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MCD Election 2017 Results: Aam Aadmi Party's defeat is a chance for Arvind Kejriwal to press reboot button

Arvind Kejriwal has no reason to tender the resignation of his government in the Delhi state Assembly just because his party has been eclipsed in the civic polls. With well over two-and-a-half years to go before his tenure ends, this disaster could well be the shrill alarm on his political clock indicating it is time to wake up to reality. And to get rid of the clutter in his governance and grasp the opportunity to do a decent job in the coming months.

This option has already been articulated by him in his announcement that if the AAP is routed in the current polls (which it has been), he will go back to the grassroots and rekindle the movement that spawned the party in the first place.

Arvind Kejriwal file image

File image of Arvind Kejriwal

Dramatic as it sounds, the sackcloth and ashes routine is fine only if it is backed by some honest retrospection and hard work. Kejriwal should cling to the fact that there are still some remnants of support for his party, and by finishing ahead of the Congress, he and his team have a foundation upon which they can rebuild the AAP's shattered credibility.

Lessons aplenty are to be learnt, and Kejriwal must be a willing student. Stop with the whining, stop with the accusations, stop with the chest thumping self-sell, and stop with the constant barrage of complaints against the incumbent in Raj Niwas. And above all, learn to hold the hot little buck and accept responsibility.

Any political analyst will accept that AAP has done better than expected and risen higher than the groundswell of public opinion had indicated. It was projected that he would almost be laughed off this stage. But he has had a speaking part. While nowhere near the BJP juggernaut's sweep of the MCD polls, AAP has shown that even in its mangled state, it is more viable than Congress, a party that seems destined for the rubbish heap of history.

There will be a demand this week for Kejriwal to do the right thing and surrender his government on grounds that he has no moral right to rule the capital. The BJP would, if there were early polls, most likely swish into power without even trying very hard. It has to be said that the Modi magic endures across the board.

But can Kejriwal, in denying the BJP that satisfaction, best himself? One is afraid that he, being his worst own enemy, will revert to type and after a brief hiatus, again start flinging tiresome accusations against all and sundry, these sorties almost verging on paranoia.

Time for character not caricature.

The other factor that goes against a successful second half of Kejriwal's tenure is that Delhi is now in the hands of the BJP on the civic body front; it may make running the state uphill all the way. He will be stymied and checkmated at every step and this is the acid test. Does he have the capability to press on knowing that the three municipalities and their functions comprise the flesh and bones of the power structure when it comes to running Delhi?

If the two are at loggerheads, which they will be, Delhi will be a battlefield littered with unfinished projects and failed initiatives for the next 30 months.

Updated Date: Apr 26, 2017 12:25 PM

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