April 22, 2015, Times of India Editorial
Like a long running saas bahu serial, the AAP break up has not been short of intrigue and histrionics. The expulsion of senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan was inevitable once they publicly challenged Arvind Kejriwal’s decision making. The show-cause notices issued were mere procedure: the script had been written weeks ago once Kejriwal scored a stunning win in the Delhi elections in February. That victory seems to have given the chief minister an unassailable position within the party and given him the confidence to ruthlessly take on his critics within.
And yet, the ‘supremo’ cult which has now been created around Kejriwal is both a boon and bane for the party. While it gave AAP the winning edge in a presidential style contest in Delhi, it also could retard its growth beyond the national capital. A nascent political force is bound to be marked by some sturm und drang, yet the infighting and public name-calling has undoubtedly damaged AAP’s reputation.
Having taken a hit, Kejriwal now needs to focus on fulfilling his election promises and offer solid, visible governance. Towards this end Kejriwal and team need to clarify exactly what he and his party stand for and work towards smart ways of making government responsive to the citizen. As for Yadav and Bhushan, their options are more limited: not being mass leaders, their attempt to build an issue-based pressure group may struggle to survive in a political environment which allows little space for moral absolutism. For Kejriwal too the era of self-righteous moral posturing is over; the AAP idea can only live on now in a viable Delhi model of governance. And in order to implement that, Kejriwal needs to find capable leaders he can work with.