Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has become a seasoned politician sooner than any of the thoroughbred political leaders of the past and present generations who had attained this status after considerable effort.
The politician in Kejriwal is in full flow as he is making headlines through generating controversies one after the other. In the process he seems to have forgotten that he has a duty to perform as Chief Minister.
He has a daunting task at hand to provide good governance in the capital city and the challenge to ensure uninterrupted power and water supply during the ongoing summers. In fact, he has harped on a unique method of elevating his status in quick succession through acting as a scarecrow. Scare everyone to either keep them under his control or challenge them seems to be his gameplan.
This strategy can succeed for sometime but not for all time to come. The manner in which he has built confrontation with Lt Governor Najib Jung on matters of governance even at times questioning the Constitutional provisions has a method. Beginning with the Lt Governor's office, he has taken the issue to Prime Minister Naredra Modi's doorsteps of course via Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Catching up with Modi seemed to be the ultimate aim of his scarecrow strategy. Of course, its other off-shoots are to scare bureaucracy, Delhi Police and media into possible subservience to pave a clear way for him to implement his fanciful ideas with impunity. But these are part of his ground level strategies to keep people and media busy.
Kejriwal is a shrewd politician and he has his future political plans well cut. Impliedly raising the Delhi statehood issue on the pretext of Chief Minister's powers finally culminating in his writing a letter to Modi seems to be his strategy to build a Modi vs Kejriwal contest for future. His obvious ploy behind this strategy is to equate his stature with that of Modi for a possible political contest at the national level in years to come.
Clearly Kejriwal is a man in a hurry. Despite having miserably failed in the last Lok Sabha elections, he has not given up hope to become a national leader and have a possible go at the Prime Minister's seat. Having already got rid of critics within the Aam Aadmi Party, Kejriwal is painstakingly working on a plan to build an aura around him that of a leader who is not scared to take on even the Prime Minister and the Home Minister.
This thinking of his has its genesis in Kejriwal not keeping any portfolio with him. Instead he has given all the responsibilities to his deputy and close aide Manish Sisodia, so as to keep himself free for bigger political battles. Sisodia has in fact become face of the government.
Despite a fantastic strike rate in Delhi elections, Kejriwal's scarecrow strategy to climb up the ladder is both baffling and confusing. Baffling because the AAP as a political party outside Delhi has come to a halt with fair indications that Kejriwal is not keen on its expansion in other states. Punjab is the only state from where AAP has four MPs and the state is due to face Assembly elections soon.
Despite frantic efforts by some of the state MPs to seek Kejriwal's indulgence to activate the party for the polls, he has not shown any keenness to go to Punjab. One plausible reason could be that in the event of AAP forming a government in the state which is bigger in size and stature than Delhi, Kejriwal may be fear stricken that his counterpart in Punjab will certainly have a bigger profile and in the process dwarf him.
So the question of realising a national dream under such circumstances makes it more baffling and equally confusing. It has become much more confusing in the absence of any clear cut direction or vision of AAP as a political outfit and as an administrative arm in Delhi. The only visible goal looks to be the political ascendancy of Kejriwal.
The task for Kejriwal is cut out and that is to provide affective governance model in Delhi. Only this could become the basis for fulfilment of his future political ambitions. Even as the AAP government is about to complete its 100 days of existence nothing is visible in the name of governance rather than confrontation at every step and the political roadmap is equally hazy.
The scarecrow syndrome coupled with his philosophy of victimhood and tendency to challenge even the Constitutional conventions on way to stake his claims for more rights as Chief Minister of the partial state of Delhi is a flawed strategy. It could be helpful in a limited way to build pressure and create public opinion but this will certainly not lead to any solution.
There are no easy solutions to get his demand for full statehood to Delhi fulfilled. The two pronged strategy for him should be to focus on governance and at the same time build pressure on the statehood issue which is a long drawn battle. The statehood issue cannot override the issues of governance and the confrontationist attitude will further cloud this plank.
After all the city-state of Delhi with its multiple power structure and being the capital of the country has a unique position. Kejriwal is known for his prowess to unleash out-of-the-box solutions to issues. He needs to think on the same very lines and be innovative in suggesting a way out to resolve the Delhi tangle.
Kejriwal better keep his political ambitions under wraps. He should give an impression of a well meaning administrator which in no way takes away his right to pursue his brand of politics. The scarecrow syndrome could prove disastrous if he allows the current phase of challenging everyone getting prolonged.
It is imperative that he bears in mind that having brute majority in the Legislative Assembly is not a passport to ensure that the public supports stays with the AAP for all times to come. A saturation stage has already reached beyond which hoodwinking the people without delivering on promises will be a sure recipe for disaster.