Politics is truly the theatre of the absurd. It has emerged that, after the drubbing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) received in the recent municipal corporation elections in Delhi, party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal got newly-elected AAP corporators to swear in the name of God that they wouldn’t betray the “movement” or defect. Kejriwal warned his fellow partymen that were they to leave the party for money, “God will extract twice or thrice that amount” from them.
He must have hoped that with little else to ensure discipline at a time when the morale is so low, the threat of divine vengeance would hold the party together. The biting irony is that the AAP chief is fearful of losing his cadre after poll posters featured mostly him, with sometimes even the name of the party not mentioned, almost as if he were some godhead. The Delhi corporation is outside the cover of anti-defection laws, and the fear that other parties will try and wean his flock away must be gnawing at Kejriwal’s heart.
Earnest though it sounds every time the CM says it, you can’t help but wonder if the party’s refrain that “record any inducement” doesn’t have a touch paranoia—in the present instance, he was asking AAP corporators to always keep recording devices on their person to capture any attempt by other parties to get them to defect. The AAP chief need not have come to this rather sorry state, of using the divine to coerce support. There was no need for him to cast the polls as a referendum on him, especially given he had won the Delhi Assembly elections with 67 out of 70 seats.
While there have been accusations from former members that the party had become a personality cult centred around Kejriwal, it is true of the other political parties, too. Kejriwal’s undoing is perhaps that he, too, is sold to the idea. Otherwise, there would have been an honest assessment of how the party lost despite the BJP having done a poor job at the helm for nearly a decade, instead of party leadership crying itself hoarse over “tampered EVMs.”