The relationship between Aam Aadmi Party (APP) supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his one-time mentor Anna Hazare has come a full circle.
Back in 2011, when the anti-corruption crusader launched the Jan Lokpal movement, Kejriwal was one of his key lieutenants. The movement turned into a political party by Kejriwal, who was accused of exploiting Hazare’s goodwill to create support for himself.
The party, named AAP, was floated in 2012 promising “clean politics”. The party soon tasted a quick success in the 2013 Assembly elections as Delhi was looking to go set free from the Congress rule. The AAP had won 28 of the 70 Assembly seats in a hung verdict. Party and Kejriwal had the blessings of Anna all through, even though he was against forming a political party.
After the BJP stayed out of the government formation, despite being the single largest party, Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister with an outside support of the Congress. He resigned after 49 days and AAP decided to fight the 2014 general elections. This was one of the earliest instances when Anna criticized Kejriwal, calling him power hungry, though he wished the best for AAP.
Kejriwal apologized for his resignations and other antics after AAP failed to perform as per expectations in the Lok Shaba polls. He promised to work for Delhi, and thus in 2015 AAP swept the Delhi Assembly elections winning 67 of the 70 seats. That time, Hazare had congratulated Kejriwal saying AAP’s acceptability had increased among the people.
Kejriwal’s second second stint as the Chief Minister however was even more revealing than his first. The AAP, which was floated promising “clean politics”, was marred with corruption charges. A minister Sandeep Kumar appeared in a sex CD. The party faced serious allegations of illegal funding, and so on. Arvind Kejriwal tried to divert the twin issues of governance deficit and corruption by attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.
After Sandeep Kumar scandal broke out, Anna Hazare had expressed grief over the AAP’s condition saying that he had a lot of expectation from Kejriwal. “Kejriwal has worked with me for several years. I always told him that workers of an organisation should be well-mannered and behaved. They should be people with pure thoughts and should be people with clean image,” Hazare had said.
Later, an emotional Anna had written a letter to Kejriwal for the lack of transparency in the donations received by the party.
After the Assembly elections in Punjab and Goa, where the AAP faced humiliating defeat, Kejriwal raked up the issue of imaginary “EVM tampering.” Anna Hazare again lashed out at Kejriwal. “EVMs should not be done away with. Those who are voicing doubt over the machines are trying to take us back in time,” Hazare said.
In the MCD polls, the result of which was declared on 26 April, the BJP won a landslide and the AAP faced a crushing defeat. The AAP was quick to hide behind its imaginary “EVM tampering” blabber for the party’s poor show.
Meanwhile, Anna has lashed out at Kejriwal for the humiliating drubbing. “Arvind Kejriwal has lost the trust of people. There is a difference in what Kejriwal is saying and what he is doing,” he said.
It needs to be seen if Kejriwal responds to these statements and whether he tries to regain Anna’s and public’s confidence like he had done after Lok Sabha defeat.