After a remarkable victory for anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Party, abbreviated AAP) in December's Delhi Assembly election, bringing an end to Indian National Congress’ 15-year-rule there, Kejriwal has resigned from his position as chief minister after only 49 days in office.
As the capital of India waits for its new administrator, speculations are rife about what Kejriwal's resignation bodes for the general elections later this year and how AAP will perform compared to the established political bigwigs.
Some years back, somebody with a really good sense of humour decided to christen India's common man as the “mango” man. The logic is easy to understand. “Aam” in Hindi means “common”, but it could also mean “mango”, depending upon the context. Mango man or mango people has now become a part of popular political jargon in the country, referring to the common people in India.
— namrata khedkar (@namztweets) November 24, 2012
India's “mango” people were considerably excited when the AAP managed to garner the maximum number of votes during the Delhi elections. However, Arvind Kejriwal's decision to quit from his job has surprised many and raised a number of speculations. His style of governance was unorthodox and publicity stunts like a 33-hour protest against the Delhi police ensured his frequent presence in the news.
Kejriwal had announced that he would resign from his position unless the Delhi Legislative Assembly passed the anti-corruption bill that would introduce the appointment of an anti-corruption ombudsman, the “Lokpal.” The bill would enable official enquiries into corruption complaints involving high-ranking officials. However, following the introduction of the bill in the state assembly, there was a huge uproar from the opposition and the bill could not be passed.
Kejriwal has defended his decision saying that it was one based on principle, but several supporters are disappointed.
— Vinod Chawla (@Chawla_Vd) February 17, 2014
In Facebook and Twitter, this particular statement is being shared by several critical citizens who think it is a case of sour grapes for Kejriwal.
Arvind #Kejriwal reminds me of that kid in my colony who'd throw his bat and leave the game because he got out off the first ball.
— pavan ツ (@pytesus) February 15, 2014
In his resignation letter, Kejriwal has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which represents 32 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, of getting support from billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Kejriwal's AAP had recently filed a police case against Ambani on charges of corruption.
The now ex-chief minister claims that the passage of the anti-corruption bill would have brought even more politicians under the scanner, which is why opposing parties ensured that the bill would stall in Delhi's Assembly. Kejriwal may have made a name for himself as India's foremost troublemaker, but many others, like Anand Pradhan, believe that Kejriwal has “shown the way” towards honest politics:
What is more important? Compromises for power or sacrifice for issues? #Kejriwal shows the way. Now the question is how people will see it?
— Anand Pradhan (@anandpradhan) February 14, 2014
Amrita Roy commented on a post by Aparna Wanchoo in Youth Ki Awaaz blog:
Well at least he stood by his word! Sure there were issues related to the 49 days his government was in power. Sure he doesn’t know how to deal with parliamentary anarchy. But he stood by what he has always preached. He is one of the very few people who walked the talk. If he hadn’t resigned after the vote against tabling the Lokpal Bill, both Congress and BJP would have called him opportunist. They would have definitely said that Kejriwal wants the power of the seat of the CM and hence isn’t resigning even after his pet agenda was rejected. Now that he has resigned, both these parties have resorted to declaring that he can’t govern. Either way he would be attacked. The only thing that is in his control is to stand by his word. And he did just that.
Kejriwal's move may actually prove to be a strategically potent move for the general elections this year. The AAP has already announced its main candidates for the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, this year.
The run up to the 2014 general elections has begun and the AAP is taking on the big guns in the Indian political scene. Going by the mood, India's mango people definitely seem to have a chance, and they're supporting the one party which, to say the least, appears to be the most honest of the lot.