seven seats in the national capital during the Lok Sabha elections.
After resigning as Chief Minister, Kejriwal did not stop. He went on to challenge Prime Minister Modi on the coveted Varanasi seat. Other AAP leaders contested such high profile elections as well. They did not have the strength to win such contests, but they had certainly announced their arrival. The Aam Aadmi Party always had a flare for theatrics. They did not go down as sore losers. Instead, they proved to be valiant warriors who had nothing to lose, yet who fought for everything.
In the run-up to state elections in 2015, the BJP handed the government to Kejriwal on a silver platter. They carried out an utterly bitter and divisive campaign. Consequently, Kejriwal won the elections and how! They managed sixty-seven seats out of seventy. It was a historic mandate in the state of Delhi. BJP had a chance to introspect while Congress was out of sight.
The rise of Arvind Kejriwal was assertive and undeniable. He had the chance to redefine governance in India. He had the opportunity to go beyond the theatrics he had used to get in power. To be honest, I was not fully convinced of the ability of an outsider to get the job done. But once the results came out, I believed we had a politician who was anti-establishment in the truest sense of the word. He defied the “necessary” diplomacy that came along with politics. He was relentless and dynamic.
I kind of had hopes for him, despite being a Modi supporter.
Well, what happened next definitely blew my mind. Rather than concentrating on governance, Arvind Kejriwal went on to continue with his provocative brand of politics. He continued firing salvos at the central government. His disconnect with ground reality was brutally exposed when he implied that the Prime Minister may kill him. Rather than reviewing his ministers, he was busy reviewing movies on Twitter. With every passing day, he made it increasingly clear that Delhi was just a detour while on his way to become a national leader. Perhaps he forgot that—forgive me for the cliché—Rome was not built in a day.
AAP could have and should have capitalised on the disaster called Rahul Gandhi. Punjab, on the back of excessive drug abuse and lawlessness, was a race for Arvind Kejriwal to lose. And he did not disappoint. Rather than concentrating on just Punjab, he tried too hard to win Goa as well. Consequently, he lost both. As if losing two states was not enough, he also lost hold of the state he ruled. The by-elections just before the MCD elections were a testament to that. And the latter is what appears to be the final nail in the coffin for the Aam Aadmi Party.
To sum up, I am genuinely disappointed with the lost cause of Arvind Kejriwal. When other political parties failed to deliver, his was the one that captured the common man’s imagination. It is no secret that I am a Modi supporter. A bhakt, if you may. Yet, I cannot deny the necessity of an Arvind Kejriwal. His incendiary tactics kept the government in check. He was instrumental in sustaining the democratic structure as we know it. But he failed the responsibility that comes with being a
politician leader. Today, we are bereft of a genuine opposition that would keep the government on its toes. History would be the testimonial to the fact that Arvind Kejriwal had risen when he was not even in contention. Let us hope he comes back from the dead before it is too late.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed in The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall of Arvind Kejriwal are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Lutalica.
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