AAP crisis: Arvind Kejriwal should tackle corruption charges instead of hiding behind EVM issue

Self-declared anarchist Arvind Kejriwal is at it again.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly in 2015, but now the Delhi chief minister is leading a fight against the ‘corrupt’ Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) after it's defeat in the Punjab and Goa Assembly elections and the recently-held MCD elections.

The anarchy doesn’t end there. The protest that his party workers, led by another AAP minister Gopal Rai, staged in front of the office of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in New Delhi on Thursday, was in response to the allegation against Kejriwal by his own former minister Kapil Mishra on accepting bribe worth Rs 2 crore, and various other charges since then.

What’s EVM got to do with the corruption allegations?

Mishra has levelled several allegations against Kejriwal before resorting to a hunger strike. Mishra has followed the path of his party supremo Kejriwal — paid tribute at Rajghat, held a press conference to level allegations, got beaten up and finally went on a hunger strike.

File image of Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

File image of Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

While, the answers to the original allegation of Rs 2 crore bribe is still awaited, a few other skeletons have tumbled out of Kejriwal’s closet.

The other allegations are related to the Rs 50-crore land deal allegedly brokered by Delhi’s health and PWD minister Satyendar Jain for Kejriwal’s brother-in-law; donations to AAP fund, foreign tours of AAP leaders, water tanker scam, etc.

But, instead of responding to the allegations, Kejriwal and company have put the issue of EVMs at forefront to make people believe that the root cause of all ills is the so-called ‘manipulated EVMs’ that has given mileage to BJP.

Kejriwal adopts 3-Cs strategy

Why is Kejriwal, the poster boy of the anti-corruption movement, testing the patience of the electorate that reposed such unprecedented faith in him only two years ago?

By taking shelter under the alleged irregularities of the EVMs — those were completely perfect when he was voted to power — Kejriwal is trying to deflect people’s attention from the serious allegations that have been levelled against him — not by the BJP or the Congress — but by his own sacked cabinet colleague Mishra.

Is he trying to confound the electorate? Is he resorting to the 3C strategy — Convince, Confuse or Corrupt?

The three-C strategy loosely explains if one fails to convince one's point, the next step is to confuse the other person. And even if it doesn’t work, corrupt the other person (through bribing etc).

Kejriwal had succeeded in convincing the people of the national capital about his honest, anti-corruption intentions when he set himself up as a player in the game of power. Now that corruption charges have been levelled against him and his party, is he resorting to confuse the people?

What explains his latest EVM drama in response to corruption allegations?

The charges of corruption against Indian politicians are not new. Even while voting a particular person to power, the electorate is well aware of that candidate’s potential to be corrupt or not. But against Kejriwal and company, these charges assume a greater significance.

Did he not promise a utopia to the people of Delhi in the heady days of India Against Corruption (IAC) movement, when the young and the old, from Delhi and the rest of the country, defied odds to sway the national tricolour well into the night at India Gate?

Was he not the man next door who spoke the common man’s language, who bypassed the kurta pyjama of the Indian politician and stuck to his middle-class shirt and trousers and made it possible for all of us to dream that it is possible to root out corruption from the country?

In days to come, Kejriwal — the big fighter and winner that he is — may find his way around the slew of allegations flying towards him these days. However, he has shaken the faith of the common man in a dream that he made almost possible because the allegations have come from within, and not outside the party.

Kejriwal should have come up with a better defence than a counter-allegation of an unrelated issue when faced with one of the most serious accusations in his political career. Why does Kejriwal not speak up instead of rustling up a brow-beating, chest-thumping mob in front of the EC headquarters that has nothing to do with the Rs 2-crore bribe charge?

“Kejriwal and AAP are only doing dramabaazi (theatrics) and trying to fool the people of Delhi. Instead of responding to the corruption charges levelled against him, Kejriwal and his MLAs chose to put the blame on EVMs. If the Assembly election takes place in Delhi right now, the deposits of many of AAP candidates will be confiscated. The results of Punjab, Goa, Rajouri Garden by-poll and MCD elections are a glaring example,” Sachidanand Mishra, a bystander near EC office told Firstpost, during the demonstration on Thursday.

Updated Date: May 11, 2017 18:34 PM

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