The curious case of a leader in a hurry

The curious case of a leader in a hurry

He took the City by storm. Even the Opposition parties failed to gauge his charisma or the power of the aam aadmi. Maybe his open ‘honesty’, his ‘goodness’, his ‘simple, straightforward’ language of the common man, his ‘earnestness’ or the ‘rookie’ tag won him many admirers. Or maybe his ‘promises’ on water, electricity bills or assurances to the autorickshawallahs, his die-hard  fans that won him votes, catapulting him to the seat of power, much to the shock and amazement of well-established national parties. 

Calling himself an ‘aam aadmi’, former Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal changed the face of Delhi politics and shook the Opposition parties from their patronising complacence. From the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Congress, and the sundry ‘others’ in between, all were stunned after the verdict given by the ‘common man’ of Delhi. In his tumultuous tenure as CM, just for 49 days, Arvind made many ‘tall’ promises. 

After getting outside support from Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took the driver’s seat and as opinion writers and critics now say ‘literally took everyone for a ride’. First came the announcement on reduction of water tariff followed by paring down of the electricity bills and the slashing of CNG prices. The latest in this ‘reduction’ spree being a 50 per cent slash in electricity bills for the 24, 000 people who backed AAP and participated in Arvind Kejriwal’s movement against power discoms on inflated electricity bills. 

In other words this was an amnesty to those who had defaulted on paying their electricity bills during the now ‘infamous’ ‘Bijli Satyagrah’ of 2012. That this largeheartedness will cost the Delhi Government a sum of Rs 6 crore and cause much heartburn among those who as dutiful citizens duly paid their bills, inflated or otherwise, seemed a small matter of little concern!But now that the party is out of power, what happens to these tall promises? Who will fulfil them now? According to news reports, the Delhi Secretariat saw many Delhiites trooping in to get an update on the status of their complains. As expected, the officers were not there to attend to them, busy as they were  packing up things and awaiting fresh inter-department transfers/new postings.  

A Government official, Ramesh Kumar who worked with AAP on various issues, said, “Now that the government is gone, what will happen to these promises and will they be implemented now also? If the respective officers are not there in their offices, who will listen to the grievances of the common man?”

As per his ‘promise’, the pugnacious Chief Minister who resigned few days back after the Jan Lokpal Bill was blocked in Assembly, has left many questions unanswered. But most of all he seems to have left the vast army of fans and admirers hugely disappointed. The general opinion doing the rounds today is “he had a golden opportunity to do some good, clean up the system, streamline the functioning of the government, but he frittered it all away. He forgot that he was no more a street activist, but the elected Chief Minister of a State, and as such had a big responsibility to fulfill. In his fight against corruption, he seemed to have totally ignored the crucial matter of governance,” said Madan Khurana, a retired government servant. Reiterating his angst is Sharika Bhan, a young AAP supporter, who rues the Chief Minister’s decision to resign. 

“If he had to resign, why did he take up this job in the first place? Becoming the CM of Delhi was not an easy task at all – after all it is the political hub of the country. He should have ideally opted to sit in the Opposition, learnt the ropes of governance and then got into the serious business. Politics is no joke and neither is governance,” says Sharika.

Another disappointed Delhizen, Akshay Bhardwaj who commutes regularly by autorickshaw, says, “He reduced the price of CNG by Rs 15 and I really hope it continues, but I am not sure for how long as the CM has resigned. Besides the reduced CNG rates in no way helped the commuters but benefited only his dedicated vote bank--the autowallahs. I am quite sure that the next time round I am not going to vote for AAP. They did not prove themselves and we can’t take another chance.”

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