The real reason why Kejriwal resigned in 49 days:
The results of Dec 2013 Delhi elections took everyone, including Kejriwal (& AAP) by surprise. A new-age, dynamic political party which was hardly a year old, was catapulted into the “Dilli Durbar” to eventually form a Govt with the support of Congress. Kejriwal claimed to have eliminated corruption altogether during his tenure as CM, but to the surprise of many, he stepped down in just 49 days, citing obstruction (by Congress & BJP) over passing of Janlokpal bill. While such a gesture sounds logical and one cannot help but sympathize with a young party which claims to have been suppressed by its political rivals, the truth is much more complex. Let’s find out the context & events leading up to the resignation & the reasons behind them.
Soon after winning 28 seats in Delhi, even before forming the Delhi Govt, AAP revealed its ambitious project of contesting for 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The perception within the party was that India was just an extension of Delhi and hence if AAP could win 40% of the seats in Delhi, the same could be replicated at national level as well.
After successfully forming a Govt with Kejriwal as CM in early Jan 2014, the party went on a membership drive with the target of enrolling 1 crore members by Republic Day to prepare for Lok Sabha election. With the help of registration through SMS & missed calls, the party successfully crossed the 1 crore mark by end of Jan.
By mid-Jan, as the party had realized that the 1 crore mark was within reach, it reinforced the confidence level of the party which upped the ante after receiving an “unprecedented response” from across the country.
Such was the level of enthusiasm & confidence within AAP, they had even publicly declared in their official site that they will win more than 300 seats in Lok Sabha.
With such an energetic volunteer-base and an aura of sheer enthusiasm to “achieve the impossible”, the stage was set for AAP at national level. But there was a small problem: Since Kejriwal had become the Delhi CM, the party now did not have a face (especially to counter Modi’s growing popularity by the day), and since his trusted aides were part of Delhi Govt, AAP’s resources were scattered. The most logical plan was to channelize all energies towards the bigger goal: General Elections 2014.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal, being a newbie in politics was slipping into a Quicksand due to a series of miscalculations & controversies (Delhi Durbar chaos, Somnath Bharti’s midnight vigil, Several including the 10 day dharna & threatening to disrupt Republic Day parade and many more controversies), but the biggest miscalculation he had done was to subsidize electricity which had pushed him into loggerheads with Electricity boards & discom companies. The State run NTPC had rejected AAP’s proposals, due to which, Delhi was facing a blackout starting from Feb 2014.
Each new day in the Govt was suffocating Kejriwal, while on the other hand, his party which was preparing itself for Lok Sabha desperately needed a popular face. Kejriwal had actually made it very clear in early Jan 2014 itself that he would not be contesting LS election.
However, due to the “unprecedented response from public” and a slew of controversies (and the fight with power discoms), the prospects of contesting LS election was irresistible and a great escape route out of the Delhi quicksand. Within few days, Kejriwal changed his mind and expressed his desire to contest LS polls.
The only pending thing was to prepare an exit strategy, and the best approach was to become a “martyr” to attract more sympathy wave which would boost the image of Kejriwal & AAP. In Feb, the controversial Jan Lokpal bill was tabled in Delhi Assembly against the constitutional procedures/protocols, and Kejriwal threatened to resign if the bill was not passed in the immediate upcoming assembly session even without a debate!! Basically, the assembly was held to ransom at the whims and fancies of a single individual, which was against the protocol & completely unconstitutional.
On 13th Feb, The Lieutenant Governor had made it very clear in writing that the bill had to be first sent to him before introducing it to the sitting of the current session.
Here is the scanned copy of the letter.
Instead of following the protocol, Kejriwal turned it into a theatrical act. Popular TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai (who was involved in several major decisions of AAP), in his book “2014: Election that changed India” says that he tried his best to convince Yogendra Yadav not to take such hasty decision, but in vain. Without even consulting his colleagues, Kejriwal “attained martyrdom” on 14th Feb 2014 by resigning from Delhi Govt in the pretext of Jan Lokpal while blaming Congress, BJP & even Ambani for the well orchestrated “fiasco”.
Logically speaking, if Kejriwal had genuinely quit on 14th Feb due to Jan Lokpal, then it actually would have made sense if he had stay put in Delhi to prepare for assembly election so that he could return with majority and pass the Jan Lokpal. But to the utter surprise of everybody, on the very next day itself (15th Feb) AAP announced Kejriwal as its PM candidate to take on Modi & Rahul Gandhi.
By mid Feb, Kejriwal relieved himself from all the mess that he had created in Delhi (especially the ongoing battle with discom companies) and stepped up to LS. Effectively, Delhi was used as a stepping stone for LS polls.
Interestingly, throughout the election, AAP was under the impression that it would win atleast 100 seats and Kejriwal geared up himself to become the “Kingmaker” of 2014.
Kejriwal used every political trick including minority appeasement, offering tickets to criminals & the regular anti-Modi ranting to garner attention and votes.
More info on AAP’s minority appeasement tactics during LS 2014:
More info about AAP’s criminal candidates during LS 2014:
Reference links to all the news headlines in above snapshot can be found in this post:
AAP’s stand turned from anti-corruption to anti-communalism, making it one of the most “secular” parties which was determined to stop Modi at any cost. However, Modi had his own strategies and in a way, Kejriwal had actually helped Modi in its own small way, although unintentionally.
You can find the analysis of Modi’s electoral victory here:
And as they say, the rest is history.
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