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Story Dated: 2015-01-20

Delhi Duel of  Anna Fans Kejri- Bedi is on  Modi Wave or AAP  Transparency?

Time to stop banking on Modi wave? Is it waxing or  waning? No Kejri wave? Both Modi and Kejri are Charismatic personalities, one consorting with the affluent & affordable,  other connecting with downtrodden and marginalized, one an expert in secret wheeling and dealing, other in transparency in money matters & dealing with marginalized, both hard working. Whom will you choose for Delhi?

dr.james kottoor  
  

Is it going to be back to square one for Kejriwal in  Delhi after one year?  At that time all said, it was going to be an uphill task, a David versus Goliath, for him against the then formidable CM Sheila Dikshit of the Congress but the unexpected happened. He defeated Dikshit and came second with 28 seats against 31 of the BJP thanks to the poor and  Rickshaw pullers he befriended.

 Now the same Kejriwal, humbled, diminished in stature and less popular because of a total wipe out in Delhi and in all state elections except the accidental gain of two seats in Punjab in the last Lok Saba elections, what could be his prospects for a better performance to prove
poll predictors of hung assembly wrong?

This time also, Delhi election was kicked off  projecting the Modi face alone as the sure-win strategy,  as it was  in  Maharashtra, Jarkand, Hariyana  and JK state elections without   projecting a chief ministerial candidate. The assumption still is Modi image is synonymous with victory, although the crowd at the kick off at Ram Leela ground filled
only one-third of the space and so was disappointing to start with. In the first three states BJP succeeded to form a government in spite of falling short of the projected target. In Jammu and Kashmir,  BJP could come only second to PDP. More disappointing is that it has not succeeded to form a government even now in JK after prolonged negotiations with various parties for more than two weeks.

BJP Caught in Conflict?

In Delhi, Kejriwal has already charged the BJP's Delhi unit president Satish Upadhay's company with "conflict of interest" in providing faulty metres to Delhi in 2012, which militates against projecting him as a credible leader. Caught in such a bind Modi Sarkar was in frantic search for a cleaner CM candidate to avoid causing damage to the much advertised Modi wave and to deflect any blame from Modi’s fair image. It was in this context that Kiran Bedi was inducted into BJP and talks about projecting her as the CM candidate against Kejriwal was mooted.

Bedi’s induction seems to have triggered another former prominent AAP associate and Journalist Shazia Ilmi also to join BJP the very following day. Reportedly some five AAP stalwarts have already Joined BJP making people wonder if AAP is becoming a sinking ship. Simultaneously it was also pointed out that the new well known entrants, Bedi and Ilmi were once with Kejriwal as strong critics of Modi and BJP and therefore could be called turn-coats or opportunists. “Hypocrisy, thy name is BJP”, Ilmi had tweeted earlier and Bedi: "One day, Namo (Narendra Modi) will have to respond with clarity about riot massacre," in Gujarat.

Besides she was a strong critic of Kejriwal for floating AAP as she was totally against anyone, herself or Kejriwal. entering politics instead of staying with Anna Hazare to fight corruption.In addition Anna Hazare is reportedly very hurt by Bedi’s joining  BJP without consulting him. When Kejriwal  left it was done amicably after due discussion even when both Hazare and Bedi stoutly  opposed the plan of floating a political party. His was a cordial parting of ways for the sake of conviction and he kept good relations with Anna, often asking for his advise and blessings on his new venture. That has not happened in the case of Bedi when she joined BJP. To make up with her mentor Anna, Bedi reportedly called up Hazare several times, but he refused to take up the phone always.  Simultaneously old timers in Delhi have been hurt to the quick and were up in rebellion  on TV against rubbishing their long years of  hard work in the party and projecting Bedi, an outsider just brought in as CM face, but already behaving like an approved CM even before confirmation. They would accept her only “grudgingly”, they said on TV, even if the high command were to approve her nomination.

No Men of Metal in Delhi BJP?

So critics allege these defectors  brought in are just fair weather friends and will stay only as long as the going is good for them. For BJP it is awkward to admit publically that it lacks men of metal in the capital for a credible CM post. This made the BJP parivar terribly embarrassed and very jittery. All such uncertainties finally came to an end at 11 pm on Jan.19th when Amith Sha formally announced Kiran Bedi as the Chief ministerial Candidate in Delhi and AAP reacted calling her a “scapegoat”.So the duel is between two Anna Hazare devotees!

This is the background against which the much delayed Delhi election is taking place. But who is to be faulted for delaying this election for so long? The “anarchist Kejriwal” who quit on the 49th day, allegedly “leaping for the moon of India’s PM”, not realizing that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush, can be blamed, but only partially. Even otherwise
Kejriwal could have done only mighty little  in Delhi with the  support of a most undependable Congress, always throwing in a spanner in the works or going back on  given promise and worst of all without a “Jan Lokpal” duly put in place. Kejri sacrificed his CM’s chair for the sake of “Jan Lokpal”, now Bedi seems to be sacrificing Jan Lokpal for winning Delhi CM’s post. And remember BJP never speaks of corruption or Jan Lokpal,
essential to arrest corruption.

All know where corruption is rampant, where crony capitalism is flourishing and in which all parties transparency in huge election fund collection and spending is zero. Fanciful and eye-popping promises are easy to make to intoxicate a gullible public. For that you need
only the gift of the gab like that of a Rockstar which is Modi’s forte. That alone won’t produce results. What happened, for example, to the promise of bringing black money in hundred days and ushering in of Ache Din with price reduction of all commodity goods even after eight months in office?

Performance alone is the touch stone, not promises galore. Money Wapsi is ending up in  Khar Wapsi and “make in India” has now ending in “Make in Belli” (four or five children) advocated from house tops by the loony fringe elements in BJP.

Kajri’s Big Mistake

Hind sight tells us, Kajri’s greatest mistake was to go in for an alliance with Congress that too egged on by BJP and his own fans. Instead he should have insisted on a re-election when even BJP the party with the greatest number refused to form the government, rather than clamouring for it after Governor’s rule was imposed.  Ever since all knew for certain
how the BJP was trying to cook up a majority through horse trading and that for one whole year. Only when they found, none of their tricks could work, they succumbed to the inevitable, to face the present unsure   elections.

Both the irony and joke about the present election is that BJP band wagon is led by borrowed leaders or opportunists(Bedi & Ilmi) and borrowed ideas(Broom to clean up) from enemy camp the AAP, while BJP  revels in negative personal attacks, not in positive constructive programmes to remedy problems plaguing Delhi. The symbol of the broom, now used widely by BJP to clean India (Swachh Bharat), was first brought to limelight  and popularised by AAP to rid India of political corruption.

 

It is not an invention of BJP. Voters in Delhi should be well advised to choose the  party with men, ideas and commitment to make their burden light.As for Kejriwal, all is lost, if Delhi is lost.  Was it for nothing that he won a Magsaysay Award in 2006? Sure enough, Kejri has his share of dictatorial streaks and undemocratic ways. But all that should fade into insignificance compared to the one-man show of a Rock-star-Modi carried around on a podium head and shoulders above the reach of ordinary mortals, both at home and abroad by a worshipful Amen-shouting unthinking crowd, not a think-tank-community, both in government and outside. A crowd has many heads, not one mind, deliberated or deliberating. Modi on the other hand is the expected and sought after of nations. He has proved it in India and in all the countries he visited, to be a man of vision and quick action unlike any other PM India has seen. He has also shown his superb ability to connect with the masses unlike the mum Manmohan-Sonia dispensation. What is exceptional, he has proved himself to be a workaholic unparalleled and unseen among Indian politicians. He
knows how to defend himself against all his enemies but strangely impotent before his home grown professed friends and well wishers. He should therefore pray constantly to Saraswathi: “Protect me from my sworn friends; I shall take care of my enemies.” This is what his recent pronouncements on India’s poor and subsidies reveal. His first concern, he
asserted was India’s poor and cutting all leakages in subsidy programmes, not subsidies themselves.

Leave it to Third Eye?

But what is democracy without an opposition, strong or weak and getting things done through ordinances and not through a functioning parliament? So at least for the sake of curbing a brute majority government tempted to run riot rough shod, and to watch it  from close quarters  its wheeling and dealing an AAP government is not only advisable but necessary in Delhi.  Of course practical inward looking Delhi residents can’t be blamed if they think that sleeping with an all powerful BJP government at the capital would be the best bet for them to clamour and capture at one stroke all what they need and more like a pampered child.

A note from the AAP says: “For the first time in India’s history, a political party is fighting for clean governance, transparent funding and full accountability to the citizens. Aam Aadmi Party is the only party that believes in crowdsourcing its donation, comes under RTI, and does not have any corrupt, criminal candidates. With this strong foundation, AAP will build a government in Delhi which is efficient, progressive and accountable.” If true it deserves to be voted in. But then there is also the “Third Eye” looking at things and watching through the eyes of the “Daridra Narayans”, the honest, hardworking, long suffering poor who really make or break elections in India, that vote bank which put Modi on a pedestal, driven to desperation by a corrupt to the core UPA and tempted beyond measure by the sweet promises of  an “Acha Din” (Good Days) assured within hundred days, though no sign of its possible appearance anywhere on the horizon even after eight months in office.

In comparison, people in Delhi know that the 49 days of Kejriwal was far better in delivering his promises on current, water and reducing bribe taking in the capital etc. Besides a public grievance cell working round the clock with free telephone numbers to register complaints, had also instilled fear among erring public servants.  It may be their votes, that are going to tip the scale in favour of  Aam Admni, in spite of  recent predictions that it is going to be a hung assembly once again. May be a presidential style public  TV debate between Kejri and Bedi, before the whole nation just a week before voting, as suggested by one of the TV anchors could be the last ditch effort to help Delhi voters see more clearly and decide on the best bet for them.

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