An Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal from Shailesh Gandhi

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Shailesh Gandhi. Credit: PTI Photo

Shailesh Gandhi. Credit: PTI Photo

Dear Arvind,

I am writing this open letter to you, since both of us have worked together in the RTI movement and have insisted on transparency in all public matters. There are some concerns about your working which I want to bring to your attention. Since a precedent has been set by the Maharashtra CM Fadnavis, you may consider responding to a Aam Aadmi.

I am sure you have taken a lot of good steps to better the lives of people in Delhi. I have noticed the fact that among other things you have focused on education, health and some other important sectors. You must have taken many more notable actions. You surely understand that all politicians serve people in some manner. There are some worrying indicators which together make many wary of your future course. I am taking the liberty of listing a few, in the hope that you may consider restoring your party to its pristine promise.

You have been one of the champions of transparency and RTI and your national recognition came because of this. However Delhi government does not appear to have improved on the transparency score nor adherence to RTI. I checked with some RTI activists in Delhi, CIC and even some strong supporters of yours. All of them say that there is no significant improvement in sou moto disclosure under Section 4, or even the responses being given to RTI applications. Your supporters said you will take this up later. A small suggestion in this regard: Consider making the working of your government completely digital in the next one year and put up all files on the internet each day, save what is exempt.

Lokpal is another area which has been of concern to people of the nation. Your all India presence and recognition was based on your work in vociferously insisting on a Lokpal bill being passed by Parliament as per the draft suggested by you without any changes. You  resigned as Chief Minister claiming that since you could not pass the Lokpal bill you would not continue. You were given an unprecedented majority in Delhi, but a full nine months later there is no sign of the Lokpal bill being passed. In April 2015 you tweeted“Started working on Jan Lokpal Bill”. Earlier you had given the impression that you knew the ideal draft for  it. It appears that your enthusiasm for a Lokpal has waned after your party’s Lokpal was not pliant enough and was dumped unceremoniously.

Many of your senior colleagues have left you, or been expelled. The list includes Prashant Bhushan , Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar , Shazia Ilmi, Madhu Bahduri. Some of them like Prashant had worked with you for over a decade. Amongst the five member team which was to present the nation’s voice at the Lokpal bill negotiation team with five ministers, only you remain in solitary splendor. Two out of your four MPs of Punjab have been thrown out, and Mr. Phoolka has resigned from all party posts. . Your implied argument appears to be that they were not serving the interests of the nation. You appear to believe that ‘Arvind is Aap, and Aap is India’.  All these people have a long record of public service and integrity.  You were a great champion of the right to dissent and transparency. It appears that you ensured the exit of those who dissented, or questioned the ethical and moral dimensions of some of your actions. At the very least be transparent about your meetings and the reasons for your decisions.

You represented the hope which looked forward to the ideal of India becoming a more honest, ethical nation. The hope that Indian politics would be based on principles, and true democracy with accountability will prevail; dissent and transparency would be our paths for a true participatory democracy. I did visit and speak at your rallies at Jantar Mantar and Ram Lila ground while I was an Information Commissioner and saw in those large numbers of persons the hope and dream of a resurgent India which would result in a nation they would be proud of.  It was magical, like a pumpkin transforming into a royal carriage. The widespread support you got from media and people was because of this. It appears now that the clock may strike 12 and the magic may disappear. This has happened before in 1977 and the hopes and faith of the people were betrayed. You have now castigated anyone who does not agree with you, including the media. Media backed and made you a national figure when you appeared to represent the dream of a better India.  With the path you are now following, you may build a large successful party, and reach the highest level. But you will be like any other politician and political party. The descent from idealism can be very rapid. Please do not dash the hopes for idealism and a honest India. It may take decades before someone else will be able to persuade citizens that a political party will work with principles and idealism with the nation as its primary concern. True democracy is built with ethics and systems, not by great leaders.

Shailesh Gandhi

Shailesh Gandhi is a former Central Information Commissioner.

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  • Return Back

    Superb …now be ready to be called as modi bhakt

  • kautilya_in

    Look at the donations page of the AAP—how much money they are able to raise today. No problem for Bongress who raise funds via any and every covert means! Look at the relentless attacks on the AAP leaders on the social media and by the LG and the Delhi police. Look at how some so-called selfless people in the party said Ajay Maken is a better CM candidate than Kejriwal.

    Do Indians really want to encourage clean politics? I don’t think so! They only want what they can get for free.

    Therefore, better stop complaining and be satisfied by what a few good men do as per their abilities. Arvind is the same person who fought for the RTI—he is merely doing his best to keep a good movement from dissipating. He is fighting to keep Delhi and India from becoming a Modi dictatorship.

    • aryan singh

      Its arvingd whos relentlessly attacking others…everyone who opposes hum…why cry when others attack u

      and ur while argument is based on d premise dat arvind is intellectually n mirallly honest…honrsty is not only material

      Llook how he treated yadav and bhushan..his blind defence of timar and bharati..his media exprnditure and narcisstic ads…his courting of muslim votea during election…hisnon pursual of corruption charges against dikshit upon which he made gis pol start

      we ahud blindly follow his follies just cause he says he is hinest??

    • Nisha Shah

      No efforts to show that he is good man will be successful. JanLokPal is buried by himself. His nakedness is no secret. This party or group or gang – whatever will not last much now.

  • पुरानी बस्ती

    very well written..lets see if the reply comes

  • Shrinivas Dontul

    Shailesh Gandhi Thank You for Raising Your concerns… Why didn’t you raise questions for LG also… One after the Other AAP Govt has taken Remarkable Decisions in the field of Educcation, Water, Electricity, Transport, Hospital Beds and so Many things.. Why not mention these things in your column.. LOKPAL bill will be Passed This Year End… There are some Economic Aspects of the bill which they are finalising… He is not a Machine where you Install and the program will Run as per your Wish.. You need to ensure Bill faces minimal of Opposition from Centre. Don’t get Carried Away and have some Faith… Please don’t discuss about prashant bhushan and Yogendra Yadav. Arvind is not so stupid to Keep such Backstabbers. Nor does he has Money power to Own a Party. It was a Party Decision in case of Expelling few leaders. And Government Does not do all the Work.. There are layers of Bureaucracy which replies to RTI… With effect of Lokpal Bill this Bureacray should come in line with Govt and you would find transperency in RTI also.. The Work is Going on On LOKPAL BILL and soon Delhi will get it… Atleast you Delhi has got Arvind Kejriwal. Rest of the Nation have Moron Sitting at CM Post..