Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has found his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the middle of a trouble on leadership. Curiously, Kejriwal himself has decided to keep away from the trouble, saying he refuses to get involved into the crisis and wants to concentrate on Delhi's governance. He said the rift in the party betrays the trust that the people of Delhi have posed in the AAP in the recent election. [Arvind Kejriwal takes 10-day leave for Naturopathy]
Kejriwal is playing his second innings cautiously
The AAP came back to power in Delhi exactly a year after quitting office as it failed to pass its Janlokpal Bill through. Kejriwal took oath as the chief minister of Delhi for the second term inside 14 months.
Kejriwal came to power after apologising a lot: He can't let his image get tarnished
The AAP chief minister apologised to the voters before the February 7 Delhi assembly election and returned to power with a mammoth majority, inflicting a humiliating loss on Narendra Modi's BJP. But now, new rift has surfaced in the AAP with senior leaders like Yogendra and the two Bhushans - PShanti and Prashant, raising questions on the top leadership.
And sensing trouble, the AAP chief minister has adopted a strategy of dissociating himself from the trouble so that his 'clean' image doesn't get damaged irreparably.
Kejriwal is playing for his 50 now
But can Kejriwal really be out of it by staying inside? The man has now learned to act like a seasoned politician who cares for his own image so that he can continue to rule at the top and overshadow others.
A face at the top is what Indian parties need to survive, AAP is no different
Most or all political parties in India function in that manner, be it the Gandhis' Congress in the 1970s and 1980s or Narendra Modi's BJP in the current years. In case of regional parties too, apart from the Left, all have a face to identify with but almost zero second leadership. That is how party systems in India work and Kejriwal has understood the lesson fast, even if not the other leaders who are perhaps still fighting an ideological battle.
But Kejriwal, by disowning the crisis in his own party, is making it clear that he is playing for his half-century, i.e., 50 days in the office to better his record as 'AK49'. He is in a way imitating Modi who also distances himself from the over-enthusiastic Hindutva motormouths in the BJP and focuses more on his own goodwill, so that the massive mandate that the party had received in May last year, doesn't go waste without a reason.
Kejriwal is desperate to ensure that his political career doesn't get shortened by the AAP's bickering
Kejriwal, by distancing himself with the rift, is also trying to ensure that his political career doesn't get curtailed by the impact of such rifts that have been rocking the AAP more often now. The man, who once rode the media's back to target his opposition and gain endless coverage, has now changed his strategy and is more avoiding the media so that an over-exposure doesn't ruin his political style of functioning.
Kejriwal knows this chaos can leave him as the CM of a faction like Nitish Kumar
But can Kejriwal afford to become a CM of a faction?
But the problem is that the AAP is too young a party to allow these rifts take over. If the situation in the AAP doesn't change for the better, Kejriwal could be left as a the chief minister of a faction and a negative war of succession could commence in the party which has promised a lot ahead of an overwhelming electoral victory. A Nitish Kumarisation of Arvind Kejriwal will be the last thing the aam voters of Delhi will want at this moment.
Kejriwal perhaps knows it well. And hence he is doing what Pakistani cricket captain Misbah-ul-Haq is often doing at the World Cup Down Under. Just play a patient knock of substance so that your own place in a struggling team remains secure.