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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2585

CBI Raids Leads To AAP Fire On Jaitley

By Atul Cowshish - Syndicate Features

The CBI raid on the office of the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, reportedly in pursuit of allegations against Rajender Kumar, his principal secretary, has led to an all-out war between the Aam Admi Party and the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, who is among the more fierce warrior of the Modi government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. He is ever ready for a battle with the opponents and loves to launch incendiary attacks on the Opposition. He not only believes that aggression is the best defence but also that one should never appear to be meek and humble or appear embarrassed by one’s own statements in the past.

After Kejriwal fired his initial shots at him, Jaitley refused to answer the charges hurled at him by Kejriwal or his party because they were based on ‘falsehood’. He followed it up by issuing himself a resounding good character certificate which was duly endorsed by the top leadership of the BJP. How can anyone richly endowed with ‘impeccable integrity’ be questioned?

Jaitley may deserve the good words that his party says about him. But what is missing from his calculation is that his opponent in the present context is Arvind Kejriwal, a self-confessed ‘anarchist’ who can excel Jaitley in using superlatives against opponents.

The Modi followers are yet to recover from the shock that Kejriwal administered on them by calling the prime minister a ‘coward’ and a ‘psychopath’, forgetting that the adjectives used in the past for some of previous prime ministers by BJP leaders were much stronger and poorer in taste.

There are precedents when persons with ‘impeccable’ records have had to face serious allegations that have led to their downfall even when the charges were not upheld in a court. The verbal joust between Kejriwal and Jaitley may not lead to the downfall of either. But both may see a dent in their image as claimants of high morality and probity in public life.

Kejriwal will appear to be in a bigger danger of that. He rose to fame and power on the crest of the Anna Hazare-led India against Corruption movement. At its height the movement was seen by everybody as a big public push against the disease of corruption.

Then came a setback when Kejriwal ‘betrayed’ the movement by floating a political party (Aam Admi Party) despite opposition from Hazare. Kejriwal’s decision could have surprised only those who had refused to accept that IAC was formed not just to wage a war on corruption but to oust and replace the ‘corrupt’ government by ‘honest’ men and women.

As the supremo of his party, Kejriwal has only followed the unwritten but accepted rules of political parties which require, among other things, displaying the traits of the three monkeys when facing serious allegations—hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. But charges against rivals and opponents are to be thrown loudly and incessantly.

It is, of course, for the courts to decide if Rajender Kumar is guilty of any crime, but it cannot be doubted that he has been under cloud for a long time, much before Kejriwal, said to be his old buddy, picked him up as his principal secretary. As one who had shown so much passion about rooting out corruption, the least that could be expected was that Kejriwal will not rush to induct Rajender Kumar in his secretariat.

The AAP leadership, after all, was strict in dealing with some of its ministers who faced serious allegations of misdemeanour. It could be said on their behalf that if Kejriwal saw no reason to distance himself from Rajender Kumar why did he sack his ministerial colleagues when no court had pronounced them guilty?

Kejriwal has to keep in mind that his running battle with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, whom he describes as the face of the central government, has not impressed many of his followers in Delhi who see it as an uncalled for spectacle when his energies should have been focused on giving Delhi a good administration and, of course, rooting out corruption. It is arguable if he has made much impression in either field.

Kejriwal’s return fire may appear to be misdirected but, as they say, everything is fair in love and war, more so in political wars in contemporary India. He could not be expected to sit silently as the ‘caged parrot’ flies out of its captivity into his office. It has been reported that during the raid the CBI had closed access to the entire floor in which is situated the office of the Delhi chief minister.

Kejriwal picked up Jaitley as his main target and brought in the issue of Jaitley’s not-so-distinguished tenure as the boss of the Delhi and District Cricket Association. He has grown louder with the claim that an unnamed CBI officer has told him that the government at the centre was gunning for all the non-BJP chief ministers and Opposition leaders. Recent events, including raids by the CBI and tax departments, would suggest that Kejriwal’s allegations may not be entirely baseless.

Arun Jaitley’s self-acclaimed holiness does not absolve him of the charge that he had failed to clean the mess that has been accumulating in the DDCA for years. For close to a decade he was the head of this body, a private enterprise, which hosts big and mega revenue churning cricket matches in Delhi. Jaitley cannot say that he did not know that allegations about various kinds of fraud have been cropping up in the DDCA.

That all is not well within the DDCA was once again in sharp focus when Delhi nearly lost a Test match a few weeks ago. The match was conducted under court orders. Jaitley may no longer head the DDCA but the reasons (non-payment of taxes) for which the court intervention became necessary go back several years in the past.

One of Jaitley’s party colleagues and a former Test player, Kirti Azad, says he wrote 200 letters to Jaitley, when he was the DDCA president, about the various allegations against the cricket body. Is Azad considered a ‘fringe element’ within the BJP who talks out of turn? Now that he has been suspended he has been firing on all cylinders to the delight of Kejriwal and the Congress. Anyhow how can Kejriwal be faulted for choosing his target when the ruling party, according to him, has declared a war on him? Questions that only time will answer!

- Asian Tribune -

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