Do this in advance
Anti-corruption movements have given two unique political leaders. If the JP movement against corruption ‘gifted’ ‘Lalu Prasad to Bihar, the Anna Hazare movement against corruption ‘gifted’ to the people of Delhi Aravind Kejriwal. Both gave new dimensions to politics. I am not saying that the two are two sides of the same coin. My apology, if I am misunderstood. (The ‘apology’ is part of politics Kejriwal has ‘taught’.)
There is a major difference between the two. Lalu used ‘social engineering’ to create a solid vote bank and laid the foundation of a dynasty. He used his political power to make himself and his family members very wealthy, at great personal sacrifice though. Lalu was ‘honest’ enough never to claim that he had entered politics to make Bihar corruption free. Kejriwal claimed he entered politics to eradicate corruption from government. As far as public knowledge goes, he did not use his political power to enrich himself and his family. He collected funds for his party. Unfortunately, the investigating agencies did not appreciate either. If Laloo is in jail and perhaps will remain there for life, occasionally shifting to the air-conditioned comforts of a big hospital, Kejriwal’s former department, income tax, has slapped a notice on his party to pay ₹ 30.67 cr for not explaining the sources of fund collected.
Kejriwal is more unique in several respects. On the eve of the first election his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fought, he publicly declared that in the event of a hung Assembly, ‘under no circumstance we will have tie up with with Congress or BJP.’ To assure the people, he said, ‘on oath on the head of children I will not have alliance with either.’ Interestingly, he did not specify that he was taking oath on the head of his children. He did not specify ‘whose children’ though his adversaries like Subramaniam Swamy claim that he took oath on the head of his children! That is very unfair to Kejriwal. No should blame him if he formed formed his first short-lived government with the support of Congress. That was political compulsion in public interest. (Mercifully, children did not pay price for his breaking the oath. I pray for God’s mercy on his and all others' children.)
Even before his party was born, he declared that (from October 6, 2013), he would start exposing corrupt activities of prominent leaders of the nation and he did so by openly naming ‘corrupt’ politicians and listing out their corrupt activities on TV channels which felt obliged to him for improving their TRP.
Kejriwal kept his promise. He continued to attack his adversaries, left, right and centre, with no holds barred. He continued to do so until some of his targets decided to hit back and filed defamation suits against him in different courts. Perhaps, Kejriwal had not bargained for that. He had expected that all would be as magnanimous as Narendra Modi who would not care even to reply to someone who was so low in stature. Those whom Kejriwal had threatened to “teach politics” started teaching him politics as well as law.
Finding himself at the receiving end with no relief in sight, Kejriwal, the architect of ‘politics with difference’, used the old trick up his sleeve, APOLOGY. Remember, after losing Lok Sabha election that dashed his hopes to take on Narendra Modi, he publicly apologised to the people of Delhi for resigning as Chief Minister only after 49 days and forcing the people to go to the pulling boats again. He had said, “After considering all aspects, I apologise to the people, who wanted the AAP government in Delhi to continue.” This time he did not do so on the head of (his or others’) children.
He apologised to Bikram Singh Majithia, Kapil Sibal, his son Amit and Nitin Gadkari to put an end to defamation suits. While offering apologies, he admitted that he had made allegations without proof though his party claims that he had done so to devote his time to public service. By apologising, he reduced the number of defamation suits from 33 (in 22 states) to 30. Good progress.
We do not know what he is planning for those remaining 30 cases which include the case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who is unlikely to oblige him. However, to save him from the trouble of tendering apology to 30 more persons, on March 20, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has given Kejriwal a practical advice through his tweet: “Arvindji, meri salah mane toh ek list bana lijiye, bari-bari se sabse maafi maangne mein asani hogi. Ya phir, ek maafinama taiyyar karwa lijiye: ‘To whosoever it may concern’. (Arvindji, take my advice and make a list, it will be easier for you to apologise to people one after another. Alternatively, get an apology affidavit prepared: ‘To whosoever it may concern’).”
As of date, we do not know whether Kejriwal is giving serious thought to the advice but what we know is that the old habits die hard. Having decided to contest all the 90 seats in Haryana Assembly election next year, he is back to his old game of attacking. Emboldened by the Delhi High Court order reversing the Election Commission’s decision to disqualify 20 MLAs of his party, soon after the Commission announced the date for the Karnataka Assembly election, a Rajya Sabha member of his party declared that “the Election Commission has become the BJP party office. The Commission is a puppet dancing on the direction of the BJP.” The party does not have any proof to support the allegation but only the tradition started by Kejriwal. As Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections draw closer, we may hear Kejriwal and his cohorts making more and more such allegations.
The Election Commission being a constitutional body is not going to file defamation suit but, if attacked, individuals like Majithia and Sibal may. For such a disturbing situation which will divert Kejriwal’s attention from elections and "public service', I have a suggestion. Drawing lessons from the mediaeval Catholic church, Kejriwal may seek apology in advance.
For centuries during the mediaeval period, the Catholic Church leaders sold indulgences to the believers against eternal damnation. The church leaders claimed that they (the church leaders) had inherited an unlimited amount of good work from Jesus and the credit for those good works could be sold to believers in the form of indulgences. These indulgences were like “divine insurance cover” against sins to be committed in future. If one purchased an indulgence, he was assured that he would not go to hell even if he failed to confess his sins subsequently.
Kejriwal can “purchase” indulgences (apologies) through paid advertisements (cost of indulgences) in the media. I can suggest a draft for his consideration:
“SEEKING APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE
As elections draw closer, I Arvind Kejriwal will be making all sorts of allegations against the opposition politicians and constitutional institutions. I cannot help it because it is in my nature and it is my political compulsion. Due to the pressure of making allegations after allegations, I will not have time to verify the veracity of the allegations. Only later, I will come to know that the allegations were baseless. To avoid any defamation suit in future, I hereby tender my apologies in advance.
Chief Minister of Delhi”
March 28, 2018
Today (April 02, 2018) Finance Minister Jaitley has also accepted Kejriwal's apology. Now, only 29 cases are pending against Kejriwal.