Frankly, we have no dearth of corrupt politicians in India. Scarcely there is a party that hasn’t been tainted by some or the other blot of corruption.
The grand old party that Gandhi said should be wrapped up used to set the benchmarks of corruption (while it was in power at the Center) and the rest used to emulate, to their best abilities.
There are corrupt families like we have had in the South, in U.P., J&K, Bihar, etc., or highly corrupt individuals.
Then why does AAP become a target of derision? Why is Kejriwal disliked more than, say, a Laloo, a Mulayam, a Mamata Bannerjee, or a Karunanidhi? After all these political figures are often accused of corrupt practices and playing highly destructive communal politics.
The problem with Kejriwal is that his political party is not a political party in the conventional sense. His political party is a Ponzi scheme. The other political parties commit scams, but the AAP is a scam in itself.
What’s the difference?
The supporters of Congress or BSP (just to name a couple of such parties) never deny that the parties they support are corrupt. They say corruption is a necessary evil. Rajiv Gandhi himself admitted that out of 1 rupee allocated for the betterment of the poor, only ten paise reached the poor.
People who prefer Samajwadi Party (or any such non-BJP party) say that corruption is the price the country has to pay to keep a communal party like the BJP coming to power. This was actually told to me by one of the BJP opponents. She said given a choice between corruption and communalism, people should choose corruption. She didn’t mind hundreds of thousands of lives lost to a corrupt system or multiple generations living under the pall of poverty without any respite.
So people had internalized the existence of corruption and had, at least those who like to call themselves liberal and secular, learned to live with it.
Another thing that makes the other political parties, despite their streak of massive corruption and lawlessness, comparatively more acceptable, is the fact that their rise has been gradual. Most of the politicians in the country, no matter how corrupt they are, have gradually climbed upon the ladder of prominence, one step at a time, whether they had to kill and plunder, or indulge in inimitable sycophancy. They are politicians first and then they are corrupt politicians because they are in a position to be corrupt due to the power they wield.
With Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party it’s been the other way round. Kejriwal is manipulative and in all possibility corrupt first, and then a politician. He is like one of those gangsters who join politics just because they can, with the only difference that instead of using gun, he used people’s emotions.
Flushed with ample amounts of cash from organizations like the Ford Foundation (source), and egged on by national and international media (in the name of countering the BJP, and later on, Narendra Modi) suddenly he became known as a crusader against corruption.
Suddenly he formed the Aam Aadmi Party and suddenly became the CM of Delhi, all in the name of fighting against corruption.
Aam Aadmi means the common man. Many people joined because for the first time they saw a political party that was, at least in the beginning, devoid of goons and bullies. Any person from any locality could go to the Aam Aadmi Party office without running the risk of bumping into some ruffian.
Before the Aam Aadmi Party people used to think that politics is either for extremely powerful people or for gangsters. The common person could never think of joining politics for the sake of fighting elections. The Aam Aadmi Party and its main leaders portrayed themselves as representatives of the regular man and woman buying vegetables and groceries from the neighbourhood Safal store. They wore normal clothes instead of the khaadi that had become a symbol of political putrefaction. They didn’t look scary. They offered freebies that up till now were only offered to the rural poor.
This is exactly how a Ponzi scheme works. It promises people that it will make them rich and hence attract many people to it. Most of the people who are attracted to Ponzi schemes want to become rich quickly without having to work hard. The Aam Aadmi Party promised results very fast (which in itself isn’t wrong, actually, provided there is a delivery prospect). People without political backgrounds could suddenly become politicians. Suddenly people began to find a political haven where they began to feel safe.
Call it a cultural thing or something else, this Ponzi scheme worked in Delhi. But, a Ponzi scheme, no matter how successful it is, is still a Ponzi scheme and you cannot equate it with a real business. Someone who runs a real business knows that it requires extreme hard work, wisdom and relentless effort to create a successful business and then replicate it in other fields. The one who runs a Ponzi scheme thinks that since it’s been such an easy ride, it’s going to be an easy ride everywhere. Just organize some dharnas, get yourself dragged by the police, get your clothes torn, and there you have it.
This is why just after few months of becoming Delhi’s CM, Kejriwal wanted to be India’s PM.
The problem with a Ponzi scheme is, once you taste success in the beginning, it’s very difficult to work hard for an actual business. You are always looking for shortcuts. You are constant looking for an easy way out or an easy way in. Once you have become a Natwarlal, it’s very difficult to become a Bill Gates.
He has never worked hard. Even his claims of working as Income Tax Commissioner have been disputed by the Indian Revenue Service association (source). This tweet from Madhu Kishwar says that he has used multiple people, including his mentors, to further his Ponzi scheme, only to discard them later.
A Ponzi scheme has no substance in it. It is used merely to get money or mileage out of people. This is why Kejriwal never intended to deliver anything. He made promises left right and center without ever intending to fulfill them. Forget about fulfilling promises, he didn’t even take action against criminal politicians in his own party.
This is why he is so restless. Except for the city that had elected him, he paid attention to everything. He was running around everywhere, and when he wasn’t running around, he was getting himself treated for some sort of ailment. He was never there when people needed him because he never meant to be there in the first place.
While people saw Modi following a punishing routine to deliver the promises he had made (while we can agree or disagree on what he delivered and what he didn’t deliver), people saw Kejriwal constantly cribbing about why he couldn’t work. There only thing he was good at was doing drama.
At one point his brain became so lazy that he couldn’t think beyond Modi. His day began with a statement against Modi and ended with a statement against Modi. Even Modi’s general opponents began to find his rants against Modi boring.
This tendency became such a nuisance that his supporters, who had joined the AAP looking for a genuine political cause, started leaving one by one. Now only swindlers and opportunists are left with him.
At this juncture, he is trapped in his own Ponzi scheme. Had he been used to working hard, or to some genuine thinking, had he not even pushed his genuine supporters away with his blind, totally uncalled for pursuit of power, he could have still pulled himself out of this quagmire. But his only expertise seems to lie in running rackets. His big problem is, even while running a Ponzi scheme, he has bitten more than he is able to chew.