January 16, 2014
The political end of the humble tyrant, Arvind Kejriwal, and anarchic AAP is nigh
A couple of weeks ago, Supratim Basu wrote:
Arvind Kejriwal allegedly said today "One can argue about the quantum, but one can not argue against the principle" while talking about providing free water to citizens of Delhi. Unfortunately for him, and the citizens of Delhi (who will suffer even graver water shortages in the not-so-distant future", one can certainly can argue against this principle. For an engineer, he does not seem to have done even the most basic cost-benefit analysis, leave alone a detailed projection of Delhi Jal Board's finances for the next 10-20 years.
This is exactly why most of our state RECs are bankrupt, and millions of people live without power in India.
While celebrating his and his party's triumph (as you encouraged me to do!) against the dodgy incumbents and the inherent hope that holds out for alternative politics in India, I find that this new age party has already started digging the grave not just for itself, but also for all new-age parties, with its policies and the lack of thinking behind them. AAP's policies today is the surest guarantee of the return of the GOP and its cousin, the BJP.
And, if anyone does not believe me, please just look at the Janata "experiment" (can't call it a government) of 1977-80, and the results that it delivered for the Congress in the next decade. People were just happy to have some "sensible" and stable politicians back at the helm – and, imagine the colossal failure of the Janata experiment that India essentially forgave Mrs G a scant three years after her dictatorship.
I wish all those who are close to the AAP "seniors" would carry this salutary message to them.
In response I wrote:
I suspect after this flush of excitement, when blackouts become the norm and water systems are defunct, the people of Delhi won't be as impressed with AAP as they are today. Supratim's point about Janata Party is very relevant. I'm reminded of Raj Narain.
What has happened now is that Arvind has been out-flanked to his LEFT by Vinod Binny. Binny wanted water up to 700 litres to be free for EVERYONE regardless of any exceptions. He didn't like the idea that Arvind had promised that he'd give water free but then put a condition (it was definitely there in his manifesto, which I had read in full) that anyone who used more than 700 litres would need to pay the full amount. Such policy thinking is NONSENSICAL with no regard to its marginal effects on incentives (including incentives for corruption), but that's a different point. (Arvind doesn't understand ANYTHING about incentives. He is an economics innocent.)
However, what has happened is that the sheen of AAP has disappeared in less than one month of taking forming government.
It was always expected that AAP's popularity would wane, but for it to plummet in this manner is quite astonishing.
As someone has summarised: "AK has simple one line philosophy,"sabki suno, apni karo….".
Three key people have pinned down Arvind's style of functioning to date:
3. Vinod Binny
In each case, the allegation is similar, and entirely consistent with what I've experienced with Arvind. Basically, he seems to OVER-PROMISE, UNDER-DELIVER. And he forgets what he had committed.
In my case he committed to reading my book (asked me to send it over to him), then despite repeated reminders by email, did not either read it – or, when finally pinned down by a Business Standard report on my opinion about his economics illiteracy – told me he did not even remember meeting me (we have a photo, and emails from Somanth Bharti to him confirming the meeting!). Did not read BFN, Did not bother to read my emails. Forgot. And arrogantly responded as if he was totally self-sufficient in his knowledge.
This time, though, it is not just about his forgetfulness, or even lying (whether accidental or deliberate). It is about his INTEGRITY. He went about haranguing Sheila Dixit while she was CM, alleging she was corrupt. But the moment he became CM, he has been entirely silent on this issue.
I won't write off AAP entirely for 2014, but it is clearly following the Janata Party's footsteps. Out of AAP will emerge numerous smaller, insignificant parties, mostly well to the left of AAP.
The greatest beneficiary of this self-destruction of AAP is Modi. And Congress is probably back in the game as well (ref: Supratim's prediction).
I was hoping to share a significant announcement re: Navbharat Party/Manch, but that must, unfortunately, be delayed. That WILL happen but will take some more time.
India's political situation is getting murkier and murkier.
It is at such a time that India needed a well-disciplined liberal party. Nav Bharat Party is the closest to becoming one.