Here is another D-Day. Anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal and his India Against Corruption (IAC) are set to expose another politician, this time from the Opposition rank, before the media on Wednesday at 5 pm. This will bring some form of relief for the Congress, which has been spending anxious hours over the last few weeks after the twin scams involving the First Damad and a central minister were exposed.
So far, Kejriwal's story has been successful, but only as far as his own political ambition is concerned. The IAC opted a guerrilla tactics and began targeting individuals, directly or indirectly related to politics, although the repercussions were different in Vadragate and Khurshidgate.
Understandably so, while Vadra is the son-in-law of the first family, Khurshid is just another employee in the top-down organisation. Vadra's defence took care of itself while Khurshid had a harrowing time facing journalists at a press conference. In Vadra's case, even an honest IAS officer was claimed as the collateral damage.
Will the law of diminishing returns catch up with Kejriwal's tactics?
But with Gadkari, the situation might not be a replay of what had happened earlier. The hit-and-run tactics of Kejriwal and the subsequent trial by the media have been a pleasure-to-watch for the country's booming middle-class who feel to have been let down by the people they have chosen. However, the upcoming Gadkari episode may see Kejriwal's blitzkrieg falling prey to the law of diminishing returns.
Is it a fight against corruption or just individuals?
A major advantage of Arvind Kejriwal has been his optimum utilisation of the media to his advantage. Since the media (primarily electronic) gives wings to the aspirations of the middle-class, Kejriwal's politics inspired by McCarthyism is preferred by both parties for it strengthens the commercial bonding between them.
But the problem is: The evil called corruption stays healthy as ever amid the chaos. We have just seen how an honest IAS officer was sacrificed when he was trying to actually catch the bull by its horns. But the tragedy is nobody will back his case for he is another faceless man among us all who attempted to honestly fulfil his duty. He won't have a media backing nor an honest friend (except lawyer Anupam Gupta) as everyone, who was sympathising with him till this morning, will now turn on the channel that will give the closest view of yet another Kejriwal production. The real fight against corruption will remain buried.
Will 'Kejriwalism' survive this way?
This is where Kejriwal's brigade will start losing the plot. Corruption is not the garbage on the road that can be cleared by a day's effort. Targeting individuals before the media is not equivalent to changing the system. It's only dealing with the symptoms and not the disease.
In the post-liberalisation India, corruption has more become an economic system sustained under the patronage of an unproductive yet powerful political class. The even bigger problem is that this political elite is not an appointed one, like in a tyrannical regime, but is brought to power by the common man. Hence, when Kejriwal declares that Jantar Mantar will be the new Tahrir Square, it only speaks of a populist slogan for the power structure that was targeted in Egypt is an anti-thesis to that which exists in India. Kejriwal can only attack individuals but soon will run out of steam for he oversimplifies the country's complex power structure.
Frustration against politicians normal but this is how the system unfolded
The IAC has succeeded in garnering huge mass sympathy for the latter believe that some mediocre non-deserving people are getting an unfair advantage over the rest. It is absolutely true. But the problem is that the power structure in this country, which is modelled on western concepts, has seen its standard decline for it tries to effect a marriage between a rational, democratic state system and an irrational and undemocratic society.
Democracy encourages mediocrity and with the deepening of the democratic polity, forces which so far did not get a chance to realise their aspirations, have begun to utilise the political avenues to earn the dividends in terms of money, resources, privileges and favour. The elitist class has become an inclusive one and it treats politics as an end and not means. The non-political class also eyes proximity with the power centre to make immediate gains. Those who think otherwise, sink without a trace.
Is Kejriwal actually helping corrupt politicians?
Coming back to Kejriwal, the more he will go on exposing individuals, the more it will get advantageous for the political class. For, after a point of time, this game will become predicable (as has already become in the case of Gadkari) and more the arena of action will broaden, more the IAC will lose control on the situation.
The Vadras and Khurshids may already feel that the pressure is off and soon, the India that is banking so much on the Kejriwals will see that none of the accused people have been brought to justice and instead, a full-fledged anarchy has set in. And I will not be surprised if we see the same Kejriwal allie with either of the 'corrupt' political parties in the near future to meet political urgency.
The BJP looks already a smarter lot than the Congress for it has prepared itself to counter Kejriwal's upcoming revelations. Gadkari's legal counsel Pinky Anand looked unperturbed and said they were ready for the battle. It seems another exciting but endless, and hence, tiring battle is coming up.
Anti-corruption fight needs to be systematic
As corruption is systematic, the fight against it should also be systematic. We have allowed every sphere in this country to get politicised but yet rue the fact that politicians have dumped us. It takes one back to the original position: For politicians, politics is a profit-making venture. We can not expect politicians to be moral, when no other avenue in life has remained moral.
We can teach the politicians not to regard themselves as 'first among equals' and to do so, it is very much necessary that we as citizens, take more interest in the field and involve ourselves to effect a change on the ground. If we start today, the good results can only be seen after two-three decades. IAC can be seen as a movement that set the ball rolling but now, it is only the citizens of the country who can take the movement forward.
The attack should remain focussed throughout and just by voting against politicians (it is a startling fact that in the world's largest democracy today people actually vote against more than vote for somebody) is not any response to the system's failure.
Means for important than ends?
Kejriwal, perhaps is targeting Gadkari to balance out the game for some quarters suspected him of only attacking the Congress. But then again, Gadkari is no public representative and there is every reason that the story this time will also go the Vadra way with a lot of ruckus unfolding. We will keep on forgetting the past scams (Coalgate, Vadragate, Khurshidgate) with the list of the exposed getting loner and finally end up in gaining nothing. Has means become more important for IAC than the ends?