By Sushil Kutty
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is the soul and spirit of the Aam Aadmi Party, which recently achieved “national party” status, couldn’t care less right now for an electoral alliance with a party or parties for the 2024 general elections. Not the day after he was questioned by the CBI on the Delhi excise policy, which he said was a witch-hunt against AAP and its leaders, the SOP of the Modi government as also alleging witch-hunt happens to be the SOP of all political parties accused of impropriety, corruption, etcetera, etcetera…
Kejriwal was questioned for 9.5 hours on Sunday. The CBI asked him a total of “56” questions when “56” happens to be the favourite number of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also, the number inevitably linked with encounter-killings, which is a police MO made common by Bollywood films and practiced prolifically by certain police forces, notably the one taking orders from BJP Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath.
Arvind Kejriwal’s Sunday CBI experience was overshadowed by Saturday night’s execution-style murders in police custody of gangster-politicians Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf Ahmed. The television cameras were hardly bothered of what was happening to the AAP ‘Head’ so long as they had their fill of the dance of death played around Atiq/Ashraf, the tragic “ex-lawmakers” as the BBC, and the NYT, and the Reuters labelled the ‘Brothers Ahmed’. To foreign media and their India correspondents, India’s hoodlums are all innocent till proven guilty.
Which is what the Aam Aadmi Party is also saying about its leaders behind bars. And, now, the supreme leader of the Aam Aadmi Party Arvind Kejriwal is fighting accusations of being “steeped in corruption from head to toe”, which is an accusation that Kejriwal himself had hurled at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose degrees of incompetence Kejriwal highlighted, perhaps anticipating his own questioning. The AAP convener couldn’t stomach the Prime Minister’s “entre political science” practiced on the Opposition.
The Opposition has been continuously trying to come together to electorally castrate the BJP. But the Modi government has been allegedly misusing the central agencies to waylay the unification efforts of the opposition, preempting with what Kejriwal calls “witch-hunts”. Everytime unity looked one step away, the CBI or the Enforcement Directorate stepped in.
The latest manoeuvre on the AAP comes on the heels of the Prime Minister asking CBI officers to go all out against the “corrupt” and not be overawed by however big the personality happened to be. The problem is the CBI has finally got its teeth into the man, who if he “is a thief, then no one in this world is innocent.” The day the CBI’s Delhi excise policy investigations reached the Delhi CM’s door, that day the Modi government got its hooks into the AAP convener’s entrails.
To all those with a ticket to the show, the CBI appears to have a case. That two ministers and now the Chief Minister were summoned and the two ministers are cooling their heels in jail isn’t something to be trifled with or dismissed offhand. By now AAP’s Atishi Marlena and Sanjay Singh would be seriously in the throes of who between them would fit Kejriwal’s shoes. Such speculation had gripped AAP after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was arrested and put behind bars.
In case the CBI finds hard material to detain and arrest Kejriwal, the AAP would be truly orphaned. Like said, Arvind Kejriwal is the soul and spirit of not only the Aam Aadmi Party but also of the AAP governments of Delhi and Punjab. Without Kejriwal to lead and guide, the governments of both Delhi and Punjab would go bust. And AAP wouldn’t be able to go forward in jest, or in zest.
Therefore, survival is what is keeping both Kejriwal and AAP going. The Modi government and the BJP have at least achieved this limited objective; hobble AAP with allegations. Kejriwal’s dilemma is not which party and top opposition leader to strike an alliance with. Just like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah wanted it to happen, the AAP and Kejriwal have been crippled into paralysis.
Right now Kejriwal is more bothered about “when will I be detained and arrested and jailed?” than in striking a balance with the Congress and the rest of the opposition parties. Some positive vibes with Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin regarding opposition unity is the only silver lining, otherwise there isn’t much to cheer about. AAP Supremo’s position on the future government formation, will be made known only after the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. (IPA Service)