Kejriwal’s List of Corrupt Politicians Evokes Extreme Reactions

It takes caliber to get featured in the Forbes list. What does it take to be included in Kejriwal’s list of ‘India’s most corrupt’? The answer is perhaps embedded in the question. The Delhi Chief Minister has once again triggered extreme reactions from the political fraternity after levelling corruption charges against prominent politicians.

In a very matter-of-fact manner, he read out the names from the list which included top leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Union Ministers Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid,  Shinde, and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Reaffirming AAP’s commitment towards eliminating corruption from the system, Kejriwal suggested that not even a single corrupt person should be allowed in the Parliament. On this note, he proclaimed that AAP candidates will be fielded against Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, NCP leaders, Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel along with A Raja and Kanimozhi.

Kejriwal’s spirit reflected that of a demagogue as he addressed the party’s national executive committee meet. Like a perfect iconoclast, he tore into the public image of each of the leaders before he directed his ire towards Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.  He took an exception to the fact that BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and the Congress Vice-President have spent more than Rs. 500 crore for image-building exercise.

Besides giving a call for ending dynasty politics in the country, he tried to touch the emotional chord by suggesting that the time is now for the common man “to go inside Parliament and talk about his rights.” AAP, according to one of its leaders, is walking the talk. It is building the foundation to fight against three ills – corrupt politicians, politicians facing criminal charges, and those representing dynasty politics. Now, that can earn him some bonus points and a slight gain in vote share ahead of the 2014 general elections.

After having stirred the hornet’s nest, he has started receiving brickbats with politicians coming down heavily on him in the form of threats of legal action. He has already been challenged by Kapil Sibal and BJP stalwart Nitin Gadkari to prove them guilty of corruption. The inclusion of names such as B.S. Yeddyurappa and Veerappa Moily has angered the Karnataka leaders well. In Tamil Nadu, Kejriwal’s effigies have been burnt by the Congress activists while staging a protest against him.  They described this incident as an attempt for “cheap publicity.”

Everyone seems to be asking the same question: Where is the proof? Forget about furnishing evidence to support his allegations, Kejriwal hasn’t even mentioned the reasons for calling these politicians ‘corrupt’. Nothing less than substantial evidence can probably build credibility to Kejriwal’s claims.

To put the entire episode in a single perspective, it occurs to me that AAP is fast making enemies with the political fraternity – both national and regional. I fear a possibility that the party will become a hostage to its own idealism and would struggle to evolve beyond seeking common man’s support by appealing to their popular passions.

Is it a neo opposition-bashing policy or the honest upholding of AAP’s founding principle – eradicate corruption from India’s political landscape?

For Kejriwal, “This is just the beginning.”