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What the right-wing in India can learn from Arvind Kejriwal’s debacle

Arvind Kejriwal and his journey should be seen in two parts. The first part is when he rode on the anti-corruption sentiment as a saviour of the republic and won handsomely. However insignificant it might appear to be (just one small half-state like Delhi), but he won a fair electoral victory.

Part II is Arvind Kejriwal in his role as the Chief Minister of Delhi. This is where it all started falling apart and still is.

Why is it that someone who promised so much, appeared to make all the right noises, attracted some very good professionals, has failed so spectacularly. One can attribute all this to his overreaching obsession to become the Prime Minister in a very short time. So let’s say he becomes the Prime Minister tomorrow. What next? What will he do? Does he have a plan?

Arvind Kejriwal has failed in his second innings because of one and only one reason – he does not have an agenda.

His is a typical leftist problem – exploit dissatisfaction against the establishment to win power but when in power they are woefully out of implementable ideas. ‘Peace’, ‘Equality’ sounds melodious but how exactly does one implement Peace and Equality? By manipulating history textbooks?

However, there is a lesson for the ‘right-wing’ in this short story about Arvind Kejriwal.

Let’s assume tomorrow BJP wins each and every seat in the country – this includes all local, state and central elections. The party has captured absolute power. All illegal abattoirs will be closed, cow slaughter will be banned and maybe even RTE will be repealed, what next? Ask this simple question to yourself – what exactly are the long-term changes that you want to make?

A part of the RW (right-wing) anger is merely prejudiced, but the other part is a genuine perception of injustice gathered over the years. How can we distinguish between the two? Does the right-wing have a soundly articulated agenda and a plan to implement the same?

Let me explain it with an example:

Our education sector is compromised. Okay. So what are the required changes and how to implement those? There are ideas which one comes across once in a while. But how can we achieve coherence in those scattered ideas? And more importantly how can we sensitize the general public as to why there is a need to reform the system? Is there a sound argument which we can build for the same? Replacing left-wing prejudices with right-wing prejudices will be a poor strategy.

Most right-wingers are amateurs who, unlike the left elites, do not have enough clout to lobby for their ideas. There are ideas which come up on the social media and various blogs and websites. But many of these ideas are contributed by part-timers who do not have resources to follow up on them.

What we need today is a formal forum where status quo can be challenged. A platform where participants can highlight concern areas, contribute ideas and propose solutions. Moderators can select concepts from various areas and shape them into implementable solutions. These should be thoroughly debated over and passed on to the power centres for consideration.

A concept like this will have multiple benefits. RW will not be exposed when in power. Good ideas will receive the attention they deserve. We will be heard. Disproportionate amount of narrative is controlled by the Left. It is important to grab the narrative and discuss issues which really matter and in a way which makes an impact. Such a system will also be a protective hedge to prevent governments from falling in the Lutyen’s blackhole.

One of the major reasons why the 1857 uprising failed is that it was an unorganized effort. Rebels lacked an ideology or programme that could be implemented in captured areas. None of them knew what to do after the capture of a region. Arvind Kejriwal, if you observe closely has suffered due to the same effect. It is the coherence of ideas which transforms individual efforts into a movement, the lack of which reduces the same to an uprising.

Lutyen’s is waiting for today’s uprising to fail so that their movement can resume. After the failure of 1857, it took another 90 years for Bharat to achieve Independence.


Post Script: Filling infrastructural gaps, Swachchh Bharat, GST and other attempted reforms are the basics that every right minded government should have done. That we are left to cheer even the basics only tells us how much our previous governments have failed but make no mistake – this is in no way visionary, we are merely playing catch up.

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