21 January, 2021

The Kejriwal Conundrum

The colour of absolutism, the distant sound of goosestepping

Illustration by Sorit
The Kejriwal Conundrum

At the outset, let me confess my glee at the discomfort some of our grand popinjays have been subjected to by activist-politician Arvind Kejriwal. Rest assured, therefore, I shall not work the soapsuds upon Robert Vadra’s tarred-and-sullied plumage. But my vocation is scepticism. So I cannot help being drawn to question Kejriwal’s claims of heralding a superior politics.

Kejriwal, the progenitor of this ‘New, Improved’ politics, is himself the progeny of the campaign for the Right to Information. That campaign sought to fight systemic corruption and abuse of power by making power-holders accountable. With the Right to Information, people could seek out details of almost every aspect of government functioning—tenders, auctions, bureaucratic decisions, policymaking, file-notings, anything that did not breach secrecy and security concerns. The right was created; in turn, it created a new consciousness and empowered clusters of questioning (even adversative) RTI activists, taking on and exposing wrong-doing across all states and at all levels,...



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