Kejriwal camp invites tainted Bengal leader to fight graft

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Nothing can get more ironical than this. According to a leading Bengali daily, The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal and his fellow crusaders against corruption has decided to rope in a leader, who is accused of endless charges of corruption, to strengthen its presence in West Bengal.

Arvind Kejriwal

A corrupt leader included in the fight against corruption

The leader is former CPI(M) MP from Arambag Anil Basu who was expelled by his party for indulging in anti-party activities. Once a party strongman, Basu is accused in the Sainbari murder case of 1970, factionalism, breach of discipline, a medicine purchase scam. The man also allegedly changed his real name of Manik Roy to evade law. He was suspended for three months initially for indulging in corruption but later was expelled for attacking the party's top leadership.

The man, however, is in a dilemma on responding to AAP's call for he has been trying hard to return to his old party. The anti-Basu factions in the CPI(M) in Hoogli district from where he hails are strongly objecting to his comeback and if Basu indeed fails to make it, the AAP can be an alternative option for him.

Basu, who won the 2004 Lok Sabha election by nearly six lakh votes which is a record, has admitted that Kejriwal's team contacted him although he is still to take a final decision. Praising the AAP for including honest people in its camp, Basu said he is yet to understand the new party's mode of functioning and has sought information on that aspect.

However, it is not people like Basu who are the real concern. The question is: Is this how Kejriwal and his team aim to fight corruption? By roping in accused and discarded leaders from other parties?

What about corruption in non-Congress and non-BJP states?

That the Kejriwalist brand of politics is a paralysed one is proved by this move of the AAP in West Bengal. The party's fight is mainly against the two national parties, namely, the Congress and BJP. Kejriwal's series of exposes have been mainly directed against members of either of these two national parties. There is hardly any new line of thinking to fight corruption in states where none of these two parties are in power.

The AAP's political activism is mainly confined to the circles in and around Delhi. It has virtually no idea about how the political complexes look like in other parts of the country, for example, in West Bengal, where it has sought cooperation from an utterly corrupt leader to fight against corruption.

Does the AAP's idea of anti-corruption crusade basically mean an anti-establishment crusade? In Bengal, where neither the Congress nor the BJP are in a position of power, who will the AAP target while mobilising the Aam Aadmi? The Mamata Banerjee government?

Whatever be its plan, the AAP will commit a political harakiri if it tries in take on Mamata Banerjee in Bengal with the help of a dumped CPI(M) leader. It is also clear that the AAP has not done any homework before taking a step towards making India corruption-free.

It was expected that political naivete of the AAP will be exposed the moment it embarks on a decentralisation drive for top-down political ventures never work that way.

Exposing corrupt politicians before the media time and again is one thing while getting into the real world of political complexities is something else. The AAP's judgement to include a leader like Anil Basu in its fight against corruption in Bengal not only reveals how uninformed the crusaders really are outside the circles of the national capital region but also makes its entire plan to uproot corruption look ineffective.

Sources in the AAP, however, told OneIndia that Kejriwal had never heard about Basu's name and the news of inviting him in the party was completely baseless. Who is right? Do we need another expose to settle the issue?

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