Is Arvind Kejriwal a true messiah or a consummate charlatan? This is an important question which needs immediate answer. His meteoric rise to power is attributed to the fact that he was able to win millions of hearts within a span of one year, so much so that well-established political parties–especially Congress, which had been in power in Delhi for the past fifteen years on a stretch–lost to his one-year-old Aam Aadmi Party.
Kejriwal is a messiah. Under Anna Hazare, he started, perhaps, the most important anti-corruption movement based on Gandhian principles in India, after Independence in 1947. This anti-graft movement was initiated to root out corruption from Indian politics once and for all. No, he is a charlatan because despite the advice of his mentor, not to join politics, he went ahead and formed the AAP (Common Man’s Party). This move estranged him from Anna Hazare.
Kejriwal is a messiah because he inspired and persuaded the common man of Delhi to vote Congress out of power. In his post-elections statements to the media, Kejriwal time and again stated that he would rather sit on the opposition benches than form a government with the support of either Congress or BJP. No, he is a charlatan because when time came to form a government he had no qualms to seek out the support of Congress. Today, he is the chief minister only because of the outside support given to him by the very party he crusaded against.
Kejriwal is a messiah because he has given the common man in India a new vision and hope. No, he is a charlatan because the common man in Delhi is only of Hindu origins. His cabinet does not have a single representative from the minority Muslim community. Even the hardline BJP would never think of forming a cabinet without, at least, one representative of the minority community.
Kejriwal is a messiah and a true representative of the common man. He took metro to the Ramlila Maidan (Ground) to take oath of office. He did so because he wants to end the VIP culture. No, he is a charlatan because his political gimmick cost the Delhi government more than if he had just taken a government-provided transport to the venue.
Kejriwal is a messiah because, for the interest of the common man, he took the oath of office at the Ramlila Maidan, the same venue where in 2011 Anna Hazare started the anti-corruption movement. No, he is a thorough charlatan because despite all his promises not to take extra security for himself, over 400 policemen were deployed for his security at the Ramlila Maidan.
Kejriwal is a messiah because he promised, in front of thousands, that there would be no witch hunt against his political opponents or the bureaucracy. No, he is a charlatan because, within hours of his becoming the chief minister of Delhi, he suspended bureaucrats and transferred and posted police officials.
These are some of the facts that can be cited as pros and cons of Kejriwal’s short tenure in office. It is left to the reader to decide for him/herself whether Kejriwal is a true messiah or a common charlatan.
By Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada