Arvind Kejriwal: Populism’s Comprador – Ravi Shankar Etteth

Ravi Shankar Etteth“Imitation is the best form of flattery, but it also reveals a bankruptcy of ideas. By sporting saffron caps a la Kejri, the BJP is borrowing AAP’s iconography, thereby becoming its own caricature. The middle class is the new political power, and all three know this. But the BJP is its own nemesis. A cabal is attempting to sabotage the vision to abolish multi-tax chaos—which would be the biggest game changer with the middle classes and traders, the BJP’s main votebank. It is obvious that a section in the BJP is supporting both Kejri and the Congress by default, to hobble Modi’s chances.” – Ravi Shankar Etteth

M.K. Gandhi &n Sarojini Naidu on the Salt March, 1930There are images in history that are forever embedded in the mythos of a people, defining the symbols of the age—usually chaotic with the churning of public opinion. They represent change. Mahatma Gandhi walking towards the eternal seashore of Dandi is a defining symbol of India’s freedom struggle. He transformed khadi into a symbol of national pride, and the burning of British goods—which may have been superior in quality—was a watershed moment in Indian history. The image of the “half-naked fakir”, as Winston Churchill called him, spinning a charkha is even today a metaphor of Swaraj. The bulldog-faced Churchill, with the defiant cigar in a grim mouth, symbolised implacable chutzpah against Hitler’s war machine. There are more—Lenin’s statues in unforgiving profile, Nehru’s flamboyant red rose, Ho Chi Minh’s conical hat. These form the lithography of change.

Kejriwal the 'free' electrician!India has minted itself a new icon. A bespectacled man wearing a trademark cap and a lumpy pullover, sporting a toothbrush moustache and a muffler wrapped around his neck, standing by an electric pole, pliers in hand, cutting wires. Arvind Kejriwal is India’s new hero. Only, he is breaking the law he is sworn to uphold as Delhi’s chief minister. In a sweeping gesture of lumpen populism, all cases against power theft accused would be withdrawn. Those who haven’t paid their power bills would be forgiven—losses to the exchequer be damned. Case in point: post-privatisation, losses to Delhi government were reduced by 70 per cent, saving Rs 37, 000 crore of public money. Power theft went down from 45 per cent to 5 per cent. However comical the comparison, men like Gandhi defied the law to create freedom while men like Kejri are breaking the law to create anarchy. Citizen cops to carry out sting operations is a populist masterstroke, but only the small fish would fall in the net—the policeman who takes a Rs 100 bribe or the sanitary inspector who pockets Rs 500. The big players who bribe politicians with crores of rupees for public contracts do not do sting operations because they would be the losers.

Rahul-G Kejri is only doing what Rahul Gandhi wishes to do. They are doppelgangers, and perhaps ideological confederates, supposedly working to sweep anti-people rot from the system. Rahul is for massive subsidies for votebanks. So is Kejri. Waiving farmers’ loans encourages defaulters and is not empowerment. Rahul is for minority reservation, while Kejri woos Muslim votes and wants reservation for Delhi students; just like Marathi manoos Raj Thackeray. Rahul is against big business, so is Kejri who opposes FDI in retail. Kejri could decimate the ageing venal Congress leadership—which is Rahul’s aim. Kejri is India’s new Rahul Gandhi while the Congress party’s Kejri is willing to let his alter ego do the job. Rahul knows Kejri is the only challenger to what Narendra Modi stands for and is allowing the next election to become a contest not between him and Modi, but between Kejri and Modi. Thus, by devaluing the Modi franchise, the Congress plays the puppeteer once more.

BJP copies AAP's caps!The joker in the pack is the BJP. Imitation is the best form of flattery, but it also reveals a bankruptcy of ideas. By sporting saffron caps a la Kejri, the BJP is borrowing AAP’s iconography, thereby becoming its own caricature. The middle class is the new political power, and all three know this. But the BJP is its own nemesis. A cabal is attempting to sabotage the vision to abolish multi-tax chaos—which would be the biggest game changer with the middle classes and traders, the BJP’s main votebank. It is obvious that a section in the BJP is supporting both Kejri and the Congress by default, to hobble Modi’s chances.

Replicating the Delhi model at the Centre could be a feasible post-poll scenario, and other ‘secular’ parties would support Kejri to keep Modi and the BJP out. The Congress perpetuates itself by supporting the enemy outside, while the enemy within could destroy the BJP. – The New Indian Express, 12 January 2013

» Ravi Shankar Etteth is a columnist for The New Indian Express. He can be contacted at ravi@newindianexpress.com

2 Responses

  1. Transforming India

    Here is a PARTIAL list of initiatives that may transform India – if successful

    But let not ” Fear of Failure ” prevent us from undertaking a ” Out of Box ” thinking

    In a democracy , people have a right to differ

    Hence , many will not agree – but they must have their say

    In the end , there is only ONE WAY to find what works – and what does not

    BY TRYING OUT !

    MY LIST ( not in order of importance or priority ) :

    > Food Security Bill

    > Connecting 2.5 lakh panchayats thru broadband

    > Aakash Tablets for 220 million students

    > Lokpal Act / Delivery of Services Act ( ” Magic Wand ” App ? )

    > Bank Transaction Tax / Demonetization of Rs 1000 currency note

    > Aadhar Identification Card

    > Electoral Reforms / Right to Recall ( ” VotesApp ” mobile App ? )

    > CAG audit of Private Companies using Government resources

    > 4G Wireless Internet all over India

    > Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor

    > Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata Industrial Corridor

    > Natural Resources Allocation Policy

    > Political Party’s Funds under RTI scrutiny

    > Social Media based marketing

    > Liberalization in FDI ( Entire economy – not just retail )

    > Direct Transfer of Subsidies to poor

    > Government funding of Elections

    > Interlinking of Major Rivers

    > ” India Post Bank ” with 139,040 branches in Rural areas

    > Bank A/C for every adult by 2016

    > Divestment / Closure of loss-making / bleeding PSUs

    > Imparting skills to 500 million youth ( NSDC )

    > Sulabh Sauchalaya

    Here are my own suggestions :

    > BLACK MONEY

    * As incomes climb ( for an individual or for a corporate ), reduce taxation
    rates for each higher slab ( inverse of present system )
    Eliminate incentive for tax – evasion
    Reward honesty / efficiency / productivity
    Celebrate Wealth-Creators

    No more “Black Money ” generators

    With such ” Inverse Taxation ” regime , we can

    expect Corporate and HNIs from all over the

    world , to pump in $ 100 billion worth of

    investment, EVERY YEAR , in our Infrastructure

    projects !

    * Introduce Amnesty Scheme for black money declaration
    No questions asked ( re Source of funds ) for investment in specific
    Infrastructure Bonds , with tax – free interest for 10 years

    > JOBS

    * With ever-increasing mechanization / automation in every sector of
    economy , there is no way , we can create 12 MILLION new jobs ,
    either in Organized or Unorganized sectors , year after year
    Creating just ONE job in these sectors , requires a

    Capital Investment of Rs 1 million ( Ave )

    Where can we find Rs 12 million million ?

    Our only hope lies in creating ” SELF – EMPLOYMENT ”

    To generate massive self – employment , provide generous , low interest
    loans and ” Tax Free ” income (up to Rs 5 Lakh/ year) for self-employed
    ( including Proprietary Firms )

    * Create an ” ONLINE JOB EXCHANGE ” to replace 943 existing physical
    Employment Exchanges , with 42 million current registrations

    Call it ” GLOBAL-RECRUITER ”

    Require ALL job-portals of India , to RSS feed into Global-Recruiter ,

    # Every single job advt posted everyday( including current )
    # Every resume posted everyday ( including current )

    Make these jobs and resumes ” searchable ” from ALL the job-portals ,
    irrespective of , on which job portal , these were posted

    After matching ” JOBS ” with ” RESUMES ” , Global Recruiter to send out
    daily Job – Alerts on the smart phones of the jobseekers , thru a mobile
    App , ” MY JOBS ” – against which , candidates can apply from mobile

    Make it mandatory for every Smart phone and Tablet sold ( or given away
    free ) in India , to pre-install ” My Jobs ” App

    And , most certainly , on those 9 million Aakash – 4 tablets for which
    tender opens on 28th Jan 2014

    Will Narendra Modi / Rahul Gandhi / Arvind Kejriwal etc , incorporate these , in their poll manifestos for April 2014 election ?

    * hemen parekh ( 15 Jan 2014 / Mumbai )

    Like

  2. IBNLive poll: 69% want Narendra Modi as the next PM, 27% vote for Arvind Kejriwal – IBNLive – 14 January 2014

    New Delhi: In an IBNLive poll that got 46,850 votes from 137 countries (60% from India, 18% from US) BJP’s Narendra Modi emerged as the clear favourite for the post of the Prime Minister of India accounting for 68.63% of the votes polled while Congress’ Rahul Gandhi could gather only 3.26% of the votes.

    The poll is also an indicator of AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal’s wide support amongst Internet users. While Kejriwal got less than half of the votes than Modi, the Delhi Chief Minister, as a new entrant in the political fray, accumulated more than a quarter of all the votes (27.18%).

    The poll also allowed users to add their own choice (in addition from the three listed) but only 0.93% opted for that

    Like

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