THE KEJRIWAL FACTOR BY SHANTONU SEN

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Arvind Kejriwal’s political life is barely four years old. His exploits , his exuberance, his doggedness determination his courage , some call it foolhardiness his self belief mark him out to be a man who is different. A person to watch out for? He has his critics and his foes , some very bitter ones ;those who hate his guts, revile him all the time. Does he have also those who admire and adore him.? He does or his Aam Admi Party would not have romped home in the erstwhile Delhi elections or his even odd policy to curb pollution in Delhi early January would not have received the acclaim it did. His sway is , however, limited to some parts of the north of the country Delhi, Punjab and , possibly Haryana and odd parts of Rajasthan. But he is on the march.. Bihar first and now Goa is getting to know him. Be that as it may his direct confrontations ,his choice of words to denigrate the high and the mighty among his political opponents is intriguing .

He is so rude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi! He has capped his lack of deference to him over a period of time by attacking him for the CBI investigations against his Principal Secretary . He has called him nasty names. His use of the words‘ coward’ and’ psychopath’ has been condemned and yet he has refused to apologize. He has , quite brazenly, retorted that while his words may well might sound despicable to them ,their ,meaning the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, are steeped in evil deeds. Let them undo their evil before asking him to apologize, he has been widely quoted to have said , both in the print and the electronic media. A veritable insult to injury. Nearly dozen of his MLAs have been handcuffed and incarcerated , albeit temporarily, Twenty one more are facing suspension, disqualification or worse for holding , allegedly, office of profit being designated Parliamentary Secretaries. He himself is facing criminal trial in about half a dozen cases under charges of defamation . The Chairperson of the Delhi Commission of Women is hauled up by the ACB. He has announced her possible arrest. He is , mildly put, in a spot of a bother.

At the same time an India Today has reported that his popularity in Delhi is waning. Six months ago he was held in esteem by 55% percent of those who were polled but its 33% in August 2016. But , rather surprisingly , for his critics, he has acquired an all India image. 14% of those polled rate him as a prospective Prime Minister. He, along with Nitish has received the highest percentage of support among all those , barring the present incumbent as candidates for the hottest seat in the country.

That Arvind Kejriwal is going places of that there can be no two opinions. Prime Minister with whom he is , mildly put, not very popular wished him A Happy Birthday! Mamta Bannerjee called on him with a bouquet of flowers. In Punjab he and his Party, the APP Party is popular. His stubborn streak,. considered his Achilles heels, will ensure that he remains in the lime light and the knives that are out for him will never be sheathed as long he is politically active. Paradoxically, his controversial mien will keep him going. I am stretching my neck out but I do predict he will go a step forward now, He and Mamta Bannerjee will forge a Federal Front . They will jointly throw the gauntlet to Narender Modi, Nitish may join them. Naveen Patnaik mat be invited. He may or may not. Both Arvind and Mamta are very controversial but both are popular .. Both are immensely disliked, too. by a very large section. They will face Narendra Modi in 2019.

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