Sunday, December 29, 2013

Aam Admi Party and Arvind Kejriwal

One of the phenomena of 2013, that may mark a new beginning for India is the rise of the Aam Admi Party (Ordinary People's Party).   The Times of India had this reflection as Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Delhi:

No one could have imagined at the beginning of 2013, or even six months ago, that Arvind Kejriwal would return to the Ramlila Maidan, two and a half years after Anna's big anti-corruption fast, to take oath as chief minister before the year was out. This has been a peaceful political revolution of epic proportions - and we, as a nation, should feel proud. Kejriwal may be the man of the moment, but this not about him - or any one person. This is about the idea of India. We have been called a flawed democracy, and indeed there are times when a sense of hopelessness takes over; but it's also the flaws that help us appreciate beauty when it shines through. There is no greater beauty on earth than to behold the will of the people be given voice without having to resort to violence. So let us pause for a moment to cherish the precious, and yes imperfect, beauty of our democracy.

For Kejriwal, the real challenge - of governance - begins now. He has changed the rules of the game, playing the role of an outsider with consummate political savvy. Whether his 'movement' can go national will depend on how wisely he runs Delhi. It will also depend on whether the Congress, having extended support, is willing to give him a fair chance. Its decision to boycott the swearing-in ceremony does not bode well for the future. The party that helped give us this beauty we call democracy should know that it has diminished itself by its churlishness. It should also know that a little grace never hurt, even in politics.