Kejriwal's mann ki baat to Delhi:Modi sir is stopping us

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Deepak Mandal, Star Live 24
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Published On: 14:11:25 PM

New Delhi:There is a method to Arvind Kejriwal's madness. For the past few weeks, Kejriwal has been bombarding TV, radio, newspapers and hoardings with his mann ki baat. He has been talking to voters and talking at rivals, making every bit of his Rs 500-crore propaganda-chest count.

Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kejriwal has turned into a leader-cum-preacher; a proponent of public morality, self-anointed instigator of individual courage and, of course, his government's mouth piece.

"I request you to take out an hour every week from your busy schedule for Delhi Police or give Delhi Police to us. Delhi Police should be held accountable,” leader Kejriwal appealed' to the PM on Monday. A day later, preacher Kejriwal encouraged Delhi to give up its cowardice and stand up to criminals and thugs: "It is sad that nobody came to her rescue when a girl was attacked by goons in Anand Parbat. Next time, imagine your own sister or relative in her place. You will automatically find the strength and courage to stand up to criminals."

Within a week Kejriwal covered the entire range of audience. From exhorting the PM to follow raj dharma towards Delhi to asking the aam aadmi to oppose adharma on the streets of Delhi, Kejriwal gave almost everybody a piece of his mind.

“If Modi thought that he would be the last one to modulate his voice for political impact, he has been sadly mistaken. Clearly, the Delhi chief minister is leaving no stone unturned to make maximum impact. After having gained by use of theatrics in politics, Modi now gets a bitter taste of his own medicine," Mukhopadhyay writes in, arguing how the PM is helping the Delhi CM.

There are many similarities between Kejriwal and the PM. (Mukhopadhyay can't decide if one is Chhota Modi or the other Bara Kejriwal). Like Modi, the Delhi CM is killing three birds with one ad: he is addressing his fan base directly, keeping media from turning too hostile with generous ad-spend and hedging against future failure.

In the first ad, Kejriwal asks the PM to personally look at the functioning of the cops. "Delhi Police par kisi ka control nahi bacha hai. (Nobody has control over Delhi),” he laments, asking Modi to look at the cops personally. In the second, even when he is invoking the inherent bravado of Delhi's aam aadmi, his covert message is that the police isn't capable of protecting, so people will have to stand up for themselves and others.

Clever ploy. Kejriwal knows that law and order, safety of women is an important issue in Delhi. He realises that the Delhi government is handicapped in taking effective measures for sorting out the problem since the police chief doesn't report to him. he knows Delhi can erupt any day.

As the media points out, the CM knows what the wrath of the electorate can achieve. 'The December 16, 2012 gangrape played no small part in the Congress’s disastrous performance in the Assembly elections the following year. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit attempted in vain to tell the public that law and order and police were not under the Delhi government. But, says Dikshit, “The people do not necessarily care about such technicalities. For all practical purposes the Delhi Police and I as the CM were one and the same"

But, Kejriwal is not willing to be hanged for the crime of others. So, he has started telling people that the real source of the problem is Modi's inability to find time to tame and discipline the cops, preparing ground for both an explanation and future confrontation.

Though Kejriwal is seen as an anarchist and confrontational, the tone of his ads is conciliatory, even supplicatory, replete with words like "sir, please and request". Clearly, Kejriwal is telling people that from coaxing to cajoling and requesting to pleading he is doing everything possible for them. If the PM isn't willing to listen, he is helpless, like always, a bechara against the cruel system.

The BJP needs to be careful. There is already a lot of anger against the Centre for allowing ''I-am-the-Government" Najeeb Jung to interfere with the government of the people. There will be hell to pay if the Modi government fails to ensure safety and security of Delhi's citizens and there is another Nirbhaya-like incident. Unlike Dikshit, the villain this time would be Jung and Modi.

Ideally, the two governments should have been working together for making Delhi safer and cops more approachable and friendlier. But, Jung, whom the media on Friday called Lieutenant Emperor for his overreach and interference, and the BJP are pushing themselves into the wrong corner by stressing on status-quo and appearing to be on the side of cops, whom people see with a lot of suspicion and distrust. Through his ad campaign, Kejriwal is making the battle lines clear. The BJP will have to tread cautiously if it doesn't want to be seen on the wrong side in this perennial battle between the good and the evil.


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