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.

Kejriwal needs different approach to win hearts and votes

The Arvind Kejriwal-Robert Vadra faceoff has finally reached the place where it should be — in court instead of in the press.

An activist named Nutan Thakur filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Allahabad High Court on Oct. 9, and it has now been admitted. The government must respond within three weeks. Thakur wants the court to explore allegations by social activist Kejriwal that Vadra, son-in-law of Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi, has been involved in shady land deals.

Perhaps court is the best venue for trying to find out if there is any less-than-aboveboard connection between Vadra, real estate firm DLF and the Haryana government, despite the lonely, but rewarding work of good investigative journalists.

The news this weekend: LPG, Kejriwal, toilets, politicians… and Somali pirates

It’s shaping up as a busy weekend for India’s politicians…

The price of LPG — liquefied petroleum gas cylinders, or cooking gas — has risen 11.42 rupees per cylinder because dealers are getting higher commissions. TV channels attacked the government because this “shocker” comes right after the imposition of a cap on subsidized cylinder sales was imposed.

Bharatiya Janata Party politician Smriti Irani said the party will hold a nation-wide protest on Oct. 12, saying the higher prices are “anti-women”. This is presumably because they do more of the daily cooking than men, whose potential inversely proportional waistline shrinkage could be in their favour.

We all know who the main attraction is on news channels nowadays: social activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal. Here are the pots that he’s stirring:

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