Why are we glorifying Kejriwal for shunning VIP culture when other chief ministers, namely Mamata Banerjee, Manik Sarkar and Manohar Parrikar, chose a life of simplicity to make a point about clean governance way before him?
Turn the television on and there is only one person in the news – Delhi’s new chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Media just seems not to be getting enough of him. Also, the way he is being glorified for denying security cover and big bunglows and choosing the life of a commoner even after becoming a VIP, is touching the near base of eulogy.
Surely, Kejriwal deserves credit for fighting the anti-corruption movement along with his team and leading that team to a spectacular victory in Delhi assembly elections. His move to shun the VIP culture is commendable as it takes guts to deny all that security cover and austerity as power corrupts easily. But that’s it.
Living a life of a commoner despite falling in the bracket of a VIP is already being practices in the country. Kejriwal is not the first, and neither will he be the last. Kejriwal has just joined a wagon of other chief ministers, namely Mamata Banerjee, Manik Sarkar and Manohar Parrikar, who chose a life of simplicity to make a point about clean governance.
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar has set the best example of this simple life. And he showed it during his earlier rule over Goa too, which was way back in 2000. Parrikar does not have a security cover. He goes about the state without his entourage, be it day or night.
He rides his scooty to his office. In fact, Parrikar was recently spotted in a picture widely circulated on the internet taking a lift from a person riding a scooter. The CM was riding pillion. The CM is available to the general public through an official email ID which he accesses daily.
This simplicity does not stop at him. Unlike other minister’s wife, Parrikar’s spouse goes to the grocery market or vegetable market herself on a rikshaw. And she haggles like any other Indian woman for her bhaji.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, also has a fairly simple lifestyle. While her security cover may be a matter of contest, the diminutive Banerjee has lived all her life at 30 B, Harish Chatterjee Street near Kalighat. She wears plain cotton saris, almost always with a green or blue border and rubber slippers.
Visitors to her house would be offered puffed rice and tea. She cooks the meals herself. Reportedly, she walked barefoot on the tarmac of Kolkata’s Dum Dum airport because her slipper’s strap had snapped.
Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar is dubbed as ‘the cleanest and poorest’ chief minister in the country with personal property, movable and immovable, valued at less than Rs 2.5 lakh.
An affidavit submitted by the 64-year-old Sarkar during filing of nomination in Dhanpur constituency stated that he had Rs 1080 cash in hand and his bank balance stood at Rs 9720. Sarkar donates his full salary and subsidiary allowances to the party and instead the party pays him Rs 5000 as subsistence allowances.
According to official sources, the Chief Minister’s monthly salary is Rs 9,200 which perhaps is the lowest in the country.
Looking at Kejriwal’s affidavit, he owns two flats and one plot in Delhi. He will come inside the crorepati circles. And he has more cash in his bank accounts that any of these chief ministers.
So, why are we glorifying him and ignoring all these leaders? No doubt AAP team is considered best when it comes to advertising and PR.