In October 2012, this is what I had written about Arvind Kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal is the man of the moment. Its close to the end of the year and surely, in the annual lists that media houses love to publish, Kejriwal’s place at the very top is all but guaranteed. His recent foray into politics is trademark Kejriwal style – provocation accompanied by an equal amount of showmanship. In making strident allegations against Robert Vadra, DLF and Salman Khurshid and refusing to go to court with the evidence at hand, Kejriwal has done what we have come to expect of him…
…Irrespective of what happens next, Kejriwal calling the Congress party’s bluff and entering politics is the probably single most important political event of the year. In fact, Kejriwal has successfully called our collective bluff, including mine. But is he the game-changer we have all been waiting for? I am sure Kejriwal himself is only too aware that it will take much more than being a whistle-blower to become the game-changer that we all are waiting for.
One possible outcome of doing a Kejriwal is that after a phase of confusion and chaos, political formations on all sides of the table will galvanise, just as they did on the Lokpal issue – that would work perfectly for Kejriwal and co, actually. But the real test will come in the upcoming elections – are they prepared for the spade work in the long run?
Twenty eight months on, Kejriwal has won two elections and suffered a disastrous Lok Sabha rout. He gets a second chance as the Chief Minister of a half-state, Delhi, where governing is possibly many time harder than winning. The lopsided margin is not going to help either, since it will set the Aam Aadmi Party back significantly in terms of learning the ropes of managing legislative business.
Voters have bet on an image of honesty and a feeling of kinship. On the ground, voters will expect action. I worry more about vigilantism, a la Somnath Bharti in Malviya Nagar. The expectations from the expensive promises made have to be managed. The frustrations of governing a half-state have to be kept under control. Kejriwal will have to tread very carefully. For the next five years, only Kejriwal can destroy Kejriwal.