On Friday evening, when one expects him to review a newly released movie, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal released an old movie – caste politics – remastered in honest colours.
The AAP supremo announced that the next Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab will be a Dalit, presumably if his party won the elections:
Dy CM of Punjab will be from dalit community
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 25, 2016
There are two Ds that are keys to his announcement – Deputy and Dalit.
The post of ‘Deputy’ CM (and even Deputy PM) has often been argued by many to be a clever workaround the provisions of the constitution of India, which doesn’t talk of any such post. However, it is not an uncommon practice in Indian Politics.
Primarily it is a descriptive and a ceremonial post. For all practical purposes, the Deputy CM/PM is deemed to be a cabinet minister and is also administered oath as such. He/she doesn’t enjoy any special powers accorded by the constitution.
The post of Deputy CM/PM broadly serves three major purposes:
- To massage the ego of a politician who couldn’t win the race to the PM/CM seat but thinks of himself as superior to the rest of the ministers. India saw a few Deputy PMs for this purpose. Funniest of them all was the case of Devi Lal, who deliberately misread the oath to call himself the ‘Deputy Prime Minister’, though he was expected to say only ‘Minister’ during the oath. Ah, the good old days!
- Deputy CM as the de facto CM is probably the invention of Kejriwal. Deputy CM of Delhi Mr. Sisodia, for all practices, is the acting CM of Delhi while Kejriwal keeps himself busy tweeting against Modi and doing other assorted shocking and entertaining activities.
- To monkey balance identity politics. For example, in Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao appointed two Deputy CMs – one a Muslim and another Dalit – the symbolism was too obvious not to note, even though KCR didn’t announce it the way Kejriwal has announced.
And that brings it to the other D – Dalit. Why Kejriwal had to go so desperate to announce a rather ceremonial post sans real powers to a particular caste group?
Obviously Kejriwal’s aim is to appease Dalits in Punjab into voting for AAP – you may say. It is realpolitik, a standard tactic employed by political parties, you may argue.
But. But. But! We are not talking about any other politician. We are talking about the Messiah of the Masses. The Yugpurush, whose sole purpose on earth is to cleanse the old rotten Indian politics of all its evils.
Here’s the Messiah himself applauding the earthlings of Delhi for rejecting the politics of Caste and Religion and giving him a landslide victory last year:
My gratitud 2 Delhiites for their support. U r so amazing.U rejcted politics of caste n religion.Hope final results r as per exit polls(2/2)
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 7, 2015
And here’s the Deputy Messiah putting the onus on the media to drive away caste politics:
Can India think of doing away with caste and creed politics till media keeps talking about it before every election? https://t.co/srnSyUvjOm
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) October 9, 2015
So what changed?
No, not really, as you will see below.
According to 2011 census, Punjab has the largest share of Dalits in its population at 31.9%, which is large enough to swing election results. Compared to it, the percentage of Dalits in Delhi is much less. Also, Delhi government can accommodate a maximum of 7 ministers (Kejriwal + 6) and Sisodia was always going to be the Deputy and de facto CM considering Kejriwal’s greater ambitions.
For those readers with short memories, let me remind them that, in Delhi, Kejriwal did try to woo another set of voters in the name of caste.
Kejriwal called himself “baniya”:
So he’s the same. The same d̶e̶v̶i̶o̶u̶s̶ smart politician as any other, who knows where and whom to appease. Just that he’s getting more and more brazen with time, because he knows that no one in the media or so-called intelligentsia will question him.
The torch bearer of clean and no caste-creed politics is now digging into it openly to win the elections at any cost. Someone who allegedly had no greed for power and money is now leaving no stone unturned to get more and more power.
All the while leaving his people in the capital facing the grave threats ranging from pollution and lack of civic amenities to everyday crime that they have to fight for themselves – never mind, last one can be blamed on Delhi police.
Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi won by a huge margin and almost everyone, irrespective of their political ideology, appreciated that the party at least seemed to stand for a new kind of politics. There was a glimmer of hope that Kejriwal might usher in new and cleaner politics. For some time, it even appeared that the party might actually work to fulfil their election promises including rooting out corruption. But with every passing day, he is making even the worst of the politicians in India look better in comparison.
Well, that probably is the higher purpose God had in mind when he sent this Messiah amongst us. That, by the time he is done with politics, he will make the rest of the politicians look better and people will stop feeling too bad about the state of politics in this country.