What have we come to? On Tuesday, the Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash filed a complaint with the police that he was assaulted by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party legislators in the presence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia at midnight the previous day. The police have converted the complaint into an FIR and taken into custody the two MLAs who allegedly hit Prakash.
According to the chief secretary, he was ordered to reach Kejriwal’s house at midnight by one of his aides to discuss the release of a television advertisement on the completion of three years of the AAP Government. Though, the Delhi Government had flooded the print media and plastered the billboards with ads boasting about its alleged achievements, the TV ad was held up because the copy had run foul of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. Instead of modifying the ad to satisfy the court-prescribed guidelines, Kerjiwal was badgering Prakash to ensure its release unedited.
Late on Monday night, as required, he reached Kerjiwal’s residence. And was asked why he had failed to release the said ad. Going to the CM’s residence at that unearthly hour for discussing not an urgent emergency, such as a major late night accident, but an ad singing paeans to Kerjiwal was meant to humiliate the senior-most bureaucrat in the Delhi Government. Yet, Prakash did go as ordered. And soon found himself shouted at and hit on the head by the MLAs, he said in his complaint. To hoodwink the people, the AAP responded that the CS was actually summoned to discuss the denial of rations to people due to the Aadhaar-related problems.
This was not an after-thought. No. It was a plain lie. One, the issue could have been discussed during the office hours. Two, more importantly, neither the concerned civil supplies minister nor the top bureaucrat in the Civil Supplies Department was present. On Tuesday, once the word spread about the assault on the chief secretary, Delhi Government employees, particularly from the IAS and other Class-I services, in a show of solidarity held a candle-light demonstration to protest the criminal conduct of the AAP leaders.
While Kerjiwal himself refused to comment, his minions called the charge baseless, with one of the assaulters claiming that he was abused by Prakash who used derogatory terms for his Dalit caste. This was typical AAP behavior. Unable to work within the constitutional system, Kerjiwal has sought to ram-road his way, arrogating to himself the powers of an absolutist ruler. This is not the first time that he has targeted senior bureaucrats. Right from the time he became chief minister three years ago, his relations with top bureaucrats have been strained.
The reason is straightforward. While the bureaucrats are rule-bound and must follow in word the stipulated rules and regulations, Kejriwal behaves like a dictator, albeit an elected one. Though he himself was a mid-level member of the revenue service, he had an indifferent career record. But at least he ought to be mindful of the norms and proprieties that must prevail in the constitutional order. Instead, he seeks to pull wool over the eyes of the aam aadmi, the same who is only concerned about getting free water and electricity, that he alone is their saviour while everyone else is determined to deny them their due.
This sort of cheap and self-serving narrative has fetched AAP votes of the poor, but increasingly as the Kejriwal crowd of roughnecks assaults the established order, they too would come to realise the utter selfishness and falsehoods of the AAP supremo. Politicians like Kejriwal are a disgrace, especially when they continue to line their pockets with filthy lucre as anyone else before them. Remember Kerjiwal’s own brother-in-law was found helping himself to crores from the Delhi PWD on fraudulent claims. Or that three of his ministers had to quit on proven grounds of corruption. But the Centre will be well-advised to leave Kerjriwal well alone. He is bound to fall on his own due to his daily follies. His hubris is his undoing.