Why Arvind Kejriwal Failed?

Arvind Kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal
Why Arvind Kejriwal's AAP Party failed in Lok Sabha elections?
Why Arvind Kejriwal failed?

It’s a question that will take us back to the current political problems and their offshoots.  A man who made a surreal entry in the political arena hanged his boots of Chief Ministership within 49 days. From forming a government in Delhi to ending up with only four Lok Sabha seats, the downhill ride for AAP carries the same intensity of any acclaimed tragedy. You feel bad for the protagonist, who languishes in a dark corner of the podium. What happened with AAP is cataclysmic, and the blame goes to its leader – Arvind Kejriwal.

What was Kejriwal’s tragic flaw? May I say that unbridled ambition and inability to act in the right direction should be counted in? He admits the fact that quitting the full-time job of a chief-minister prematurely is a mistake that had deep ramifications. From the time his party first held the reigns of governance in Delhi to the day it withdrew itself from the power, a lot of new equations had emerged and new narratives of optimism were being written. What happened interim is the exponential growth in people’s expectations.

However, they were all crestfallen.

Kejriwal should have known that such whim is despicable before the public eye. You hurt their sentiment and you lose any prospect of getting their support. They are not to be taken for a ride. The man learnt it the hard way. Not even a single seat did his party bag from Delhi in the Lok Sabha elections. When he took the pain of identifying the reason behind public resentment, it was tad too late.

Kejriwal’s fixation with agitation is more than what people could accommodate and appreciate. They were tired of holding placards, shouting slogans and burning effigies. Trust me. All they wanted is sincerity from the government when it comes to dealing with civic and political problems. With this hope, lakhs of Delhiites had showed up for the anti-graft movement. But soon they realized that AAP is not keen on coming out of that agitation mode. What might have disappointed his supporters is the sad spectacle wherein the chief minister of Delhi staged a protest outside Rail Bhavan. His inability to take action against his party member Somnath Bharti over his surprise ‘vigilantism’ against Africans was equally disturbing.

It’s a cardinal sin for a politician to go overboard. Don’t make extravagant promises, when you can’t translate them into reality. The harbinger of hope that we was, with squeaky-clean public image, he made people believe that AAP is the cure at hand. His promise of bringing ‘Swaraj’ was redolent of the pre-independence era. The wish list included passage of Jan Lokpal Bill, ending power and water woes, and helping Delhi attain full statehood. Only yesterday, his name circulated on the corridors of Delhi as protesters blamed him for not doing anything about acute power crisis.

AAP founder’s decision to choose ‘reckless expansion’ policy over gradual expansion proved fatal.  Following the Delhi debut, the party exhibited ‘overreaching ambition’ and hubris. The party was already eyeing around 100 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The desire to become a national party by the end of general elections was sown rather too early. For Kejriwal, one mistake led him to another. Yes, I am talking about his move to contest against Modi in Varanasi.

Instead of consolidating its power in its strongholds and campaigning in key constituencies of Punjab and Haryana, he allowed himself to get caught up in the battle for Varanasi. How prudent was that to contest from a high-risk constituency with an objective of expanding national footprint? At times, people understood him just too well. They were able to comprehend that the AAP leader’s actions were not in sync with his claims. He always wanted to bust the development myth of Gujarat to take on BJP’s PM candidate. But the same man didn’t consider it imperative to stay in Gujarat and bust the myth. On the contrary, he took the northern route and fielded himself against the man in Varanasi.

Recently, one of the acclaimed political commentators drew a parallel between AAP and the African National Congress stating how the latter succumbed before the people’s expectations and responsibility of governance despite having a successful past. According to the commentator, “power kills political movements and corrupts its leadership.”  Similarly, Kejriwal was able to win people’s support with his Utopian promises, but couldn’t sustain the momentum. He was quick to say that the river is dirty but did he have the earnestness to clean it up?