Kejriwal must learn to be pragmatic

Never mind the hung assembly in Delhi, the decimation of the Congress and the BJP’s emergence as the single largest party. The real winner in the three-way contest is Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party.

But by rejecting a mutually-honourable working pact with other parties, Kejriwal is pushing the city to another round of elections with no surety of a decisive outcome. He refuses to acknowledge that after the no-holds-barred battle, it’s time for accommodation without compromising on the fundamentals of a clean and efficient regime. If not supplemented by humility, reason and a far-sighed vision, rhetoric loses its appeal.

The people of Delhi hadn’t voted for AAP — the new kid on the block — to deny the city a government. What’s plausible cannot be cynically dismissed as undoable or immoral. In a fractured polity, adversaries are expected to work together on the basis of a common agenda that cannot be dictated by one stakeholder.

When Kejriwal must yield an inch to gain a mile in the longer run, he’s behaving like a trade unionist rather than the leader of a party mandated to govern. It’s the absolutist in the former civil servant that has pitted him against the BJP-Congress on government formation and Anna Hazare on the Lokpal Bill set to have Parliament’s consent.

Much of AAP’s support indeed was for its avant-garde approach to politics and governance. Kejriwal must keep that novelty. But he must not forget that he’s disrespecting the majority of the popular vote he did not get by refusing to do business with others who have a legislative presence in the yet-to-be constituted House.

In fact, the seemingly inevitable President’s rule preceded by a repeat election will be a vote of no-confidence in the native wisdom of the Delhi electorate. The people know pretty well that post-election arrangements are a necessary compromise when the verdict’s fractured.

Even as he acts stubborn and uncompromising, Kejriwal’s detractors have started against him a whisper campaign, the thrust of it being that he’s running away from responsibility as there’s no way he can fulfill some of his “unrealistic” campaign-time promises. In the event of another election, the impatient electorate might opt for the devil they know (read the BJP).

If that happens, it’ll be a tragic set back for a promising political venture, not to mention the popular desire for change.

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  • Anonymous

    Very truly said. AAP must form Govt and start implementing their agenda. If others oppose and AAP Govt falls, Delhi-ites will teach them a lesson; if AAP fails in fulfilling their promises, then AAP will be finished.


    Tej N Tiwary Reply:

    How can he compel the electricity companies to reduce the tariff by half and convince the investors to keep investing. The chief ministers of various states know how helpless they feel in front of these investors. No investment means no tax. No tax means no free water. No tax means more taxes on various items. More taxes on various items means more price-rise. Everything is not as simple as these so called reformists think.
    However, I do appreciate that importance of corruption as an issue has been brought by them to the attention of political parties and they should work as a pressure group. In my opinion, they are not made to rule.


  • Rajesh

    A new election cost the corruption money of a single BJP/Congress MLA only. Why much ado about nothing. People want election to bring AAP with full majority,


    Suraj Reply:

    Keep playing with figures, but reality is in this over burdened economy people need relief. Enough of philosophy and principles dose. People want some action now. This time people and specially slum dwellers are ready with the broom publicized by AAP and if relief is not provided to them soon then this time AAP will be at the receiving end of broom.


    terry john Reply:

    Who told you that ‘people want to bring back Kejriwal’? His immature conduct, negative attitude and arrogance has ensured that he will not win a single seat. People like a strong leader and not a childish person.


  • Nav

    AAP is a new party. They have to first establish themselves and then fight for there relevance in the overcrowded political arena of India. At this stage if they form an alliance with any of the major parties it will prove detrimental to them because they will not be considered an alternative. Before they have presence in a significant number of states and they have a significant number of followers they can’t dilute their agenda.

    Actually they can play a better role being in the opposition than in the government. In this role they will act as a major pressure group to get anti-graft legislations and other reforms passed from the legislature. Just look at the consensus in the political circle on the lokpal bill. It is because of AAP (and not Anna’s fast) as they have brought the issue of corruption at the forefront. The more AAP grows stronger the more political parties would try to clean up their act. The rise of AAP is due to the public’s anger towards corruption which is sending a strong message to other political parties.

    Even in opposition AAP is making a contribution. By being in government they will get involved in day to day administration and would not be able to put pressure on other political parties in federal and state governments. At best AAP can rule 4-5 states which is not going to make a huge difference in a vast country like India. AAP can actually make a bigger difference in a shorter period if they have a presence in Lok Sabha and some of the major states in opposition while constantly talking about governance and corruption and putting pressure on the ruling governments to clean up their act.


  • Anil

    ..Vinod Sharma writes something very sensible this time. Time for Kejriwal to deliver and he could use this opportunity to build up his case with examples.

    Actions speakes louder than word.


  • karim dada

    AAP do not have majority; BJP is the single largest party. So why are you guys behind Kejriwal? On what grounds will he form the government? We all know BJP and Cong tactics. Nobody should form the gov’mnt without 36 MLA support. Even if its presidents rule, let it be. The author of this article seems to a BJP supporter.


  • Niranjan Desai

    The biggest achievement of Kejriwal is, he put in trash criminal & corrupt sheila dikshit.


  • Niranjan Desai

    The biggest achievement of Kejriwal is, he kicked out criminal & corrupt sheila dikshit.


  • Niranjan Desai

    well done kejriwal.


  • Mankuzhi Murali

    AAP should accept this challenge,boldly form their government to implement the much needed poll promises to people. They should not shy away since Congress will never try to dislodge them since they are fully aware that Congress will get decimated if they back stab AAP and AAP or BJP will win with thumbing majority next time. Congress main strategy is to keep BJP away from power in Delhi for which they are ready to sacrifice power for a period of time. Once BJP misses another 5 years more, it would be two decades of BJP without power and voters may not find them worthy to rule Delhi,thereafter and will lose voter’s confidence. It is a golden opportunity to AAP to prove Indians people that they can agitate good and also rule better than the national parties.


  • Suraj

    AAP keeps playing with facts and figures, but reality is in this over burdened economy
    people need relief. Enough of philosophy and principles dose. People
    want some action now. This time people and specially slum dwellers are
    ready with the broom publicized by AAP and if relief is not provided to
    them soon then this time AAP will be at the receiving end of broom.


  • Ajay Chandra

    One can clearly see through the charade. How serious is the Congress regarding the support offered to AAP when the Congress letter of support agreeing to 18 points asked by Arvind is signed by Mr Shakeel Ahmed ( not by Rahul / Sonia )

    * Whats the locus standi of a guy like Shakeel Ahmed even in Congress ?

    * The letter is not signed by Rahul / Sonia, so that when Congress withdraws support later, Mr Rahul / Sonia should stay protected ( away from any questioning as always )


  • U. Banerjee

    1) Do we necessarily need to forget our experiences with Minority/Coalition government (UPA and others) in which the tail holds the body to ransom? No. The costs of such quality(?) governance is for all to see and suffer! Even for a small burrough like Delhi, the costs of mis-governance arising out of coalition politics will be many times more than that of a re-poll.

    2) ‘another round of elections with no surety of a decisive outcome’. That the results are split & indecisive is not the doing of the AAP. The voters too have to learn to be decisive, else be prepared to bear the costs. Voters must be pragmatic enough to appreciate that a minority government has its hands tied many times over that prevent delivery of any semblance of the governance that is required, more so today in the context of the issues that need to be tackled head-on, corruption, vested interests to name just two.


  • Girish

    As a regular BJP voter, I am surprised by the stand BJP has taken post-elections and demoralized by both BJP & Congress behaviours these days. While watching recent interviews, I feel both the biggies have joined hands to bully AAP. While the focus should’ve been on BJP to form the govt. and AAP would’ve been a real good opposition, I think BJP’s real worry is exactly that which is why they are pushing all focus to AAP.


  • (Dr.) B.N. Anand

    Sharma Saheb, it is good that after all you and the other congress leaders have understood the credibility of Kejriwal. How congress treats such selfless workers with contempt is shown by the manner in which Mrs. Sheila Dixit had asked who is this Kejriwal when asked about her chances against him after voting had ended in Delhi elections. Indeed she got the answer next day when results of elections started pouring. Now congress has offered unconditional support to that very person. That is a political revolution , if not in the country, at least it is in Delhi. Yes, you gave him the right suggestion now to form the govt with congress support to fulfil his election pledges to the Delhi people which other parties call impractical. Indeed, something good has started coming out as both BJP and AAP are passing buck to each other when each of these parties were invited for forming the govt. That is very much unlike Haryana and uttarakhand where congress could maneouver defections from other parties to form their govt. Hopefully, the era of Aya Ram and Gaya Ram has been buried with the results of these Delhi results.


  • John

    Why everybody is behind AAP.. they are good number of seats short than BJP…. All the party are trying to score points by asking AAP to form government and all know without Majority.. it will be tough for AAP to govern…


  • vijay !

    In case if there is another hung assembly… what will Kejriwal do then? ANOTHER ELECTION?


  • Mani PJ

    AAP has done very well in the Delhi election. No doubt about it. But as the media keeps saying “Historical debut” which is a debatable point. Nothing historical about it as compared to the emergence of AGP (Asam Gana Parishad) from the agitation of AASU in Assam and forming a government in Asaam in 1985 and also the formation of TDP in Andhra Pradesh in 1982 and coming to power in 1983 with 2/3rds majority are the historical debuts of a newly formed parties.

    Both AGP and TDP also talked about corruption free and peoples government. They have caught the imagination of the voter and came to power thrashing the main opposition party Congress during those times.

    However in the case of AAP, no doubt it has got 28 seats and almost decimated Congress. But is it really a historical performance?. by what standards.

    While talking about the performance of AAP, shall we give the credit only to AAP in reducing Congress to 8. Then what is the role of BJP, is it a side kick party after getting 32 seats.

    The voter is angry with Congress and corruption and there is a huge anti- incumbency prevailing in Delhi. So if we have to say the verdict is more of anti congress rather than in favour of AAP. If its in favour of AAP, at least it should have get the seats required for forming the Government. At least it should have been the Single Largest party. Both didn’t happen. Actually what AAP did was scuttling the chances of BJP to come to power. Even with this so called wind blowing in favour of AAP, BJP could get 32 seats and 4 more than AAP. That itself indicates that the entire Delhi has not gone with AAP. BJP could hold on to its strength.

    Coming to the formation of Government. BJP is categorical in saying that they are not in a position to form the Govt as they are not getting support from anyone. As far as AAP is concerned, initially they said that AAP is neither giving support to or take support from any party as all are corrupt parties. When that is the stand taken by AAP and AK just around 8th and 9th of December, then what made them to rethink about their stand by 16th. Why they have to take the opinion of Delhi people to decide whether they want to form the government or not with the support of Congress. If they say this is deepening of democracy on 8th and 9th why did they say categorically that they wont support and take support from any party. At that time itself they should have told that we will decide after talking to the public. When there were allegations about Shajia Ilmi and Kumar Viswas, did AAP asked the opinion of Delhi public, whether what has been shown on the tapes is correct or not. Whether the public believe the news or not. they have taken their own decision saying the tapes are doctored.

    In a representative democracy, the electorate has already given their verdict and AAP has got 28 seats. Now AAP has to decide within its MLAs whether to form the Govt. or not. What is the need to go to people?. Are you not denigrating the institutions of Assembly and Election process itself. Are you going to take peoples opinion for every decision what are you going to take during the process of governance. If electricity rates have to be increased because of rising cost of inputs, will AAP ask the people of Delhi. if they say “NO” to the increase, will they stop increasing. How will they run the government. If for everything you are going to people, then why do you require MLAs. Scrap all of them and keep conducting referendums only every time.

    After giving their verdict also (even though a fractured verdict) if you are going to the people everytime, it means that you dont know how to govern.

    AAPs biggest problem is their arrogance. They talk as if Honesty is their back yard property and other than them no one is corruption-free and no one is honest. But people have to remember that honest politicians are there in every party. Manik Sarkar of Tripura (CPM) and Manohar Parikar of Goa (BJP) are only two of the examples.

    Secondly Arvind Kejrival has said in an interview that crores of rupees have been spent by vested in interests in all the political parties to separate Anna Hazare and him.

    By giving this statement, is AK doubting the integrity of Anna or doubting his own? How money spent by other political parties can separate these two?

    If Anna and AK have good understanding on the issues which are core to the society why on earth any money power can separate them?. AK has to understand that his “EGO” is coming in between them and not anyone’s money power.

    If AK talks like this with press and people, over a period of time, the public which has supported AAP also will desert them in the due course.

    AAP is dodging the government formation because if they form the government and fail to deliver on the promises made by them in their manifesto, by 2014 General elections for parliament, they will be wiped out.

    So to pull it as a movement and flag bearer of Anti Corruption movement, AAP wants to go into 2014 May – June without forming the government in Delhi.


  • jee

    yes, indeed the mandate in not for AAP, nor for BjJP but certainly it is not for the Congress. The APP should have worked out some common minimum programme with BJP, respecting the people’s mandate.After all managing finance will ultimately depend on balance of receipts and expenditure so one should sound Utopian