The meaning of A.A.P – part 2

There have been some private email exchanges with friends on the meaning and consequences of AAP for India. I am not optimistic. But, that is an opinion. Opinions can be many and different. But, only one set of facts is possible.

Mr. Arvind Kejriwal should have known, before he agreed to form a government in Delhi, that the Police in Delhi does not report to him but to the Lieutenant Governor. If he did not like it, he should have made that a pre-condition and not formed the government.

He could have then told his followers and the country at large that he wanted the same resources as other Chief Ministers have and that it was denied to him. He could have also shared with his followers and the public what he would have done with police reforms to make them responsive to the public, had they been placed under his government’s supervision and control.

In fact, not just about police being under his government. He could have made common cause with many Chief Ministers and local governments on de-centralisation and devolution. Ultimately, liberalisation (removing government from direct economic activity( and devolution (where government and governance is needed) are answers to India’s corruption and governance problems. Not LokPal and centralisation of power.

All this would have enhanced his stature and made many think and re-think about their own favourites. He would have raised the level of public discourse and public policy.

Even in the current episode, he could have done many things differently. If he wanted the police officials concerned to be suspended pending an enquiry, then he should extend the same treatment to his ministerial colleague who is also guilty of misbehaviour. In his demand for suspension, we should remember that the Delhi Police cannot be accused of insubordination in this case because they do not report to the Delhi government.

Furthermore, whether Mr. Kejriwal intended it to be the case or not, his Minister’s ill-treatment of Ugandan nationals happened on the day that China extended diplomatic favours to Nigeria. Now, on the Republic Day, India will host Japan’s PM as the guest. India needs Japan as much as Japan needs India as a market and as a counterweight to China. By sullying and damaging India’s international image and perhaps preventing or adversely impacting the Republic Day Parade, he is playing into China’s hands.

As some one who said that he would not mind standing for Lok Sabha if his party wanted it, is this what he wants to do for India?

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3 thoughts on “The meaning of A.A.P – part 2

  1. A knowledgeable friend sent me this comment and gave me permission to post it here:

    “Delhi is NOT a state and in my view should not be. The District of Columbia does not have a Senator or a Representative, a sore point there too but they have stuck to that. On the police issue–please note that the Centre pays most of the bill for policing the national capital. Other States foot the bill for their own policing. The Centre paid most of the cost of the Delhi Metro–that was on the basis of its being the national capital. Chennai, Bangalore and other cities got no fiscal concessions and far less Union money for their infrastructure projects. Apples must be compared with apples; full statehood will hugely increase the fiscal burden on the Delhi government and eventually on the local taxpayers. Delhi is the most pampered and Centrally subsidised city in India. Both Congress and BJP wearing their federal hat, understand this, but at the state level both play the game of asking for statehood on the basis of it being a harmless game.”

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  2. Dear Ananth,

    I regret to say that you are giving far too much credit to Kejriwal and his band of jokers. I don’t credit them with much intelligence to think through policies, action-and-reaction, and all that sort of thing. They seem to live for the moment, what next do we do to get ourselves on national TV, seems to be the extent of their thinking.

    Is it possible that a “law” minister who can carefully arrange for media coverage at 3 AM as he goes about “catching law-breakers” has forgotten about arranging for an arrest warrant, unless his entire focus is getting himself on TV? This whole crew makes me want to puke.

    Fortunately the AAP seems to be turning off people extremely fast. Adding to everyone’s daily inconvenience through an open-ended dharna is an own-goal of epic proportions. If the AAP actually goes through with disrupting the Republic Day Parade, then no amount of santimonious humbuggery will save them from the wrath of the public, which eagerly looks forward to that day, whatever might be their political affiliations during the other 364 days of the year.

    As you said in yesterday’s column, Godspeed to the AAP in its path of self-destruction.

    Best wishes.

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