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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Friday, 21 March 2014 | Ashwani Lohani | in Oped

Arvind Kejriwal must take stock of the reasons why he has gone wrong. He will discover there are many of them
The ascent and descent of Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal have a commonality — both have been rapid and beyond comparison. The rise from an RTI activist and a street-level anarchist to the Chief Minister of the country’s capital-State left almost all political parties gaping and gasping. The rapid growth in his popularity and the clamour of even the most ordinary citizens of the capital to see him in the hot seat and take the city forward was indeed spell-binding and at times extremely astonishing.
It was clear that the people, who, over a period of time had grown sick of poor governance and rampant corruption, were rooting for a change. The first person who appeared capable of bringing in that  change was lapped up. Mr Kejriwal appeared as someone who has the rare blend of commitment, capability and integrity. His appeal to the masses to overthrow the State Government that looted the exchequer in the garb of preparing for the Commonwealth Games in 2010, therefore, did not go in vain. For the first time in the history of the nation, school-children and auto-drivers alike were enamoured of this strange man who emerged on the national political scene, almost overnight.
The ongoing rapid decline that we are witness to these days is also as dramatic and as astonishing as his ascent, even though the election results alone would provide the real proof. Total disenchantment withMr Kejriwal and his ilk is visible in the aam aadmi’s drawing rooms as well as at road-side discussions. His posters on the auto-rickshaws of Delhi have now been replaced by the posters of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whom the nation apparently wants to see in the driver’s seat following the Lok Sabha election. It appears that Mr Kejriwal is a spent one-time phenomenon despite his integrity and a very short spell of governance. Even his detractors are convinced of his absolute inadequacy in giving results in the warped governance machinery of this nation.
So, what went wrong?
Mr Kejriwal went wrong in failing to live up to the expectations that he only helped fuel and fan. It is evident that he has miserably failed in his understanding of the tantra in his eagerness to govern. He raised expectations that obviously could not be fulfilled in a short time or in the flawed manner which he had adopted. This was his first folly.
The second was his penchant for taking up issues that were not within his competence. One fails to understand why he did not take up matters like improvement of infrastructure, schools, hospitals and basic governance that were within his domain. Instead, he wasted time and energy in trying to bring the police under his wings. Perhaps completing the ongoing improvement works at Connaught Place at the heart of New Delhi and giving it a new look would have given him a mileage that would have carried him far.
The third mistake on his part was his anarchic style of working. Threats and dharnas by the head of a State Government almost on a daily basis and then actually carrying one out in front of the Rail Bhawanearned him the ire of the masses. He failed to realise that even his supporters had turned away from an anarchist Chief Minister.
The fourth is his holier-than-thou attitude. He failed to realise that not everyone is tainted, when he painted everyone with the same brush. Mr Kejriwal’s accusations, sans substance, hurt him more than they harmed those whom these accusations and abuses were hurled at.
And, last but not the least, his utter failure in even attempting to build any credibility during the period he was in power, served as the icing on the terrible cake. He did not lose credibility — because he started with none and also ended with none. Had he moved in the direction of giving some results on the ground, results that the people of Delhi could have seen or felt, and then in a few months actually delivered something, his credibility, in the backdrop of his mass adulation, would have soared sky high. Even his acts of anarchy would then have been condoned by the people who have since moved away from him. His failure to appreciate that it is delivery and delivery alone that the nation is crying for, has cost him dear.
Mr Kejriwal frittered away that golden chance given to him on a platter. His is a case of failed and foiled hopes; a return seems unlikely. Perhaps it is in the fitness of things that the nation, for the sake of good governance, gets governed by those who know good governance, have the experience of delivering it on the ground, and who inspire confidence by their conduct, integrity and personality.


  1. You echoed my thoughts. Something that comes in a flash goes off in a flash

  2. Excellent analysis. Yes, this is what is the opinion of many now. Sharing for others to read.

  3. Very well written. I agree with your observations!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.