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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Dear Delhi, Your CM is Running…Again!

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Dear Dilliwalas, believe it or not, your CM Arvind Kejriwal is abandoning you once again.

After serving 49 days as Delhi’s CM from Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 in alliance with Congress, Kejriwal had quit as CM citing ‘a lack of support from other political parties’ for passing the Jan Lokpal Bill. The real reason soon became clear – Kejriwal’s ambitions had sky-rocketed and he now wanted to play a king maker role in national politics. His nascent AAP party decided to contest 432 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats in the April-May 2014 general election. They ended up winning just 4 seats, with no LS seats in Delhi.

Right after the elections ended, Kejriwal apologized to the people of Delhi for quitting. “We made a mistake, and I apologize for it,” said Kejriwal on 21 May 2014, referring to his Feb 14 resignation after a 49-day stint.

During campaigning for the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, he again apologized to the people of Delhi and promised not to quit again. “Many people across Delhi feel that our actions have let them down. In May (last year), we apologized to the people of Delhi for the disappointment caused; and in case you missed it the first time, I do so again — so you hear us loud and clear,” he said on 1 Feb 2015.

But just under 2 years into his 5 year stint as Delhi CM, comes news that Kejriwal is abandoning Delhi again in pursuit of the Punjab CM post.

The reason is not hard to fathom – Punjab offers a better launch pad for Kejriwal’s next attempt at national politics and the PM post in 2019. And with Punjab being a full state, unlike Delhi where the CM has to work in close coordination with the Lieutenant Governor, it would be intolerable for Kejriwal to have another AAP leader occupy a more powerful CM chair in case AAP manages to win in Punjab.

Those in Delhi who voted for Kejriwal in 2013 and 2015 would surely be left stunned by this latest U-turn by Kejriwal – but it was always on the cards, given the brand of politics that Kejriwal and AAP have displayed since their debut in 2012.

If Kejriwal were to win in a sensitive border state like Punjab, it would not bode well for the Union of Bharat. It is never too late to learn from one’s mistakes, and there is no shame in admitting that one got taken in by a smooth-talking salesman backed by a powerful media-intelligentsia-NGO nexus.

We hope people of Delhi, Punjab and the rest of Bharat keep the facts of what Kejriwal has done, not what he says, in mind while exercising their vote the next time around. Kejriwal is a man in a hurry, and he does not care who is trampled underfoot.

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