Why anti-corruption hero Kejriwal has egg on his face today

The Delhi CM used the plank for his political ambitions and, after assuming power, he has not practised what he preached.

 |  7-minute read |   12-05-2017
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It is unfathomable how the so-called social reformer, who rode on high moral ground with a promise to not only cleanse the Indian polity but also bring about a paradigm shift within, could head for a nose dive.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who rose to fame and power with his high-octane rhetoric on corruption, finds himself in a quandary in a rather short period.

Arvind Kejriwal's own comrade and former Delhi miniser Kapil Mishra has opened a can of worms by alleging that Kejriwal took a bribe of Rs 2 crore from health minister Satyendra Jain in his presence.

This is exactly what confronts Arvind Kejriwal.

He had, in the past, levelled allegations of corruption against several persons - Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Robert Vadra, the Ambanis, Narendra Modi and several others.

Allegations once made need to be proven, but people with high a moral standing are expected to relinquish their office once they come under the cloud.

kapil_051217115031.jpgKejriwal's comrade Kapil Mishra himself has accused the Delhi CM of corruption. Photo: PTI

Many leaders in the past have resigned from their political posts when they were chargesheeted in the hawala scam, though it did not stand scrutiny in the court.

Kapil Mishra's allegations against Arvind Kejriwal

Charge 1: Kejriwal took 2 crore bribe from Satyendra Jain

Charge 2: Satyendra Jain settled a 50 crore deal for Kejriwal's kin

Charge 3: Corruption by AAP during Punjab polls

Charge 4: Fake bills of 10 crore cleared by PWD, Delhi government

Charge 5: Kejriwal shielded Sheila Dikshit in water tanker scam

As of now, there are only allegations against Arvind Kejriwal and he has not been chargesheeted in any case, but Mishra has furnished documents that substantiate his claims for a CBI probe.

If Kejriwal holds such high moral ground, he should be above suspicion irrespective of whether or not the charges against him are proved because he himself has set the yardstick of political morality by levelling allegations against the political leaders of the country.

Instances when Kejriwal demanded resignations on corruption grounds:

December 2016: Arvind Kejriwal demanded PM Narendra Modi's resignation on charges of accepting bribes from Sahara and Birla groups.

December 18, 2015: Alleging corruption in DDCA, Arvind Kejriwal said that Arun Jaitley should either resign or be removed to enable independent probe.

July 11, 2015: AAP demanded the resignation of MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and governor Ram Naresh Yadav over the Vyapam scam.

Jun 29, 2015: AAP held a protest march demanding the resignation of minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, fhe then HRD minister Smriti Irani and rural development minister Pankaja Munde.

June 23, 2015: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should initiate steps against external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje for allegedly helping former IPL boss Lalit Modi.

May 22, 2014: Arvind Kejriwal sent to jail for defaming BJP's Nitin Gadkari.

Even the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler, who did a volte face from their stated positions, remained free from the taint of corruption.

Napoleon gave France its first republican constitution, but declared himself Emperor once he grew powerful.

He invited the Pope for his coronation to bequeath legitimacy to his rule. When the Pope was about to crown him, Napoleon is said to have grown so impatient that he snatched the crown from the Pope and wore it himself.

modikejriwal1512fb_1_051217115128.jpgArvind Kejriwal demanded PM Narendra Modi's resignation on charges of accepting bribes from Sahara and Birla groups. Photo: PTI

Hitler came to power by dishonouring all leaders and parties, but once elected, he ruled the Nazi party autocratically by declaring himself the Fuhrer, or the absolute ruler.

The ruler demanded total obedience of subordinates as he conceived the government to be like a pyramid, with him being right at the top.

He was so insecure that he encouraged distrust, rivalry and infighting in the ranks to enjoy unquestioned authority.

During his early days of political activism, Kejriwal emphasised doing away with the high command culture and spoke of a shift in the political paradigm. But, ironically, he remains the supremo and the highest command in his own party. Nothing moves in his party without his nod; dissent has no place.

He went against his own stated position that he would not hold any constitutional position, he grabbed the post of chief minister at the first instance of winning the election, but did not resign from the post of national convenor of his party, defying the principle of one-man, one-post.

Kejriwal swore in the name of his children that he would not form a government with the support of the Congress, but went ahead with the move.

After 49 days of ruling Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal regretted the mistake of quitting and said that he and his party would serve only Delhi.

In fact, on February 14, 2015, when Arvind Kejriwal took oath a second time, he said he would concentrate only on Delhi. And he did everything but that.

Arvind Kejriwal (November 6, 2014): "We are only concentrating on Delhi. As far as I am concerned, I am going to focus on Delhi for next five to 10 years."

Arvind Kejriwal (February 14, 2015): "Over the last few days I have heard some of our volunteers talk about fighting more state elections. This is wrong."

"We paid for our arrogance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. God punished us for it. I will stay here for the next five years and work for Delhi with full dedication."

When his party was wiped out in the Lok Sabha elections, he got desperate to get majority in the Legislative Assembly, which was in suspended animation, and sought to form the government without an election.

The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, in its overconfidence after winning the Haryana elections, held fresh elections in Delhi. It revived Kejriwal's fortunes.

Kejriwal promised to put former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit behind the bars for her alleged corrupt practices as soon as he assumed power, but till date, there is not even an FIR against her.

anna-kej.jpeg_051217115159.jpgHis mentor Anna Hazare is disenchanted with his brand of politics and feels betrayed. Photo: PTI

Arvind Kejriwal, like every other seasoned politician, used honesty as a strategy and found resounding success. But soon the self-proclaimed political reformer metamorphosed into a hardcore politician and started treading the beaten track.

He removed the names of contributors to his party from the party website on the grounds that they would be harassed by the Union government.

Did this dawn on him after coming to power? What about the promise at the formation of the AAP that they would upload all information about its funding on the party's website, which would force other political parties to do the same and usher in political transparency?

He believes in unabashed self-promotion and has no qualms about spending public money on advertising his "achievements". The Shunglu Committee on issues of propriety and governance has indicted him in this regard.

His mentor Anna Hazare is disenchanted with his brand of politics and feels betrayed. Anna was used and dumped under this strategy. The anti-corruption movement became a façade for Kejriwal to climb the ladder of power politics.

It is quite heartening that Anna stood up for his beliefs when he said that he would again sit on a fast at Jantar Mantar if the corruption charges against Kejriwal are proven.

Clearly, the Delhi CM used the plank of cracking down on corruption for his political ambitions and, after assuming power, he has not practised what he preached.

There have been only half measures.

Also read: AAP's EVM drama in Delhi Assembly was a flop show


Praveen Shekhar Praveen Shekhar

The writer is Associate Producer, TVTN.

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