“I don’t think…” then you shouldn’t talk said the hatter. This quote from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol is so apt for liberals, sections of media and the Aam Aadmi Party cadre who are lamenting and calling the loss of Atishi Marlena to Gautam Gambhir unfair. As some of us would know, the real name of Lewis Carroll was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and ironically, he taught mathematics at Christ Church College, University of Oxford, the alma mater of Ms Marlena, which all her supporters believe was reason enough for her to become the Member of Parliament from East Delhi. Adding to the irony, Dodgson also did pioneering work in electoral systems, which is now known as the Dodgson method and if it would have been applied in East Delhi scenario, Ms Marlena would have still lost the election.
Coming back to the comparison between Gautam Gambhir and Atishi Marlena, the first thing that her mourning supporters should realize that it was not an election to choose the education minister of India but the Loksabha MP from East Delhi and we don’t even need to get into the veracity of AAP’s claims of her achievement, which like many of their propaganda is not substantiated by real numbers. A party like BJP, which was looking to beat anti-incumbency would have looked at a lot of factors before deciding Gambhir’s candidature. Being a cricketer or an Oxford alumnus may get you brownie points but they may not be enough to make you a successful politician over a period of time. Imran Khan, the current PM of Pakistan was both a cricketer and alumnus of Oxford and we all know how he is driving Pakistan into an abyss.
So, what makes Gautam Gambhir a potentially successful politician. He is popular and has charisma. He is hardworking and has demonstrated leadership qualities by successfully leading Indian and IPL teams victory. Gautam has been committed to social and nationalistic causes even before joining politics and has been supporting children and families of Martyr. He has displayed a strong patriotic character at various instances. All these credentials, which unfortunately Ms Marlena lacks, resonated well with the Zeitgeist and he won by a huge margin. It is an insult of East Delhi voters, every time a liberal rues Ms Marlena’s defeat. Instead, they should introspect why after the dirtiest smear campaign run by Ms Marlena and her party, she could not save her deposit.
Time will tell if Gautam Gambhir will turn out a successful politician and a leader true to his potential but the real question that Ms Marlena supporters and AAP cadres need to ask is, if Atishi Marlena is so qualified, why didn’t the party send her to Rajya Sabha, instead of two nondescript and opportunist businessmen. Or why she is not the Education Minister of Delhi if she has revolutionised Education in Delhi just as an advisor. Didn’t the party believe in her work or intellect at that time? It is high time that people question the hypocrisy of the Party to which Marlena belongs rather than questioning the qualifications and credentials of Gautam Gambhir. People have spoken and that is what it counts. Those in doubt should just listen to Mad Hatter and stop lamenting.