New Delhi, India. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal is
sworn in as the 7th Chief Minister (Governor) of New Delhi, a Union
Territory of India, in the likes of Puerto Rico in the United States.
Governor Najeeb Jung Swearing in Chief Minister Arvind Kajriwal
(image by LiveMint.com )
80,000 people packed the historical Ramlila Maidan (grounds) for the swearing-in ceremony. Kejriwal received thunderous applause for just about every sentence he uttered in his opening speech. The people of Delhi were in a mood for an honest uncorrupted politician; it was similar to the Obama moment on November 4, 2008. I was moved when he said, "The politics of this country has destroyed everything, but people have shown that honest politics is possible. Elections can be fought with honesty and won with honesty."
Arvind Kejriwal is practicing what Abraham
Lincoln had envisioned about government; of the people for the people by the
This is a historic moment in Indian democracy for common man to have a say. Traditionally the multi-party system coalesces into two major coalitions; the National Democratic Alliance with Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) as its anchor party, and the United Progressive Alliance with Indian National Congress (INC) as its anchor.
The voters of the state of New Delhi have defeated the incumbent Congress party by reducing them to 8 seats in the assembly of 70 seats; 33 went to Bharatiya Janata Party, 2 short of forming the government, and 28 seats to the brand new, less than a year-old AAP -- Aam Aadmi Party, the common man's party.
The party head Arvind Kejriwal was asked to form the government as BJP could not form the government. The congress party offered their support of their 8 members, giving AAP a 36-seat majority in the house.
Kejriwal refused to form the government, and
said becoming the governing party is not important but ensuring proper
governance is the way to go forward. Instead of grabbing the power he rejected
the offer. Arvind Kejriwal reminds me of Nelson Mandela who walked away from
power for another term.
A genuine democracy must be a natural thing to humans who respect the otherness of others. Kejriwal is one such fellow, and did the right thing by asking the very people who elected him to deliberate and decide if he should form the government. Indeed, Mr. Kejriwal is reclaiming what it means to be the government of the people.
The public said, he should form the government provided the support from the Congress is firm, and congress having no options, gave him unconditional support to form the government.
Prior to Swearing in Ceremony governor Jung and Kajriwal
(image by LiveMint.com)
The world can learn about austerity from Mr. Kejriwal. The members of the United States Congress believe austerity means cutting off on food stamps and unemployment benefits to the needy, making them more miserable and unproductive. Shamelessly, when the government shut-down happened, the members of the US Congress got paid and denied the same to ordinary government workers. Kejriwal believes the austerity begins from the top. He took the subway to Ramlila grounds where swearing in ceremony took place, and he plans to live in his own house and has asked his ministers to do the same.
He urged his cabinet ministers to remain
humble and not fall into the trapping of power and become arrogant. He has
taken a strong stand against corruption and bribes, and has promised not to
spare any one. He was vigilant and
covered most bases, "Sometimes I am very scared as people
have pinned their hopes on us and I pray to God to give us courage and keep us
on right track so that we don't commit any mistake."
He has a bold message for Indian National Congress; inclusiveness without pragati (progress) will not cut it, and the message to Bharatiya Janata Party; unnati (prosperity) without inclusiveness is not sustainable either.
Democracy works! This man Arvind
Kejriwal did not have money like the other two parties, but had clearly defined
goals and won the hearts and minds of the people. Indeed Obama had a clear
mission; inclusive goals for the greater good of Americans against Romney's
wealthy supporters who funded nearly a billion dollars to his campaign in vain.
The government of people by the people for the people is a good foundation for sustainable democracies. I wish Mr. Kejriwal the very best in delivering goodness to benefit citizens at large, inclusive of those who opposed him.
The only worry, I have about the Aam Aadmi
Party is -- how will they ensure the corrupt people from creeping in to their
system? As long as they are a Delhi-based manageable party, they would be
fine, but if they go national, do they have the time to place safeguards and
checks and balances in place?
In a press conference in December 2001, General Pervaz Musharraf gave me 6-7 minutes' time in the midst of huge media crowd in Washington DC. My major question to him besides Cricket Diplomacy was -- have you got a "what-if plan"; should you not be there, do you have institutions built up to carry the democracy forward? His answer was typical Desi -- Oh, yes, don't worry, we have figured it out everything.
I will ask the same question to Arvind Kejriwal, what if you fall sick or die in an accident, is your system in place to move forward on its own? Do you have enough people deeply oriented with your ideals to carry the mantle? A sustainable government should be based on a system and not individuals.
My recommendation for Kejriwal is to remain in Delhi and prove that his system works, and resist the temptation to expand to other parts of the country and not dilute his mission.
IBN network has bestowed the Indian of the year award to Arvind Kejriwal, a well-deserved award. Congratulations Mr. Kejriwal! The following 6 minutes' video on YouTube is worth watching to understand a genuine democracy -- of the people by the people for the people with apologies to those who do not understand Hindi/Urdu.
Disclosure: I am a moderate Republican who supports Obama for his inclusive policies that benefit the society at large, and a supporter of Indian National Congress for their inclusive governance.