This Article is From Jan 23, 2014

Blog: What Arvind Kejriwal proved with his protest, by Captain Gopinath

(Captain GR Gopinath founded Air Deccan and is considered a pioneer in the low-cost airline sector. He recently joined Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party)

Did AAP lose its image and some of its sheen after the two-day 'hold out' and its unseemly, unruly and anarchic behaviour? Depends on who you ask.

What did AAP accomplish? On the face of it, very little. The centre has not ceded ground, it just supplied a compromise, a face-saving formula for both sides. Two junior officers have gone on full paid leave. But the AAP achieved this:  the centre has learnt that it can't take AAP lightly the next time there's a just and legitimate demand. They can't go back to the old ways of forming committees and panels whenever there's a demand or dispute and then relegate the cause to discussions for five or 10 years.

They now know Kejriwal will be as good as his threat. With a few committed people, he is capable of bringing Delhi to its knees. He's irreverent, unconventional and fearless, tenacious and possesses the instinct of a guerilla . He will dispense with table manners and hold you hostage.    

One more thing the AAP achieved even if nothing has changed on the ground or rule books. The Delhi police will be on their toes. They will move with lightening speed next time they get a complaint from an aam admi. Earlier they moved with speed only when a khaas admi gave a call and had to be prodded otherwise.

The blockading of an important nerve centre of Delhi by AAP was the result of Kejriwal's demand for the suspension of four junior-level police officers for dereliction of duty. So when the demand was not acceded to by the centre,  the Chief Minister of Delhi and his entire cabinet, along with AAP supporters, sat in protest and  brought a part of Delhi to a halt. The second demand emanated from the first: the Delhi police must report to  the Chief Minister.


Kejriwal must remember that he has taken an oath to govern and administer Delhi. Can his cabinet and he abdicate that and renege on that pledge?  Can you ask the police force to be brought under the Chief Minister as a non-negotiable demand? Isn't the issue much larger? Did AAP not always stand for systemic institutional changes? Haven't all the Chief Ministers of all states and parties since independence and also at the Centre not misused the police and investigating agencies as their personal force and detective agency?

Is the example of states like UP and West Bengal not glaring, where the distinction between the interests of the ruling party and state have become blurred?  So what guarantee is there that the  Chief Minister of Delhi won't misuse the Delhi police just as is alleged the Home Minister at the centre is abusing the police under him ? Shouldn't the demand and protest be for implementing administrative and police reforms which the Supreme Court has recommended, to rejuvenate the police and make it effective, independent and yet accountable ?  

Since AAP has national ambitions, the more relevant and important issue is the implementation of police reforms  - on this issue,  all states and the centre have been dragging their feet for 25 years.

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