Views | Choosing targets: Kejriwal has great taste3 min read . Updated: 15 Oct 2012, 09:45 PM IST
More reasons why politicians should be scared of Kejriwal, and why I am getting myself a voter card
A few days ago, I had written at Livemint.com that Arvind Kejriwal was an X-factor in Indian politics, a disruptive force that does not obey the cozy unsaid rules that govern politics in our country: We attack you on these, these and these things, but these, these and these are out of bounds. And I had said that this disruptive force was very necessary.
Kejriwal has chosen his first two targets very well. One, Robert Vadra, the first son-in-law, whose avarice seems matched only by his stupidity. It was a shameful spectacle to see senior Union ministers falling over one another to declare the charges “baseless" and proclaim Vadra’s innocence. It was proof, if any more was needed (it really wasn’t) that Congress politics is at its core a pathetic sycophancy.
Salman Khurshid, who won the first lap of the sycophancy race by announcing that he would “die for Mrs Sonia Gandhi", has now been pilloried. Great choice. He is the law minister, and the allegation is that his wife’s non-governmental organization (NGO) has been siphoning money meant to aid the disabled. And it’s just days after a Hindi channel did a sting on the NGO’s workings, and Uttar Pradesh’s leading Hindi papers are publishing more news every day of how the NGO’s reports are full of lies. Now there is hard evidence that the Congress workers have been scampering to supply hearing aids and wheelchairs to people who were supposed to have received them two years ago. Trouble is, some of these supposed beneficiaries are dead, and others can’t be located—they were possibly fictitious anyway. And of course, the question Kejriwal has raised is absolutely valid: If it is a private NGO, why are Congress workers running around to cover up the filth?
Thus, in two strokes, Kejriwal has proved—and I use the word “proved", fully aware of the meaning of the term—that Congress politicians are in cahoots with big business, and are also looting money meant for the most disadvantaged in society. And he has quashed all that Khurshid bluster about “let the UP government conduct an enquiry" by pointing out that the enquiry would have to be done by a Samajwadi Party government, and the party’s boss Mulayam Singh Yadav has CBI cases pending against him on disproportionate assets, and the prosecution of that case comes under the law ministry, which Khurshid heads.
Khurshid is caught in a pincer attack. He may resign, he may not. Either way, Kejriwal wins, and the Congress loses.
It was just funny to see Khurshid, in his press conference, refer to Kejriwal as some person from the streets making wild allegations. This is just more evidence of what I have been saying: that our politicians have no clue how to deal with this man. And that is great. The more they fumble and fume, the more they will expose themselves.
For instance, I read in the papers that in the same press conference, Khurshid, to prove his—actually, I don’t know what he wanted to prove— worth maybe, said that he had been called for a lecture at his alma mater Oxford University. Boy, that should really impress the UP village boy with a leg disability, who appeared before the crowd at Jantar Mantar (and live on nationwide TV)! He has perfectly good hearing, but the Khurshid NGO has listed him as the recipient of a hearing aid. He never got any aid for his real disability, and neither did he get the hearing aid, which he did not need. It is, of course, disgraceful that these people stole money meant for the disabled, but what can you possibly say about the fact that even in theft, they were incompetent? These guys are simultaneously criminals and comedians. Reminds me of the crass but entertaining Kader Khan-Shakti Kapoor combo in those bad Hindi films of the 1980s.
I must admit I have my doubts whether it’s such a good idea for Kejriwal to get into active politics. He can possibly do more damage to the existing ossified system by attacking it from outside. Losing elections—as he almost certainly will, because the ground realities of our electoral process will not change so easily—may take away a bit of his sting.
But he’s certainly convinced me to finally get myself a voter card. If we don’t do our bit to run some of our appalling politicians out of town—whichever party they may belong to—we will only be betraying ourselves.