Unfit to govern

By resigning in petulance after remaining in office for just 49 days, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has shown that it is not fit for governance. The Arvind Kejriwal government decided to throw in the towel after its very first major test in the legislature.

The decision will not be considered as a protest against a rule-bound and corrupt establishment as the AAP would project it, but as running away from the responsibility it had been entrusted with. The AAP government had promised to enact a Jan Lokpal Bll if it came to power. But it was wrong to try to rush through the legislation in violation of established procedures. When it required the prior approval of the lieutenant-governor, as mandated by the law and abided to by previous governments, there was no need to force it through the House without such an approval. Both the Congress and the BJP had announced that they supported the bill, but not the unconstitutional way it was sought to be passed. So, what was the need for the hurry?

It is clear that the Kejriwal government was looking for an excuse and an opportunity to exit. It had made many promises during the campaign but could have found that governance was different from staging protests. During the few weeks it was in power, it also attracted adverse attention with some controversial actions, like a dharna staged by Kejriwal in a public place. Some ministers took vigilantist actions and the chief minister supported them. The resignation also conforms to the penchant for theatrics shown by the party’s leaders. But drama is no substitute for good administration. 

Agitation and administration cannot go together. Kejriwal declared himself to be an anarchist but a government cannot run, flouting rules and creating chaos and disorder. The AAP hopes that it can retain and expand its popular support by assuming the role of a victim and martyr. But parties cannot thrive for long on symbolism, sensationalism and on an offer of hope. The AAP gained from the anger of people against corruption and disillusionment with mainstream parties. But it could not form a government of its own. Adherence to the processes of democratic governance and rules of conduct is important for any government, whether it is a minority or a majority dispensation, and whatever changes it wants to make. The Kejriwal government failed in this respect and the party is now trying to make a virtue of the failure.

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