Originally Published 2014-01-14 05:17:09 Published on Jan 14, 2014
If the final list of prime ministerial candidates consists of only Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and possibly a third front candidate like Nitish Kumar or anyone else, Arvind Kejriwal will surely be there as the people's candidate. And, in the final analysis, the chances of Kejriwal clinching the highest leadership in the country are brighter than those of Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi.
Kejriwal has an edge over Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi
" After the Aam Aadmi Party's debut in Delhi politics, subsequent events followed in quick order which led to Arvind Kejriwal becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi on December 28, 2013. The party itself got only 28 of the 70 seats, leaving both the BJP and the Congress as helpless watchers. This led to the Congress supporting the Aam Aadmi Party from outside. Arvind Kejriwal took the oath of office at the Ramlila Maidan and announced a six-member Cabinet. The ministers did not move into high-end bungalow-type accommodation, refused to have red beacons on cars and did not allow security guards to follow them.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had to prove his majority on the floor of the House on January 3. The speech he made has been hailed as memorable. He spoke from his heart, stating that he was an ordinary man and that the Aam Aadmi Party had no ambitions or expectations. He promised a clean and attentive government to the people of Delhi. The Chief Minister promptly implemented two of the 18 points in his manifesto pertaining to the supply of 700 litres of water free for every household and a reduction of the electricity charges.

The first few days of the Aam Aadmi Party and its performance have electrified the people across the country as never before. It is the talk in every corner, every field and at every forum. An unexpected upsurge among people has been noticed as mentioned by Prashant Bhushan, one of the founding members of the party.

Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting of the Executive on January 5 and announced that the party would contest the assembly elections in Haryana and also the Lok Sabha elections. As events unfold, it is more than likely that the Aam Aadmi Party will contest the elections in most of the states. The names of the candidates for the Lok Sabha polls will be announced as soon as possible and the first list may come by not later than February 15.

Yogendra Yadav, the well-known psephologist and founding members of the Aam Aadmi Party, has suggested that Arvind Kejriwal is likely to be the prime ministerial candidate of the party. Arvind Kejriwal, on his part, has underplayed the suggestion and stated that he will not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections since he will be busy canvassing for his pary's candidates all over the country. Yogendra Yadav himself has been tipped to be the partyy's candidate for the post of Chief Minister of Haryana. Haryana is the state from where both Arvind Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav come and they seem to be absolutely confident of displacing the Congress government headed by Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

There is also talk of initiating inquiries against the alleged acts of corruption by the Chief Minister of Haryana and his ministers.

In Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has made it known that in keeping with the mood of the people generated by the Aam Aadmi Party she would not be moving from her modest residence to a more palatial house earmarked for the Chief Minister. There is also a report that Vasundhara Raje's government will initiate an inquiry into the land dealings of Robert Vadra which had caught the attention of the people some time back.

All these developments only point to the fact that the message of the Aam Aadmi Party has travelled far and wide. There is also a wave of fear that high-level corruption and wrongdoings would surely come up for review at the instance of Aam Aadmi Party activists wherever noticed. For example, in Maharashtra, the Congress and National Congress Party ministers accused of committing serious irregularities in the Adarsh housing project are seriously worried. The Maharashtra Government has only partially accepted the report of the judge who inquired into the irregularities. While the ministers were exonerated by the Cabinet, a number of officials are due to be proceeded against for having committed the irregularities. While the Congress leadership will no doubt take note of the dubious act of the Maharashtra Government, the people at large have already bitterly criticised the manner in which the Maharashtra Government has dealt with the matter. For Aam Aadmi Party activists, the Adarsh affair is a fertile field for action and there is no doubt that it will happen sooner or later.

Moving from Maharashtra to Himachal Pradesh, the transactions of Virbhadra Singh and his wife in collaboration with an enterprising Andhra businessman stick out like a sore thumb, even though the Chief Minister is still pleading innocence. The Andhra businessmen, Vakkamulla Chander Sekhar, gave Rs. 5.7 crore to Virbhadra Singh along with his wife Pratibha Singh and Virbhadra Singh reportedly have as many as 32 savings accounts and fixed deposit accounts in eight nationalised and corporate banks. The total movable assets amount to Rs.20 crore. The Congress has reportedly asked Virbhadra Singh to sort out the matter and prove his innocence, even as BJP MP Arun Jaitely has termed the transactions as sheer corruption and demanded retribution. There is no doubt that the Himachal Pradesh affair will be yet another green field for the Aam Aadmi Party activists to move in.

The Aam Aadmi Party has announced that a sum of Rs.10 which was being collected with every fresh application for membership of the party is being waived and applications will be accepted without any charges. There is no doubt that people from all walks of life are joining the Aam Aadmi Party.

Since the Aam Aadmi Party has announced that it will contest about 300 seats, the number could rise as events unfold. Looking ahead with a political telescope, one could see the final contest may be between the BJP's Narendra Modi, the Congress party's Rahul Gandhi and the Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal, even though Kejriwal has ruled himself out of contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. If the final list of candidates consists of only Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and possibly a third front candidate like Nitish Kumar or anyone else, Arvind Kejriwal will surely be there as the people's candidate. And who will win such a contest?

A political analyst recently came out with an article giving facts and figures to show that how the BJP, even with all the appeal of Narendra Modi has generated, would not get even 182 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

In the final analysis, the chances of Arvind Kejriwal clinching the highest leadership in the country are brighter than those of Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi. As Arun Jaitley has said, whether time will tell or not, voters will and the ultimate prize may indeed land in Arvind Kejriwal's hands.

(The writer is an Adviser to Observer Research Foundation and a former Governor of States and former chief of Intelligence Bureau)

Courtesy: The Tribune, January 14, 2014

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