ARVIND KEJRIWAL KI AJEEB DASTAAN…
This dogmatic, obsessive, media-savvy campaigner has a history of taking up one issue after another. And dumping them as easily. "The irony is, he never takes them to a logical conclusion," says an old associate. "In his Gram Swaraj and Mohalla Sabha campaigns, they are asking for decentralisation. However, his Jan Lokpal campaign is asking for complete centralisation. What an irony!" remarked a source. "(Kejriwal) did maximum damage to the (Lokpal) movement," 'waterman' Rajendra Singh said recently.
"He has a simplistic, managerial and dangerous understanding of corruption. He can't link it with communalism, social and political contradictions, stark inequality, income disparity and systemic transformation," says an old friend. "His understanding is apolitical; there is no sense of history," he adds. "His presentations on RTI used to be dumbed-down, mechanical, dry," says a former colleague.
"We could not share the same platform after I discovered he was regularly sharing spaces with anti-Dalit and casteist groups like Youth for Equality," says an old associate. "This is his basic ideology. His silence on Narendra Modi or RSS is tactical. He is opportunistically using forces which can be fascist or corporate – he does not care. This man has no principles, no ideological scaffolding, no clear moral vision. He can align with anybody. And he cares two hoots, as he did in Hisar where his campaign benefited two dubious candidates with a history of massive corruption."
"He attracts good people. But when they don't fit in his scheme of things, they are dumped. Like what happened with Swami Agnivesh, PV Rajgopal and Rajendra Singh, and is bound to happen with Prashant Bhushan. Kejriwal does not need Prashant now," says a former colleague.
Says a veteran NCPRI activist: "He has no base. Even Hazare has a base in Ralegan that he can always go back to. Kejriwal can't form his own political party, since he has publicly said so. Earlier he said Team Anna is not political. Now he is saying he is political. He constantly wants media attention. He is impatient, authoritarian, obstinate and tolerates no dissent. He wants things done only his myopic way – he basically hates democratic opinion, dissent, norms of democracy. Soon he will have no option but to join some political party. And that, surely, won't be Congress. So you can guess which party he is backing now."
"He is very stubborn in his attitude. Perhaps that is why he is so focussed," says Rajgopal.
"What he does not realise is that he can't always get away," says a journalist, an associate from his early days. "His fall into utter disgrace might be closer than he can imagine."
For this ambitious NGO prototype, it's always a machine-like goal to be fulfilled at any cost, with all kinds of allies (like the RSS-VHP-ABVP in the Lokpal movement), and with an unchanging enemy. In this case, the Congress government, the Congress party. At Ramlila Ground it was a common refrain: You can't meet Hazare without Kejriwal's yes. The other joke was, Anna can't break his fast without Kejriwal's yes. As the song goes, "No one can ever change his mind."