Few reasons the new Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal needs to be scared
Dear chief minister Arvind Kejriwal,
Congratulations on your victory – even though, as you yourself said, your victory is very scary!
You are right when you say that your mandate is very scary. It is scary, not so much because of the common man and his great expectations, but more so because of the big men and their expectations. It is the big men – the money-bags, the men who hold the strings of all governments – who will insist that you should listen to them… or be silenced.
Take your plan for free drinking water for example. Any sane person will agree that water should be free and that it is the job of any government to see that water for basic living needs is provided. But there are some very, very, big men who think differently. You yourself have written how the World Bank is very strongly pushing for the privatisation of water supply in all cities. The World Bank represents the interests of the biggest companies and men in the world. Are you ready to fight the World Bank? It is mighty scary!
You say you are opposed to the contractualisation of labour and will amend the Contract Labour Act in favour of the workers. But you must be knowing that the world’s biggest corporates earn their super-profits by keeping contract workers, at ultra-low wages and without any basic benefits or safeguards. Do you think you can cut the corporates’ profits… and yet survive? I have my doubts Mr CM. Those guys stop at nothing to push their interests. Getting on their wrong side can be quite scary? Quite quite scary!
We like Wi-Fi. We like your promise of freely available Wi-Fi. But one small doubt CMji. When the Aam Aadmi freely avails of Wi-Fi, will he be able to freely express himself on Wi-Fi? So many are arrested every year under the Information Technology Act and other laws for just posting or tweeting something “offensive” to the government or some politician. Will you be able to change the laws? Or will more free Wi-Fi only mean more arrests of those who freely speak their mind on that Wi-fi? Scary, very scary!
You promise to end corruption and crony capitalism. But can you show us any capitalist country which does not have crony capitalism? Can you show any capitalist government which does not take its directions from small cliques of capitalists? Can you ever end crony capitalism without ending capitalism itself? But that requires a revolution, and revolution is a very very scary thing.
You want decentralisation, but the big men want centralisation. You want Delhi to be a full state, but the powers of the existing “full” states have been constantly reduced and the powers of the Central government increased. Many of your promises, like changes in laws and policies, mean nothing, unless you strike deals with those who have the powers. But I hope Mr Kejriwal you will not make deals. That for us would be very scary.
They say that Kejriwal has changed. The media had criticised you for resigning in 49 days and you apologised again and again for that. You were criticised for calling yourself an anarchist and you responded by promising stability. You have given the slogan Panch Saal Kejriwal. But, is that the right slogan? What is the point of stability for stability’s sake. Stability can mean stupidity, or duplicity, if you cannot do what you have promised to do. Honesty demands that, if you cannot fulfil most of your promises, you should not cling to your chair.
People are cynical and have learnt to expect little from the established parliamentary parties. Your campaign only seems to have given a new lease of faith. Those who have voted for you, particularly the poor, have immense hopes and still greater needs, which you have no programme to fulfil. Many desire nothing short of a revolution – a change much greater than the dream of “political revolution” announced in the AAP Vision statement. But the existing system leaves no scope for any CM to bring about even the mildest form of revolution.
One last thought. Do not bandy the word revolution too much. You may not mean much, but the ruling classes of this country take the word revolution very seriously. In the 1970s, when Jayaprakash Narayan raised the slogan of “total revolution”, an Emergency was called and he was put in jail for years. You have already received open death threats on TV from a supporter of the ruling party at the Centre, without even an FIR being registered against him. Even the Prime Minister himself has called you an anarchist and told you to join the naxalites. You won’t. But, if you even talk too much about revolution, the powers that be can do a lot of things to silence you, to muffle you. And that Mr Muffler Man can be really scary, really very scary.