Delhi shaken by India Against Corruption’s old faultlines

In the initial days, the dividing line between BJP and AAP, when the latter came into being, was not so sharp as it is now after the many bitterly-fought polls

Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images  
Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Abid Shah

In a matter of a few years, the myriad children of the movement called ‘India Against Corruption (IAC)’ have come to a virtual war among themselves. And, in the process, what they have forgotten is that not long ago together they had flaunted umpteen promises like postdated cheques and, thus, inadvertently tricked the public into hoisting them to the top positions of power and influence.

Sadly, this became palpably conspicuous on May 7, outside Mahatma Gandhi’s Raj Ghat memorial in Delhi. Kapil Mishra, who was a minister in the city government until the other day, folded hands in prayer with his wife at the memorial. And soon swore to send his Cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain to jail and before that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal into obvious wilderness. Mishra alleged that because money, ₹2 crore in cash to be exact, had changed hands between the two on May 5, in Mishra’s presence.

Mishra was so bitter that, among other things, he also referred though obliquely to Jain’s daughter who was once reportedly offered a post in the city government because of her father’s clout. Yet, while doing so what Mishra obviously ignored is the fact that among the national capital’s informed circles, apart from the Jain episode, even how Mishra’s family made a mark on the city’s politics is also pretty known and often talked about.

Mishra’s mother, Annapurna Mishra, became a mayor in the city as a result of her long association with the BJP. Though this privilege came her way as a matter of her own right and her party’s preference but eyebrows were raised when Kapil Mishra preferred Aam Aadmi Party instead of and over BJP. What has been missed through past few years or ever since Mishra went against his family’s political leanings is the fact that through the tumultuous days of IAC’s stir in the national capital led by Anna Hazare in 2011-12, the AAP was yet to be born and the IAC move had the overwhelming support of BJP and RSS. And, thus, the dividing line between BJP and AAP—when the latter came into being—was not so sharp at least through the initial days of the formation of AAP.

But as time elapsed, both BJP and AAP moved away. The two got locked in a bitter battle after AAP formed the government in Delhi over two years ago with a huge majority. This has further sharpened after the subsequent Assembly polls in states such as Punjab and Goa besides last month’s municipal elections in Delhi where AAP suffered huge reverses. So much so that it has brought back the old faultlines of IAC days with a renewed vehemence, leading to squabbles that gave way to Sunday’s theatrics that was relayed throughout the country from as sacred a spot as Raj Ghat.

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