P Chidambaram: That is not populism. There is, as I said yesterday, a dividing line between agitation and anarchy. It is a very thin line. I cannot imagine that a chief minister instead of governing will go and sit on dharna on the streets of Delhi. Kejriwal established the AAP in November 2012 as he believed that electoral politics was the next logical step in the fight against corruption. The party name reflects the phrase Aam Aadmi, or "common man", whose interests Kejriwal proposed to represent laws as they are made in Parliament and not through dharnas on roads. Das noted that a Chief Minister should have faith in the system. "Even if he does not believe in the system, he should change it instead of shouting and making allegations in the streets or through media. He is trying to divert his responsibility." Kejriwal must understand that a government is run through Assembly or Parliament and not on the streets of any city Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers today began a dharna outside Rail Bhavan here demanding action against police officials who refused to carry out a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution racket in South Delhi last week. Defying prohibitory orders in force in the high-security area near the seat of power, Kejriwal accompanied by six of his ministers attempted to go to North Block housing the Home Ministry to lodge their protest. However, they were stopped near the Rail Bhavan as the nearby Vijay Chowk and the entire Rajpath were sealed for the Republic Day rehearsal that was going on. Making an impromptu address to his MLAs and supporters, Kejriwal put the blame squarely on the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Centre for the situation that has led to his dharna and said he has come prepared for 10 days and would continue the agitation further if need be. He said any crisis arising out of the situation will be the responsibility of the Centre. Rejecting Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's statement that action can be taken only after an inquiry, the Chief Minister demanded immediate suspension of the "corrupt" officials who refused to act in the interest of public whose cause Bharti had taken up. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who began a sit-in protest near Rail Bhawan, was conspicuous by his absence at a meeting of National Capital Region Parliamentary Board (NCRPB) here.
He continued the dharna demanding suspension of some Delhi police officials for alleged dereliction of duty.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which governs Delhi state, has called off its dharna, or protest, in the city after some concessions by Delhi Police. Many found the idea of a chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, taking to the streets in his own state, absurd. After all, isn't it the job of an elected government to govern, instead of staging showy demonstrations?
This argument misses an anomaly in the heart of Delhi politics. Delhi's state government has fewer powers than other state governments .. Crucially, the government of Delhi does not have any authority over Delhi Police, which reports to the Union home ministry through the lieutenant governor. Delhi Police is not accountable to the elected government of Delhi. The AAP's campaign was ostensibly focused on getting a few cops who allegedly took no action on certain crimes in the city, sacked. But its real goals extend way beyond.
First, it wants control of Delhi's police forces to be shifted to the elected government. This is what former chief minister Sheila Dikshit tried, and failed to get, for 15 years. This is a legitimate demand. Yet, the AAP is also guilty of resorting to vigilantism, when its law minister tried to force policemen to arrest some Africans without warrants, based on rumour and racial profiling. The same minister now faces six criminal charges filed by Delhi Police. Whether this incident exposed the AAP's lack of administrative experience or whether it was a political manoeuvre leading to the dharna is not...