Did it really need a Jung to explain constitutional methods to Kejriwal and his unruly protesters? Was they protesting for sending policemen on leave? Or was this about a bigger agenda of getting Delhi Police under state government’s jurisdiction?
The Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was seen on television channels last night announcing the end of the dharna that was ongoing from 33 hours in the national capital. Kejriwal flashed victory sign claiming it to be the victory of the people after the two erring police personnel were sent on leave.
So, was this all charade about sending some officers on leave? Or was this about bringing Delhi Police under the ambit of Delhi government and safety of women?
The agitation which claimed to be a first against the home ministry for its arrogance fizzled on a single small step taken by the central government. Involvement of various leaders with AAP leaderships separately seemed to have done the trick.
Reportedly, LT Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung intervened and tried explaining the situation to AAP leader Yogendra Yadav. After his meeting with Jung, Yadav was quoted in the media saying that Jung “explained” to him the constitutional alternatives that were present and that they will now work on them.
Also seen shuttling from one scene to another was JD(U) MLA Soaib Iqbal who was also seen talking to Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in Kejriwal’s car for over an hour. The formula of sending the erring polceofficers on leave reportedly came from him and was conveyed to the centre.
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, according to The Hindu, met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and briefed him about the situation from where Congress general secretary Ajay Maken took over and talked to AAP leaders.
Within five minutes, the protest was called off.
The idea that floated and which fizzled Kejriwal’s arrogant protest was based on “win-some-lose-some” formula. While Kejriwal demanded that Malviya Nagar SHO is sent on leave, the central government asked him to let an inquiry on law minister Somnath Bharti and women development minister Rakhi Birla.
But the question that arise is that Yadav, his party leader Kejriwal, and other AAP leaders, who are learned men, did they really need a Jung to “explain” the constitutional means to them? The big protest which made Kejriwal accept that he was spreading anarchism was worth this little compromise? Was protesting in cold and rain with his followers only about sending police officers offending Bharti to leave? Was it not about taking Delhi Police under its jurisdiction and ensure women safety on street?
The fact is that Kejriwal’s street show was getting out of control. They had broken the barricades, there were minor scuffles between police and the protesters. The media savvy Kejriwal company was finding it hard to get more supporters on the street too despite being 24*7 in news. There were 200 protesters on the first day. Next day’s strength was only 1500 and Kejriwal was talking about filling the Rajpath with people and distrupting the Republic Day.
Also, the police was not even arresting the Kejriwal supporters. They were just not giving in to the egging by protesters. But there is no denying the fact that there was a mild baton charging after AAP supporters went completely out of hand and the police might have cracked down on them later on.
Kejriwal and his party’s idea of disrupting Republic Day and their hostility towards the normal police procedure of sanitizing the area in order to avoid any untoward incidence in the future also earned him negative publicity. He was widely being criticized for his hostility and anarchic measure taken towards an issue where dialogue process could have been an easier way. Not to mention the inconvenience that the public was facing due to shutting down of four mentro stations.
In addition to that, the Army Chief is known to have warned the government that the army will not be responsible for the damage of Rs 8,000 crore worth defence equipment to be showcased in the Republic Day parade.
With demands not met and his own men finally dragged in the inquiry area, Kejriwal called off the protest and compromised with the central government.
However loud he may shout in front of the cameras, it will remain a face-saver for him and not a victory of the people because it was a strategic and security fallout.