India Insight

Arvind Kejriwal: when lightning doesn’t strike thrice

(The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and represent his points of view only.)

Arvind Kejriwal’s dud of an expose on Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari has caused some people to wonder why the social activist made his allegations in the first place. Is he trying to clean up politics? Or is he trying to clean up votes?

I like Kejriwal. He is a true activist. He gave up a comfortable government job to dive into the world of rallies and RTIs. He even won a Magsaysay award for it.

But now what?

He has clearly come to a conclusion that change can come only from inside the system, so he wants to get into parliament. And the route he has chosen is that of the expose.

And why not? Corruption might be the most entertaining field in politics. Look at the Robert Vadra case, in which the son-in-law of a powerful politician in India’s Gandhi dynasty allegedly got himself wrapped up in lucrative and fishy land deals. That was a nice expose – spicy AND explosive. Kejriwal also managed to get suave union minister Salman Khurshid to fume, shout and fight with reporters.

Anti-graft wars: Empire strikes back at Team Anna

They rode a popular wave of discontent over spiralling corruption to force the government to bend to their demands and led an otherwise fractious parliament to arrive at a consensus on an anti-graft bill, in the process becoming media celebrities — their figurehead even hailed a national hero.

But now, activists led by Anna Hazare, whose campaign against corruption captured the imagination of millions across the country and prompted round-the-clock media coverage, say they are being targeted by official machinery for ruffling important feathers.

Hazare’s aides Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan have all received breach of privilege notices from parliament for derogatory comments they reportedly made against legislators.