AAP in the wrong, must apologise

AAP in the wrong, must apologise

The charge of Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash that he was assaulted by two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs on Monday in the presence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal shows the party in a much poorer light than it has ever been in. The image of the party and its government has suffered serious knocks and steadily deteriorated after it came to power in Delhi. But the manhandling of the official marks a new low. Kejriwal's image also stands diminished because he does not seem to have tried to stop his MLAs from attacking the official. Two MLAs have been arrested on the chief secretary's complaint to the police.

The AAP MLAs and the party have denied the chief secretary's charge but their version of the incident is hard to believe. In the first place, it was wrong to hold the meeting at midnight at the chief minister's residence, with many MLAs attending it. Anshu Prakash says he was called to discuss the delay in the AAP government's publicity campaign, but the party says the meeting was convened to discuss the delay in ration disbursal. But the food minister was not present at the meeting. The party has also said the chief secretary made casteist remarks against two MLAs. It is difficult to prove what exactly happened, but the fact remains that Anshu Prakash sustained injuries and the circumstances do not support AAP's version of the story. It is difficult to believe that the chief secretary cooked up the entire story to malign the AAP.  

The Kejriwal government and the senior officials of the Delhi administration have been in conflict. Doubtless, the central government has used the bureaucracy and the lieutenant governor to trouble, paralyse and defame the state government for political reasons. Delhi's special administrative set-up made this possible. But the AAP cannot solve this problem by being perpetually confrontationist and stooping to the level of using physical violence. It should learn how to deal with and get along with bureaucrats who implement the government's policies. The Aam Aadmi Party became popular and gained power promising a new political culture and governance style. But the functioning of the party and the government has shown that it is no different than other parties. Indeed, it may be in danger of becoming worse. It is no longer on its high moral ground and has disappointed many of its supporters and admirers everywhere. The party should apologise to the chief secretary and rebuild its relations with the bureaucracy. Of course, this won't be easy with the BJP-led Centre trying to fish in the troubled waters, but then that's the politics that AAP must master while staying above board all through.    

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