Only a coward, a publicity-seeker with the courage of a rat can think of attacking Arvind Kejriwal.
I have seen Kejriwal just once in person. It was at an election rally in Delhi's Okhla constituency in 2014. From a distance of more than 100 metres.
Even from that distance, it was apparent Kejriwal is a brave man. He doesn't fear physical harm or an attack on his life.
That day, Kejriwal stood at the edge of a crowded dais. He was being pushed and elbowed around hundreds of anonymous people. In front of him was a huge crowd of fans, followers and even foes. Nobody had been frisked, made to pass through security checks or detectors.
Kejriwal stood alone, without a security cover, perhaps not even with a bullet-proof vest, thrusting out his chest, holding his head high, rising above the crowd in spite of his puny frame, roaring against his rivals.
Sitting duck, I thought.
It takes pathological cowardice and complete lack of moral fibre to hit a man who is so nonchalant about his own safety and security. When somebody targets Kejriwal, it betrays just chicanery. The act is as dastardly as the Kauravas killing an unarmed Abhimanyu or the Pandavas using Shikhandi to attack Bhishma.
So, add Ved Prakash, the man who hurled a shoe at Kejriwal on Saturday during a press conference in Delhi, to this list of inglorious cowards.
He has just followed in the footsteps of several other like him who have found Kejriwal an easy target for their two-seconds of notoriety. Such people, after being made to go through the due process of law, should be made to see a shrink to heal the flaws in their mental make-up.
Prakash claims he did this to draw attention to the alleged irregularities in distribution of CNG stickers. He says he reacted because no action has been taken on a complaint filed by him.
Don't believe for a moment that people who hurl shoes, throw ink at Kejriwal are driven by an altruistic purpose, inspired by an ideology. They do it just for their two minutes of camera time, half a minute of prime time coverage. Insane would not be too harsh a word for them.
These days, there are three short-cuts to publicity in India. Hold a tricolour in hand and shout slogans in front of TV camera, threaten to behead those who refuse to chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' on demand, and, attack Kejriwal.
Like bouts of jhanda-waving and pseudo nationalism, attacks on Kejriwal are also becoming frequent. In January, a woman, who identified herself as Bhawna Arora, had thrown ink on Kejriwal when he was addressing a 'thanksgiving' rally after the odd-even experiment.
Before that he was slapped, manhandled and attacked at various places and events. Cops need to do something before these security lapses lead to something more sinister. His assailants, in fact those who attack anybody in public, should be tried for armed attack to ensure deterrence and fear of punishment.
Those who laugh at Kejriwal's plight should remember this: Apart from disrespecting a democratically-elected chief minister, they also betray their own impotent anger for not being able to compete with him, keep pace with his popularity.
Finally, a word for Kejriwal. If only he had not rewarded Jarnail Singh with a political career for hurling a shoe at India's home minister, the sympathy for Kejriwal would not have been diluted by pity for his hypocrisy.
First Published On : Apr 10, 2016 09:20 IST