People to watch out for: Kejriwal new avatar may dent oppn gameplan

Published: Jan 5, 2020, 10:36 am IST

New Delhi, Jan 5 : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of the the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has reinvigorated the campaign for Delhi Assembly polls with a discernible shift from theatrics to hardcore politics on development issues.

The shift begun with the AAP slowly and steadily avoiding making contentious statements on protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and strategically focusing on developmental challenges faced by the national capital.

Initially, one of its MLAs had gone on record expressing discontent over the law at a public meeting in the protest-hit Jamia area in South Delhi.

Primarily, Kejriwal has prioritised education, women safety, lighting up dark spots, concentre houses for slum dwellers, garbage and pollution — the issues that directly affect the common people.

With people-friendly measures, like subsidising public utilities such as power and water and increasing the disposable income with every household, Kejriwal has donned a new hat of a development-oriented leader.

Kejriwal is also using constructive criticism to dent the opposition armoury. He has stopped levelling sensational charges against opponents and started seeking their suggestions to make Delhi better.

Kejriwal’s donning of new political image could be the outcome of his one-to-ones with people at townhall meetings. After closed-door interactions at auditoriums where he addressed queries of people, Kejriwal has turned to townhall meetings.

It has made him appear as an accessible leader who doesn’t shy away from taking tough questions from people.

With the gamut of people-friendly initiatives and better accessibility, Kejriwal is emerging as a rare political blend, which the capital has not seen for some time. However, he is yet to pass the anti-incumbency test. He may also fall prey to complacency, leaving space for opponents to flourish.

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have termed Kejriwal’s claims a “bundle of lies”.

Would he flounder or secure an easy win is a question that Delhi will answer soon.