Dr Munish Raizada, a Chicago-based neonatologist, has directed and produced a 6-part documentary web series on Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party and how the party degenerated from a ‘revolution’ into a one-man ‘dictatorship’. The web series, titled ‘Transparency (Pardarshita)’, documents the progressive deterioration of the AAP. Munish Raizada was associated with the party for a significant amount of time before he was ultimately suspended.
Speaking to OpIndia, Munish Raizada said that his lasting impression of Arvind Kejriwal was someone who posed as a “real activist, real reformer, real revolutionary, as someone who wanted to change the political culture of the country but as the saying goes, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. He added, “I believe that he had this thing from the very beginning that he will make a career out of this and dump others.”
Munish Raizada also said that there were ‘red flags’ all along but people did not speak out because they did not want to undermine the revolution. “For the first one or two years, we were in a very revolutionary mode. We believed that the Aam Aadmi Party wasn’t a political party, it was a revolution. But whenever these ‘red flags’ were brought up, people used to silence each other. ‘Let it go, we have much bigger forces to fight,’ that was the mood.”
He continued, “Before the 2013 Delhi Elections where the AAP won 28 seats, a Sikh Cell was formed. Some people raised objections, pointing to the fact that it was ‘Jaat-Dharam ki Rajneeti’ all over again, then others immediately rushed in and said it was nothing like that, don’t worry, we have bigger forces to fight against. That was the problem, that people were always willing to convince each other, that was the kind of mindset.”
The AAP, in its initial days, also planned to elect its candidates through the method of primaries, as it happens in the US. Raizada told us that there were three core principles on which the political party formed: financial transparency, inner-party democracy, and internal vigilance. He told us that once Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister, such ideals were abandoned. As an instance of this, Raizada pointed out that Arvind Kejriwal became the national convener of the party for the third time whereas, according to party principles, no person can hold a position for more than two terms.
Responding to our question asking him how he would respond to those who would claim that he is a ‘BJP agent’ or doing it for political motives, Raizada said, “It’s a 6 part web series with 5 and a half hours of solid content. It’s a mega exercise, such things are not made in two or four days. It took me one year of effort. We shot the scenes in Delhi, we shot them in Puducherry, we shot in Pune. We went to Anna Hazare’s village and two other villages. Then, we shot in London and Chicago as well. We have been involved in this for the past one and a half years. We had to do the research and then the shooting. There is editing and all that stuff. This was not made keeping the elections in mind.” He continued, “It should have come out five months back but there were production issues. You come across many unexpected delays and all that. So, we are only just ready to release it.
In the two trailers released thus far, popular former leaders of the party and others associated with India Against Corruption movement such as Kumar Vishwas, Shazia Ilmi, Kiran Bedi and even Anna Hazare himself make an appearance. The people interviewed describe Arvind Kejriwal as someone whose ambition and arrogance got to his head and ultimately corrupted the party.
Kapil Mishra, who will be contesting the 2020 Assembly Elections on a BJP ticket, can be seen saying that Arvind Kejriwal forbade him from speaking on Afzal Guru because ‘Muslims get angry’. Mishra also says, “AAP is the most vulgar example of the centralization of power.” Shazia Ilmi says in the trailer that she told Arvind Kejriwal during the movement that Anna Hazare’s health was worsening and he could die, to which Kejriwal supposedly replied, “No, no, let it happen.”
The most definitive dialogue of the trailers, perhaps, was delivered by Kumar Vishwas. He says, “Government is not the issue. Selling a Rajya Sabha seat is not the issue. The issue is that for the next 20-30 years, mothers won’t send their children to protests.” Raizada told us that he is currently looking for distributors and he expects it to release soon.