Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Arvind Kejriwal declares: This is a political battle. We will go to the streets and not to the courts

Arvind Kejriwal, who has launched a political party on October 2 is wearing two hats: that of the leader of the new party and also that of India Against Corruption (IAC). It now seems that the IAC and the new political party are coterminous. Therefore, the charges and allegations being made against Robert Vadra, against DLF and against the Congress government of Haryana come from the unnamed political party and IAC.
Once again when the question came up in his second press conference on the issue of Vadra/DLF/Haryana government as to why he or IAC do not want to pursue the issue in a court when they have so much of documentary evidence, an angry and emphatic Kejriwal said: The People have had enough. This is a political battle. We are a political party. We will go on to the streets. We will not go to the courts though we may decide on it whether we want to go to the court or not.
What he has indicated is that in the fight against corruption, his new party's first salvo was against Vadra. What he did not openly say was that he was targeting Congress, and more specifically party president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law.
Kejriwal has also been threatening to name other political leaders from other parties as well, and the names doing the rounds are that of BJP president Nitin Gadkari and NCP's Praful Patel. But it is not clear. This is just mere rumour.
Kejriwal told journalists on Tuesday that the second expose will now happen October 16 and not on October 10 as earlier planned. The reason that Manish Sisodia of IAC offered is that they want the debate to be focused on Vadra/DLF/Haryana government.
Kejriwal said that today that after their first press conference, there were receiving a lot of telephone calls and that a lot people were giving more evidence on the issue they have raised. He has obviously more evidence on October 9 than what he had on October 5 when he held his first press conference. The issue has aroused a lot of interest among the people who are sending what they know to IAC, which IAC will then use to build up the case and place it before the public.
This is a method the IAC claimed it followed in the case of Jan Lokpal Bill. It said that the bill it had prepared is based on what the many people who wrote in had suggested. This would remind one of the cahiers just before the Estates General met in May, 1789 when people from the provinces, towns and villages prepared their documents of demands and suggestions. It would be interesting if one day the IAC were to share its archives of who sent in what suggestion/idea from where.
Kejriwal had also said that he and the IAC and the unnamed political party are not an investigative agency, that they do not have the means to collect evidence. What they have they have placed before the people.
It is not surprising that some people are a little carried away by the passion and zeal of Kejriwal and the IAC and the unnamed political party and they see a glimpse of the democratic energy of the people.
The political parties are no doubt flustered, especially the Congress and the BJP. The Congress knows that it is not going to win this battle of images and it does not matter whether the charges being thrown at Vadra/Congress party president Sonia Gandhi are true or not. The mud is going to stick. They are reconciled to face defeat and wait till the opposition parties commit hara-kiri in office so that they will come back to power in due course.
What is interesting about Kejriwal is that he wants to ride on the resentment and discontent of the people, which is a political thing to do. But his political rhetoric and that of his friends is that of the self-righteous middle class. It sounds tinny and hollow. You cannot conjure away this segment even as you cannot conjure away the corrupt.
What is to be seen is the impact this will have in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Congress is certainly going to lose but its members know that they cannot admit to failures at this moment. They will have to fight, or to use what has been attributed to prime minister Manmohan Singh, they will have to go down fighting.
But Kejriwal and his friends look quite comical and amateurish in their approach to public issues. What is very clear is that they are very single-minded and they are very fanatical in their beliefs. They are also confused. They do not have all the facts. They have not worked out their plan. They want to make the best use of the opportunity that an arrogant Congress provides them on a platter.
There is also not much doubt that IAC bunch are incapable of dealing with India. They are good as protesters, as whistle-blowers of sorts, and most dangerously they display the characteristics of the vigilante -- blinkered.
The opposition parties are slightly irritated with the IAC at the moment. Though they like the attack on the Congress, they think that the IAC is an Ășnguided missile and it could hit and destroy more than the targets.
 

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