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Satya Pal Singh. December 28. 2013. KEJRIWAL CAPITAL OATH

Editorial. Satya Pal Singh. December XXVIII. XIII


Kejriwal's Capital Oath

'Honest Governance'


Satya Pal Singh  By Satya Pal Singh


Arvind Kejriwal


The historic metropolis of Delhi has made history today - a history that will go down as a silent, mesmeric revolution for change in a country that, in great measure, aspires for restitution of moral values and rectitude. Democracy that has long been under tremendous pressure mounted by political wiles, with all its levers systematically hijacked to sub-serve the interests of a privileged few, where the proverbial 'aam aadmi' stood on the edge with aspirations dying to the detriment of his very existence, is seen today to be eminently reviving its real prowess, the power of the masses. 


In a historic day when the sun shone bright and clear, exuding warmth in an otherwise inclement Delhi weather, Aam Aadmi Party rose to assume power in the Capital today,  bringing 'aam aadmi' into  sharp focus. Arvind Kejriwal, admittedly the giant of a man behind this revolutionary makeover, took oath of office as Chief Minister, along with six others as his Cabinet colleagues, in the open ambience of Ramlila Maidan, the very birthplace of the revolution where the eminent Gandhian social worker, Anna Hazare, Kejriwal and hundreds of other eminent activists once rose to assemble the common folk to sound the bugle of a massive, peaceful revolution against the rampant corruption, both within state and the society.

After taking oath, Kejriwal, in a voice of rare confidence, assured the people that the struggle against corruption and administrative rot would continue despite whatever odds his govt might have to face. His humility showed up : "Grateful & humbled by your support and wishes. This movement has been made possible by millions of Indians in India and abroad. Thank you. This journey has just started...There are promises to keep, miles to go before I sleep."  He also significantly left a hint that the fight was not limited to Delhi and that the revolution had to be broad-based, encompassing the entire country, because the common man everywhere remains on the edge. After taking oath, Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues went to Rajghat and paid homage at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi. Later, Kejriwal announced the Ministers' portfolios and chaired the first Cabinet meeting.

Anna Hazare feels confident that "Kejriwal will do good work." Kiran Bedi described it as the beginning of "simplicity and honesty in governance." A number of top national figures extended AAP leaders good wishes in their "great endeavor." Kejriwal easily passes off as a silent revolutionary quite in line with Ashis Nandy's 'intellectual street fighter' spirit. Hannath Arendt backs the concept : "...revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up." 


Anna Hazare

It's significant to note that the new party, which secured the stunning debut mandate at the hustings, had made promises in its manifesto that were rated as "unimplementable" and were variously described as pointing to a regimen of "freebies and doles", merely intended to garner votes. These were projected by both Congress and BJP as a ploy to hoodwink people. But after swearing-in, Kejriwal reasserted that all his 18 people-friendly promises would be implemented in letter and spirit. Two among these promises - 700 litres of free water to every household and electricity at 50% of the present tariff in Delhi - apparently gave the opponents to talk derisively against the AAP leaders. The challenge the AAP govt faces as it takes up its horrendous task, looks apparently gigantic, but Kejriwal maintained that they have learned to face challenges gracefully and the expectations of the people would not be belied.

Kejriwal has warned top officials to immediately get into disciplined mode, else they would face tough time. Following reports that crucial documents were being destroyed by depts before AAP govt took office, Kejriwal declared that he would hold the Chief Secretary responsible for safety of all govt files. A sting operation showed govt staff tearing up files in fear of irregularities being exposed by the new govt.   

Kejriwal, an embelished bureaucrat, who enjoyed power to tinker with the tricks of ruling political class as an IRS officer, one fine day chose to disembark from the 'sarkari' chariot to be a common man, firmly believing that moral degradation would one day prepare the ground for silent revolution. And, as the fate would have it, found Anna Hazare fighting against the evil of corruption in high places that quietly seeped the society not only of its wealth, but also its value system that was supposed to make it worthy of a dignified existence. Kejriwal climbed the pedestal of peaceful revolution to stand as a crutch to the octogenarian activist, as the multitudes, all commoners, turned up in hordes to gain their freedom from the rot.

But the saintly Anna, apolitical in his basic ministration, fell out with Kejriwal when the latter insisted that change could not be brought about without gaining political power. So, Kejriwal plunged to plough his furrow without Anna's blessings and soon formed AAP. Initially, it looked a bubble, but as the courage of Kejriwal spilled over to the common man, the response turned awesome and, the mighty force of 'aam aadmi' took Kejriwal and party on the shoulders. Along with his youthful associates, Kejriwal managed his party's poll campaign through contributions from the common people and, with each passing day, the groundswell of support to AAP became tremendously horrifying to the rival Congress and BJP leaders. 

Riding on anti-incumbency factor, BJP, a natural beneficiary, emerged as the single largest party with 32 seats in an assembly of 70 seats, 4 less than the majority hook-up. But no visible support being in sight, BJP gave up its bid for govt formation. AAP had 28 seats, needing just 8 to build majority. But Kejriwal avoided the ring, refusing to accept support from either BJP or Congress, fearing they would ditch him. But the public pressure was so much on both AAP and Congress that the latter had to extend "conditional" support to AAP. But, as the things turn out now, it would not be easy for Congress to withdraw support from the govt, as it can't afford to go to Lok Sabha poll with a slurred image of an opportunistic party. Let's all wish the AAP govt well, so that this revolution stays in Delhi and, gradually, expands to rest of India..!


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