Arvind Kejriwal (AK), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo, remains an enigma due to his chameleon (a person who often changes his or her beliefs or behaviour in order to please others or to succeed) like personality, behaviour changes best suited to changing environmental political situations to achieve his end objective: by “hook or crook” reach the pinnacle of politics in India – the Prime Minister.
Viewed broadly, AK’s individual personality and behavioural traits are highly complex. Neither ideology worries him nor key features like ethics, morals, values and mental ethical traits bother him. AK is highly calculative in all his moves: exploits and attempts to seize opportunities with disregard to its fallout – political opportunism. AK makes repeated u-turns. His behavioural pattern is a product of contextual inherited life-altering experiences including current day “do or die” vicious politics.
Can such a controversial character be expected to steer the nation on an even keel? Key milestones of AK’s life story are reviewed broadly. Born in Agrawal community in Haryana in August 1968, none can deny credit to AK for his academic par excellence intellectual credentials – a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur. Served in TATA Steel, Jamshedpur, from 1989 to 1992. Resigned and spent some time in Kolkata, where he met Mother Teresa, and volunteered with The Missionaries of Charity and at the Ramakrishna Mission in North-East and at Nehru Yuva Kendra.
AK’s personality assessment must be viewed from the several defamation cases filed against him by his political opponents and his later apologies
In 1995, AK qualified in the Civil Services Examination and joined the Indian Revenue Service as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax. His service was riddled in controversy. While in service in December 1999, AK, Manish Sisodia and others founded a movement named Parivartan (change) – a non registered non government organisation in Delhi. Parivartan addressed citizens’ grievances related to the Public Distribution System (PDS), public works, social welfare schemes, income tax and electricity. It ran on individual donations – a Jan Andolan movement. By 2000, Parivartan organised movements to include: a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding transparency in public dealings of the IT Department and organised Satyagraha outside the Chief Commissioner’s office and electricity department.
In January 2000, AK took two years paid leave to pursue higher education on the condition that he would not resign from service on resuming work for at least two years. On rejoining, AK kept getting his salary without doing any work. After working for 18 months, AK applied for leave without pay. For the next 18 months, Kejriwal was on sanctioned unpaid leave.
When the Delhi Government enacted a State-level RTI Act in 2001, Parivartan used to help people get their work done in Government Departments without paying a bribe. In 2002, the group obtained official reports on 68 public works projects, and performed a community-led audit to expose misappropriations worth Rs 7 million in 64 projects. In 2003 (and again in 2008), Parivartan also exposed a PDS scam. In 2004, Parivartan also stopped the World Bank-aided project for privatisation of water supply that would have resulted in a likely ten-fold hike in water tariffs. The project was stalled as a result of Parivartan’s activism. So also, the Parivartan-led movement resulted in a court order that required private schools, which had received public land at discounted prices, to admit more than 700 poor kids without a fee.
Next, in 2005, AK and Manish Sisodia launched “Kabir” – a registered NGO. According to AK, Kabir was mainly run by Sisodia. Unlike Parivartan, Kabir accepted institutional donations. Finally, in February 2006, AK resigned as Joint Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi. Ultimately, AK paid Rs 927, 787 as dues, but stated that this should not be considered as an admission of fault. Meanwhile in 2006, AK was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in recognition of his involvement in Parivartan. In December 2006, AK established the Public Cause Research Foundation together with Manish Sisodia and Abhinandan Sekhri. He donated his Ramon Magsaysay Award prize money as seed fund. Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi served as the Foundation’s trustees.
In 2010, AK protested against corruption in the Commonwealth Games. He argued that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) did not have any powers to take any action against the guilty, while CBI was incapable of launching an unbiased investigation against the Ministers. He advocated appointment of public ombudsman – Lokpal at Centre and Lokayuktas in States.
Using Hazare To Fulfil His Political Ambition
In 2011, AK joined several other activists, including Anna Hazare and Kiran Bedi, to form India Against Corruption (IAC) group that evolved into the 2011 IAC Movement demanding enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The Government convened the draft committee for the NAC Bill. AK was one of the civil society representative members of this committee. AK alleged that the IAC activists had an unequal position in the committee, and the Government appointees kept ignoring their recommendations. The Government argued that the activists could not be allowed to blackmail the elected representatives through protests. AK retorted that democratically elected representatives functioned like dictators. Furthermore, AK and other activists criticised the NAC’s Bill on the grounds that it did not have enough powers to take action against the Prime Minister, the judiciary and others. The activists also criticised the procedure for the selection of Lokpal, the transparency clauses and the proposal to disallow the Lokpal from taking cognisance of public grievances.
The IAC activists intensified their protests, and Anna Hazare organised a hunger strike. AK and other activists were arrested for defying a police directive to give a written undertaking that they will not go to JP Park. AK attacked the Government on this and said there was a need for a debate over police power to detain and release people at will. Finally in August 2011, a settlement was reached between the Government and the activists.
Allegation of Foreign Funding
However, activist Arundhati Roy claimed that the IAC movement was not a people’s movement; instead, it was funded by foreigners to influence policymaking in India. She pointed out that the Ford Foundation had funded the Emergent Leadership category of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and also donated $397,000 to AK’s NGO Kabir. AK denied the allegations that the movement was a plot against the ruling Congress by the RSS, or that it was an upper-caste conspiracy against the Dalits.
Portraying Himself As Messiah of the Masses
By January 2012, the Government backtracked on its promise to implement a strong Jan Lokpal, resulting in another series of protests from AK and his fellow activists. These protests attracted lower participation compared to the 2011 protests. One of the major criticisms directed at the Jan Lokpal activists was that they had no right to dictate terms to the elected representatives. As a result, AK and fellow activists decided to enter politics. By mid-2012, AK replaced Anna Hazare as the face of the protestors. In November 2012, they formally launched the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP); Kejriwal was elected as the party’s National Convener. The AAP was launched at Bangalore in July 2013. After joining politics, AK claimed that he had chosen public service over earning crores as an Income Tax Commissioner. The IRS association highlighted that AK was never promoted to be Commissioner of Income Tax.
In the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly elections, AK contested against the incumbent Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit defeating the incumbent CM, in New Delhi by a margin of 25,864 votes. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 31 seats, followed by AAP with 28 seats. However, AK formed a minority government in the hung Assembly, with outside support from the eight INC MLAs, one Janata Dal MLA and one independent MLA.
Kejriwal has self proclaimed himself to be ‘anarchist’. Most importantly, AK took the first opportunity to bundle out the original founding members of the AAP – Shanti Bhusan, Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhusan, Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas etc. By doing so, AK demonstrated his intellectual bankruptcy as an “autocrat” bordering on narcissist personality
On February 14, 2014, AK resigned as Chief Minister after failing to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly. He recommended the dissolution of the Assembly. AK blamed the Congress and the BJP for stalling the anti-corruption legislation. In April 2014, he said that he had made a mistake by resigning without publicly explaining the rationale. In 2015 during the second term of the AAP Government, the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed. Cosmetic passage of Jan Lok Pal Bill may not have the deterrence effect as puritans would like to believe.
Also, AK’s personality assessment must be viewed from the several defamation cases filed against him by his political opponents and his later apologies to include: 2014 – apologised to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for his unverified allegations in the case of list of most corrupt politicians; 2016 and 2018 – apologised to Bikram Majithia on involvement in drug trade. In 2018, AK, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chaddha and Ashutosh apologised to Arun Jaitley for alleging that he committed irregularities in the DDCA in a joint letter. AK’s “hug” with Laloo Prasad Yadav, convicted for corruption in various scams, reflects the most dramatic turnaround in his behaviour from being the ‘Champion or flag bearer of “IAC” to making a u-turn. Latest is the filing of a case against his Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who is in jail and the investigations into Liquorgate scam involving his buddy Manish Sisodia. Most importantly, in an affidavit to the Election Directorate before the second term elections in 2015, AK had also declared that he has 10 criminal charges and 47 total charges against him.
AK has self proclaimed himself to be ‘anarchist’. Most importantly, AK took the first opportunity to bundle out the original founding members of the AAP – Shanti Bhusan, Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhusan, Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas etc. By doing so, AK demonstrated his intellectual bankruptcy as an “autocrat” bordering on narcissist personality. Consequently, many founding members in the States also disassociated with the AAP.
Having been in the forefront of the IAC Movement against the Congress Party’s corruption, AK sought the support of the Congress party to become Chief Minister – another u-turn.
Chastised by the electorate, AK exploited the opportunity provided by the Modi led NDA for inaction against corruption to gain a thumping victory in Delhi State Assembly elections.
On the political views, AK advocates for a decentralisation of Government and involvement of the Panchayats in local decisions and budgets and foreign multinational corporations power reduced in the decision making process of the Central Government and that the politicians at the Centre must be held accountable for their actions and inaction after their election.
Insulting Hindus By Questioning The Need For A Ram Mandir
Most importantly, however, AK has been insulting Hindus and making and adopting anti-India and anti-Hindu policies. For example, AK on several occasions had questioned the need for a Ram Mandir. In 2014, AK mocked the intent and repeatedly said that the Government should instead build schools, colleges and hospitals. In August 2020, the official Twitter handle of AAP had shared pictures of Kanchenjunga in Sikkim, held sacred by both Hindus and the Buddhists, Kamet Peak, and Nanda Devi hills in Uttarakhand, where lies a sacred temple of Nanda Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Durga. It drew analogies between these sacred peaks and a humongous landfill at Ghazipur in Delhi. The controversial tweet was accompanied by the caption, “Highest Mountains of India.” Ahead of the 2019 General Elections, Kejriwal had shared an image where a man with a broom can be seen hitting the Swastika symbol, a symbol holy to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Yet, in June 2021, AAP leader Sanjay Singh ran a misinformation campaign alleging funds misappropriations by the BJP and Ayodhya Ram Mandir Trust.
In 2020, AK took another u-turn by declaring himself as a devotee of Hanuman. He claimed that since Hanuman is a devotee of Sri Ram, by extension, even he is so. AK announced that after the Ram Mandir is constructed in Ayodhya, he will take the elderly people from Delhi free of cost to Ayodhya for Darshan.
In 2016, AAP faced widespread criticism, especially from the Sikh community after it published a picture of the Golden Temple and the party symbol ‘broom’ on the title page of its youth manifesto and then compared the same with holy scriptures of the Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians in a speech at its release.
Alluding That Hindu Genocide In Kashmir Was Fake
Next, AK initially opposed regularisation of the Kashmiri Hindu teachers but relented on court orders in 2019 and failed to give permanent jobs to 233 Kashmiri Pandits. AK sparked outrage for his recent comments in the legislative Assembly in which he mocked The Kashmir Files and implied that the Kashmiri Hindu genocide was ‘fake’ by calling the movie a “Jhoothi film“ (full of lies). Criticising BJP for supporting the film, he had asked the filmmakers to put the film up on YouTube for free.
Most significantly, the AK-led AAP has always been at the forefront of providing tactical support to any type of protest or violence against Hindus. The anti-CAA protests in 2020 culminating in the anti-Hindu Delhi riots was a clear manifestation of planned genocide against Hindus living in the Muslim-dominated areas. The AAP ran a misinformation campaign alleging that protests led by women at Shaheen Bagh neighborhood against the CAA were “scripted and strategized” by the BJP. They claimed that the Shaheen Bagh shooter, Kapil Gujjar, who opened fire near the anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh on February 1, was allegedly associated with the BJP and was inspired by senior leaders like Anurag Thakur and Delhi MP Parvesh Singh Sahib. This conspiracy theory, however, fell flat when the Delhi Police revealed that the shooter belonged to the AAP, exposing the dangerous nexus with shooter.
Furthermore, AK supported the “tukde tukde gang” and sheltered anti-Hindu Delhi riots kingpins Tahir Husain and Amanatullah Khan. The AAP government procrastinated delaying the process of granting sanctions to prosecute the “tukde tukde gang. After delay in February 2020, the ruling AAP permitted the prosecution of Kanhaiya Kumar and others.
Also, AK and the AAP nexus with the Khalistani’s are also real. AAP, along with other opposition parties such as the Congress, supported the ‘farmers’ protest at the Singhu border against the Central government’s farm laws, which was hijacked by Khalistani elements. AAP even provided the protesters at Singhu Border with free Wi-Fi. It was these Khalistani elements who stormed the national capital on Republic Day 2021. In fact, after the AAP’s clean sweep in Punjab in the 2022 Assembly elections, the banned Khalistani organization SFJ had written a letter to the now, Punjab Chief Minister and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann requesting that the AAP allow a Khalistani referendum. In a letter released by the SFJ, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, made a sensational allegation that AK-led AAP used Khalistan votes and funds to win Punjab.
Most disconcerting is AKs protest over AGNIPATH scheme favoring status quo ante of the armed forces recruitment procedure and service conditions without having a clue about the need for advancing combat capability of forces due to technology advancements. Recruiting shortages in skill sets ultimately result into capability shortages in combat. More significantly, investing in technology over personnel is a sure recipe for disaster in wars.
Of utmost significance is the array of spokespersons (Saurab Bharadwaj, Raghav Chadda, Sanjay Singh, Atishi Marlena, etc) appearing 24×365 on visual media spreading speculative rumors, fake and false news, thereby conduct high-decibel information warfare to swing people in their favor is certainly a critical factor. But, what about its costs? And, the fund flows?
Viewed in the background personality behavioral pattern of abandoning professional career and jumping into politics and fake, indulging in unsubstantiated campaigns and U-turns, AK and his band of followers are a band of “Autocratic-Anarchists” and self-centric opportunistic leaders in pursuit of power at all costs. AK has mastered the art and science of political opportunism. As of now, de facto, AK and his team are not a political statesman of virtue, ethics and morality. Of course, their track record of providing services to society is poor. In sum, what next “face or mask’ will AK and his gang wear will be governed by their ruthless pursuit of power. Being an intellectual par excellence, AK will attempt all his best to exploit all available opportunities to his personal advantage by vilifying rivals with utter disregard to its fallout on the people, the society and least on national security interests.