Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as Punjab Chief Minister. Why not?

(It is not a satire. I am serious)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as Punjab Chief Minister. Why not?

The 'wisest' man's need!

 (Photo downloaded from internet)

Addressing a public rally at Mohali in Punjab today (January 10, 2016), Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia, urged the people of Punjab to vote for his party keeping in mind that they are voting for Arvind Kejriwal as party's chief ministerial candidate. He said, "No matter who becomes the chief minister, the responsibility to fulfil all promises made by Aam Aadmi Party will be of Arvind Kejriwal."

The media persons are interpreting his call as presenting Arvind Kejriwal as the AAP’s chief ministerial face in Punjab. While some are questioning the propriety of a person who is from Haryana to be Chief Minister of Punjab, others are asking whether Kejriwal is going to dump Delhi. Such questions are being asked by the rival Congress party also.

I am not going in to enter into the question of propriety. If the people of Punjab want, they can choose anyone from any part of the country, or even the world, to be their chief minister. It is their prerogative. If an Italian, Sonia Gandhi, can lead (or mislead) the oldest political party of the country, why not Kejriwal be Chief Minister of Punjab? If Sonia Gandhi has taken up Indian citizenship, Kejriwal is an Indian citizen by birth. If the Congress party can present Sheila Dixit, a former Delhi Chief Minister, as the party’s chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh election, why can the AAP not present Arvind Kejriwal, sitting Chief Minister of Delhi, as the party’s chief ministerial face in Punjab?

The question whether he is going to dump Delhi in favour of Punjab, is irrelevant.  Arvind Kejriwal being Arvind Kejriwal who considers himself the wisest man in the country and the most capable Chief Minister ever born and who thinks that he will be a better Prime Minister than Narendra Modi, can be Chief Minister of Delhi as well as Punjab. There is no need to dump Delhi. Being a farsighted person, he has kept such eventualities in view while distributing portfolios to his Cabinet colleagues in Delhi. He has distributed all portfolios and himself remains a Chief Minister without Portfolio. He has kept himself absolutely free from all administrative botherations.  That is why he has all the time for extracurricular activities like attacking Prime Minister Modi on almost daily basis. Perhaps, attacking Narendra Modi is his portfolio. Even after becoming chief minister of Punjab, he can distribute all portfolios to his Cabinet colleagues and keep himself absolutely free to indulge in extracurricular activities or try his luck in some other State.

Kejriwal would love to be Chief Minister of Punjab because that will help him present himself as a prime ministerial candidate in 2019. If Delhi Secretariat is a stepping stone to Punjab Secretariat, the latter can be a stepping stone to the South Block of Delhi.

Constitutional pundits may argue that it is unconstitutional to be Chief Minister of two states simultaneously. They do not know Kejriwal. He is not bothered about such constitutional niceties. Though a Chief Minister of a Union Territory in which the Lieutenant Governor is more powerful, he always behaves like Chief Minister of a full state.

If the people of Punjab elect Kejriwal as their Chief Minister, can the State Governor refuse to administer oath of office unless and until he relinquishes the post of Chief Minister of Delhi? Such a situation would not be acceptable to Kejriwal. He will start shouting that the Governor is behaving like Narendra Modi’s agent. It is nowhere written in the Constitution that a person cannot be Chief Minister of two states.  He will not accept any interpretation of Constitution which goes against the will of the people. Kejriwal can interpret the Constitution to suit his convenience and ambition. He can argue that there is nothing above the will of the people.

Kejriwal may argue that if a person can be Governor of more than one State, as happened on many occasions, why can a Chief Minister of Union territory not be a Chief Minister of another State? If necessary to enforce the will of the people, he can go on hunger strike but that will be at only one place, either in Delhi or in Chandigarh.

For the benefit of Kejriwal, I can suggest a loophole in the Constitution. One can be a Minister or Chief Minister without being elected for six months. So, for at least six months there should be no problem. Old-timers may remember that once Ramkrishna Hegde was MLA of Karnataka as well as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India. He used to shuttle between Bangalore and New Delhi. Compare to Bangalore, Chandigarh is much closer to Delhi. Punjab government must have its own helicopter for faster journey between Chandigarh and Delhi.

    There is one more option. Sisodia can keep a Full size photograph of Kejriwal in his office and rule in his name. Or, A dummy Chief Minister of Punjab can keep Kejriwal's full size photo in office and rule in his name.

Talking seriously, if, God forbid, AAP forms government in Punjab with some one else as Chief Minister, that may be begining of the end of Kejriwal and AAP.  As a chief minister of an important state that person may become a more important leader of the party and Kejriwal may lose his pre-eminence position. A jealous and frustrated Kejriwal may not allow that CM to work freely.

Personally, I feel that if Kejriwal becomes Chief Minister of Punjab, the happiest person will be Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. He will hope that sooner or later Kejriwal would bracket the seat in Delhi and he will be the natural successor. Who knows, it may be his idea which his selling to Kejriwal. With Kejriwal around, poor Sisodia has no chance to become Delhi CM. 

Punjab election is going to be very interesting. People should expect more drama after the election is over. If AAP does not win and Congress forms the government, cricketer-turned-comedian-turned politician (or 2-in-1, if not 3-in-1), Navjot Singh Sidhumay become Deputy Chief Minister, if not Chief Minister. He will make governance as interesting as comedy.

There will be no need to use drugs to enjoy life in Punjab.

       The framers of the Indian Constitution must not have imagined that one day people like Laloo, Rabari, Mamata, Arvind, Mulayam, Mayawati, sonia, Rahul, Manmohan, etc. will emerge on the political horizon of the country. All of them are above the Constitution.

       The bottom line is that people get the government they deserve, not what the Constitution provides.

Devendra Narain
January 10, 2016


I have not written a word about Kejriwal's  election promises to people of Delhi. Politicians know that whether promises are actually fulfilled or not, government propaganda machinery will try to convince people that promises have been fulfilled.

PS (January 11): Kejriwal has clarified that he will remain Delhi CM; some one from Punjab will be CM of that state. I feel sorry for Manish Sisodia