Though nothing can be ruled out when it comes to the Aam Aadmi Party, the latest sit-in at the residence of the Delhi Lt Governor, Anil Baijal, did come as a surprise. But then, Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, can resort to anything gimmicky to stay in the news, and, more importantly, to deflect focus from his own failures. On Thursday, the protest sit-in at the LG House by the Delhi cabinet led by Kejriwal entered the fourth day.
Ostensibly, the demand is that the LG persuade the Delhi Government bureaucrats to cooperate with the elected government. But, if it is true that the bureaucrats are not cooperating, it has nothing to do with the Delhi LG. And everything to do with Kejriwal’s own egregious behaviour with the chief secretary Anshu Prakash. He was roughed up on the midnight of February 19 at the chief minister’s residence in Kejriwal’s presence as part of a planned midnight drama to intimidate him into issuing a questionable advertisement on behalf of the Delhi Government on its completion of three years in office. A police complaint was filed by the victim which was now being investigated. The refusal of Kejriwal to apologise for the attack on the CS made the bureaucracy wary, with it insisting on written orders and on strictly adhering to the work manual.
Even otherwise, it had become routine for Kejriwal to abuse the LG and the central government day in and day out for real or imagined grievances. He accused them almost daily of non-cooperation and obstruction in the great work that his government wanted to do for the people of Delhi. He seemed to be constantly hallucinating about ‘Modi this and Modi that’ without ever putting his own nose to the grindstone for him to be able to perform as chief minister. As repeatedly warned by his own well-wishers that his antics may have become counter-productive, especially given that Shiela Dikshit as Delhi Chief Minister had had no problem with the Vajpayee Government or earlier Madan Lal Khurana as Delhi Chief Minister had worked smoothly with a non-Congress government at the Centre.
That Delhi was not a full-fledged State was known to Kejriwal when he first got elected to head the Delhi Government. His challenge was to prove that he was different from his predecessors by performing better and without any trace of corruption. Instead, he advertised his failure by blaming all else other than himself and duly proved that the AAP Government had no clue as to how to administer. Not a day passes without Kejriwal or one of his henchmen blaming the LG, the bureaucracy, the Modi Government for becoming an obstacle in its path. Without doubt, all these entities may well feel to be under no obligation to coopearate after all the abuses hurled at them, but somehow the system has to work. Confrontation and conflict with all and sundry authorities having become his calling card, the sit-in at the LG House was probably the proverbial last straw at the camel’s back. A petition is to be heard in the Delhi high court next week challenging Kejriwal’s sit-in, and seeking directions that he perform his official duties under the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the support to the sit-in from the likes of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and others, who see it through the tinted anti-Modi glasses, can only encourage the AAP supremo to behave ever more recklessly. Having seen too many such sit-ins — he had sat outside Rail Bhawan on the eve of the Republic Day in his first stint as CM — most Delhiites have got fed up with his daily antics. With the AAP fortunes floundering fast in Punjab, Kejriwal is bound to feel more and more desperate, more and more frustrated. However, the Centre would be making a huge mistake if ever thought of dismissing the Delhi Government. Give Kerjiwal a long rope, he is bound to finish off the AAP, and with it, the hopes of a genuine change that it had first aroused riding on the shoulders of a fasting Anna Hazare. Since then, Kejriwal has exposed himself as a street-level agitator and nothing more. Delhi deserved better.