Diary: A Citizen's Take On Kejriwal And The Idea Of Corruption-Free Govt

A corporate employee in Delhi shares his views on the 'India Against Corruption' movement and the idea of development that Arvind Kejriwal gave to the people of Delhi.

Photo: Sanjay Rawat
Anti-corruption Crusade: A protest against the proposals of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Lokpal Bill at Jantar Mantar, Delhi in 2011 Photo: Sanjay Rawat

From Jan Lokpal to Public Welfare

I used to work for a private firm during the ‘India Against Corruption’ movement. It was the first time I saw a demonstration of this kind where people, despite their age differences and ideologies, came together for a common cause. At that time, the whole country wanted to fight corruption. In 2012, I visited Ramlila Maidan along with a few of my friends a couple of times to participate in the protest.

Later on, when some of the core members of the protest movement decided to form a new party, I voluntarily joined it during their SMS campaign. Although I have never been an active member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the idea of development that Arvind Kejriwal gave to the people of Delhi resonates with me.

It has been more than ten years since Kejriwal became the chief minister of Delhi, and several positive changes have happened during this period. AAP has managed to keep most of its promises after coming to power. During his campaign, Kejriwal had said that he would provide subsidies in the electricity bill, and now, most middle-class households in the capital are enjoying the benefit of these subsidies. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the public services in Delhi are now in better condition.

Over the last few years, whether we talk about health or education, the public services in Delhi have improved and become better than those in other states. Many of my friends and relatives have children who study in government schools in Delhi. They say that in many aspects, these schools are far better than some private schools.

Development as Ideology

AAP has formed a government in Punjab too. The party also holds a position of strength in the newly formed INDIA alliance, which could be a reason for Kejriwal’s arrest just before the general elections. From the very beginning, AAP has offered a different kind of politics to Delhi and the country. Kejriwal declared that he has no philosophical ideology. Development is the biggest ideology for him.

I believe that every political party makes some mistakes to remain in power. It is quite possible that Kejriwal too made mistakes, but it is also true that he has elevated Delhi to a new standard in public welfare.

Now that Kejriwal is in jail, two things are possible in the upcoming elections. AAP may face a big loss in the elections, but it is also possible that the public may think that the government is targeting Kejriwal, and people may vote for him out of sympathy.

If Kejriwal has to resign from the post of chief minister in the coming days, Atishi should occupy the post. I have also heard that there are chances of Kejriwal’s wife becoming the chief minister, but if this happens, it will be a big mistake for the party. Kejriwal himself will get entangled in the questions which he raised when he came into politics.

The Party’s Support Base

AAP has come to power by winning 62 out of 70 seats in Delhi, and this is a huge victory, but the truth is that most of the voters of the AAP come from the middle and lower middle classes. They are so busy in their personal lives that they cannot protest on the streets with the party. Though they align with the idea of development, they don’t have enough time to come together and protest against anyone.

Kejriwal’s way of working is very different from that of other politicians. He is an educated leader who understands politics and policy. And this is the reason why within ten years of AAP taking charge, many significant changes have taken place in Delhi.

Kejriwal also came to power with several other issues such as Jan Lokpal. Today, the issue of Jan Lokpal is very far from his politics, but perhaps the public does not care about this now.

(As told to Vikram Raj)

Mohd Afsar works for a corporate firm

(This appeared in the print as 'Citizen's Diary')