This Article is From Dec 02, 2014

The AAP Soap Opera of Allegations and Anarchy

(Nalin S Kohli is spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Director of the party's Public Policy Research Centre. He is also a lawyer and has extensive experience in media and education.)

Allegations, fabrications, untruths, controversy - all seem to mark Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party's style of functioning. One is tempted to view Team Kejriwal as the undisputed soap opera series in the news media. Each day, the viewer is subjected to another episode of an unending saga of wild allegations, delivered with the theatrics of a seasoned performer. It is almost, in a macabre sense, the entertainment of the day. One needs a Pink Floyd moment here to follow the antics of AAP -  "a momentary lapse of reason".

Let us examine the latest set of allegations by Mr Kejriwal. The BJP, he alleges, is offering Rupees 20 crore to wean away MLAs from his faithful flock, to form a government in Delhi. Simultaneously, the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi, Mr Najeeb Jung, was all set to invite the BJP to form the government by the end of the day (17th July).  Hysterical sound bytes on TV and articles in print mark his position.

However, in all the din of allegations, a fundamental question remains unanswered - is there any concrete evidence to back these claims? The man, who as Chief Minister repeatedly advised citizens of Delhi to record demands of bribes as sting operations on their mobile phones, has failed to produce a shred of evidence that confirms his allegations.

On the contrary and as a twist in the tale, a senior Congress MLA Asif Mohd Khan claimed on a television channel that it was in fact Mr Manish Sisodia of the AAP, who approached him about forming the government in Delhi. Mr Khan stated that a senior founder member of AAP met him and even claimed to have SMSes from Mr Sisodia inviting him to his in-laws' residence in Ghaziabad, for detailed talks and to escape the media's glare.

Not unexpectedly, by the end of the day, the LG of Delhi did not call the BJP, or any other party, for talks on government formation. The  AAP leadership preferred  silence on Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyaya's demand for an apology. However, an AAP spokesperson eminently welcomed BJP MLA R P Singh's defamation notice against these allegations - confirming once again the AAP's mainstay - any opportunity for further publicity.

Further, in his article "Narendra Modi is Going the Indira Gandhi Way" Mr Ashutosh tries to build  an argument that it is the BJP and its leadership including Dr Harsh Vardhan who are displaying "disrespect for people's will and constitutional morality". Was the "people's will" better served when the AAP government in its 49-day stint in office, sought to reward those who broke the law during their electricity agitation, and in the process seek to punish all law abiding citizens who regularly and honestly paid their electricity bills? In what manner is "constitutional morality" served through such a strange inverted model of rule of law which seeks to reward the offenders?

Mr Ashutosh also casts aspersions about Mr Modi's cabinet and BJP President Amit Shah while conveniently forgetting that he himself is a named offender in an FIR  for vandalism, documented on TV, and possibly has already been charge-sheeted for the offences by the Delhi Police.

Again, AAP leaders while attacking the BJP on the issue of allegedly wanting to avoid assembly elections in Delhi, have no coherent answer as to why, in a letter dated 19th May, Mr Kejriwal specifically wrote to the LG not to dissolve the assembly.  Indeed, why did Mr Kejriwal seek time barely six weeks ago when he had no numbers to back him? What happened ? Was no one ready to support his theatrics? Isn't it the same LG, now partisan for the AAP, who invited Mr Kejriwal to form the government in December 2013 despite not having a clear majority? Was the LG partisan to invite Mr Kejriwal then?

The people of Delhi  gave the AAP a dream run, an opportunity to  live up to the promises they put forth. Sadly, instead of a dream, Mr Kejriwal delivered a nightmare. He hysterically pointed to problems, with no coherent and sustainable solutions to offer. His supporters were rewarded with rebates in electricity rates for not paying their bills, and those who  paid honestly, were "punished" with no rebates in rates. He backed his law minister who, inept in governance, conducted illegal raids on women in the middle of the night, asking for their immediate arrest without any respect for either law or procedure.

When confronted with the chaos that his "vision", and the bizarre actions of his party members had contributed to, if not created, he proclaimed himself an anarchist. Did he hope that this self-proclamation would explain and justify his lack of coherence? Or does he truly believe that anarchy is an alternative to governance?

The real Aam Aadmi of India desires serious governance. They seek performance, not pontification. That's why Mr Kejriwal's government lasted 49 days, even if he resigned of his own accord. And that is why, after 25 years of coalitions, Mr Narendra Modi's government  has a clear majority. He isn't Prime Minister because he willed it, as AAP seems to suggest. The people have given him and the BJP a mandate for governance.

In terms of political growth, Mr Kejriwal and his colleagues were transported directly from political infancy to adulthood. It is about time that the AAP displays some political maturity. Or else they run the risk of political irrelevance and oblivion, if they are not already there.

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