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Journey from making sense to talking nonsense

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By Sidharth Mishra

The wind is slowly picking speed, this would in the natural course clear smog in the national Capital region. The early morning checks on the improving air quality index (AQI) on your phones too is helping if not clear the cough in the chest and at least the smog in the mind. With the ‘chaath’ festivities, the NCR today is as much an abode of the Biharis as of the Punjabis, having concluded, the life should be back to normal in the city.

One of the indicators of situation turning normal are the pictures and statements of Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai getting turfed out of the newspaper pages. Rai has the onerous task of talking inanities to defend the indefensible culpability of his government in turning Delhi into a gas chamber for a month year-after-year.

Now that Rai is out, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has once again taken to the centre stage. With possibility of his arrest in the liquor scam case hanging like the Damocles’ Sword, he has got busy with brazen talk to keep his house in order and save his party from breaking.

There is a pending summon from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which his legal team would have told him, could not be kept at bay for a very long time. Kejriwal was served the summons on October 30 to appear before the ED on November 2, which the chief minister skipped after calling them ‘illegal’ and “politically motivated”

With the ED’s case so far standing the scrutiny of the highest court, Kejriwal knows well that he cannot escape liability in the matter. Few weeks back, jailed former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s legal team had taken the stand in the court that the flawed liquor policy was not implemented solely under his directions but as a collective decision of the Delhi government cabinet. The cabinet is headed by the Chief Minister and its meetings presided over by him. Thus the alleged culpability of Kejriwal in the matter has invited scrutiny.

Those who covered the fodder scam case in Bihar in the late 1990s, would get a feeling of déjà vu given the recent dialogues which the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief has been having with his party workers. Then chief minister of Bihar and the main accused in the fodder scam cases, Lalu Prasad Yadav talked similarly as Kejriwal about running the government from the prison.

At a legislature party meeting earlier this month, the AAP MLAs are said to have unanimously decided that Kejriwal, in the case of his arrest, will continue to govern from inside jail. It was claimed by the AAP leaders that there was no provision in the Constitution that mandates the resignation of the Chief Minister if they are placed in jail for a trial. The ministers are also said to have discussed seeking permission to hold cabinet meetings from jail.

Such talk amounts to nonsense, Lalu Prasad Yadav knew this and one is sure that Kejriwal too knows this. Political muscle-flexing was done by Lalu Prasad Yadav, who, before he went to the jail, got his wife Rabri Devi elected as the Chief Minister. Lalu of course did the backseat driving from jail.

Kejriwal too would have to make a similar arrangement in the case of his arrest, which he himself is claiming to be a matter of days. This would be the last nail in the coffin of “moral based politics”, something which the AAP leader preached when he launched party about a decade ago. There was a lot of sense when he talked about upholding moral values in politics, running government from a jail is utter nonsense


(First Published in The Morning Standard)


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