Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kejriwal's Speech Is A Mix Of Symbolism And Pragmatism

A mix of symbolism and pragmatic straight talk marked the post swearing in address of Arvind Kejriwal at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. As the anti-corruption crusader took oath for the second time at the same venue, which hosts the symbolic destruction of ego and arrogance every Dussehra with the burning of the effigy of king Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama every year, he reminded his party colleagues and followers to keep away from both human weaknesses.

Asking the ministers, legislators and volunteers-workers of the Aam Aadmi Party to be on guard against egotism and arrogance, Kejriwal said that it was conceit that was responsible for the decimation of the Congress. He added that the BJP too had begun to suffer from arrogance, especially after the massive mandate that the people gave it in May 2014.

However, what made his pitch against arrogance seem honest, and unprecedented in Indian politics, was his admission that his party too had got carried away with haughtiness during the Lok Sabha elections last May.

"Probably, ego and conceit got into the AAP and we quit the 49-day government to contest the Lok Sabha election. God punished us for this. 

Remember, we should refrain from egotism.” Kejriwal asked his entire team from legislators to grassroots workers to go for regular introspection, cautioning that if arrogance takes over, everything is lost.
He invoked God by calling his victory at the polls a “miracle”. He said, 

“It’s the will of the nature that we have got this mandate. God had plans for us and I’m a mere medium, He chose us to get His designs fructified. If egotism over-powers us, we won’t be able to achieve our mission.”

Another heart-warming aspect of his speech, hardly seen in that of Indian politicians, was his positive attitude towards governance. Despite being a party opposed to the BJP that is ruling the country, Kejriwal reached out to the Centre and promised to work constructively. He was clear that he would not criticise the prime minister in his area of work, and would focus on his territory to work for Delhi. He also ensured that he would not desert Delhi and work for the city over the next five years.

This was in reference to reports in the media over the past few days that Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister would run Delhi while Kejriwal would focus on expanding his party at the national level.

In a rare gesture, he even sought support from his strongest critic and opponent BJP’s Kiran Bedi and Congress’ Ajay Maken. “I told Modiji that the country gave you the mandate. So, you govern the country and let us govern Delhi. Let us constructively work together towards making Delhi a safe and a better place to live. We want to make Delhi, the first corruption-free state in the country,” Kejriwal emphasized.

He cleverly put the onus of granting statehood to Delhi on the BJP, the ruling party at the Centre, by saying that the BJP had been trying for full statehood for Delhi for the last 15 years.

Taking a leaf out of Modi’s approach towards work soon after he had romped home to power in the summer last year, when he had asked for support from the MPs of even the opposing parties, Kejriwal said, “I’m the chief minister of not only the 67 MLAs of the AAP but also the three from the BJP. This is the government of the aam aadmi. No discrimination will be made on grounds of religion, caste or political affiliation.”

A large number of Delhi’s autowallahs – the real support base of AAP - who came from different corners of Delhi to Ramlila Maidan, reposed their confidence and trust in Kejriwal.

“We’re here to be a part of this historic moment. This time we’re sure that Arvind ji will fulfill all those promises that he couldn’t last time. We’re hopeful that under him we’ll be able get rid of the harassment we face from police and extortion,” said Santosh Kumar, an auto-rickshaw driver from Kalkaji, who was a part of the autowallah group campaigning for the AAP.

Kejriwal’s address also had some good news for Delhi traders.

“We’ve got immense support from the traders’ community. I assure them that henceforth no tax official would harass them and no one would ask for bribe. Simultaneously I request them to pay taxes. I also promise that each and every paisa would be used for development and to provide better infrastructure,” the former Income Tax official stressed.

“If we get to carry out our business hassle-free and without harassment from tax inspectors, we too would love to function honestly and pay our taxes on time. We’ve faith on Kejriwal ji that he would get rid of the evils out of this corrupt system,” added Manoharlal Agrawal, a wholesale trader, who came from Chandni Chowk.

He ended the speech with another symbolism that sent a thrill of excitement across the Ramlila Maidan. He raised the slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’, which so far had seemed as the preserve of only the BJP. He thereby also rescued the two ageless clarion calls of Indian polity from any right wing colour that they may have been forcibly given.
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