Being a journalist based in Delhi, these days, it is hardly uncommon for people to ask of the ‘inside information’ about the poll outcome for this tiny state. Quite frankly, there is none especially given how tightly fought a contest this is turning out to be.
However, I have a separate point to make.
Greek philosopher Plato has often acted as a pointer to the mess that India’s political scene resembles when he gave us the famous quote: One of the penalities for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
Now, see this in the context of the Delhi polls. Many can say a lot about the discourse, allegations, personal attacks, opportunism etcetera but can anyone disagree that the two faces vying for Delhi’s top job are as good as they come?
One look at Arvind Kejriwal and personal choices aside, his qualifications, integrity, quest for change is not something one can cast aspersions upon. As a self-confessed ‘misfit’ in his parent Indian Revenue Service (IRS) cadre, Kejriwal has his hands deep inside the mud called human development. His efforts at initiating the ‘Parivartan’ movement even as he was a part of the Income Tax department, contribution in the enactment of the Right to Information Act (RTI) in 2005 and improving the implementation of the same are but a few of the good deeds that Kejriwal the citizen accomplished much before he came anywhere close to where he is today. To initiate a serious effort into researching issues of governance and their impact on the public, Kejriwal teamed up with others and initiated the Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) towards which he donated the sum of $50,000 he won as award money from the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2006. His committment towards eradication of corruption, Lokpal and otherwise, too is genuinely laudable.
Incidentally, when one goes to the PCRF portal, the name that follows Kejriwal is that of his present competitor, Kiran Bedi, a personality known to have led from the front and spoken by her actions. She arrived on the Ramon Magsaysay Award stage much before Kejriwal did and her stint as India’s first Indian Police Service (IPS) officer is only too well known in its different manifestations. Her zest to excel from the very beginining saw her become Asia’s lawn tennis champion at the age of 22, in 1972, the same year in which she entered the police academy for training. All this action did not deter her launching forays into the academic arena in to form of advanced studies in Law, Political Science, Philosophy, Drug Abuse, Policing and Police Reforms among others. After all, it was by the sheer weight of her personality that she forced the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to break its trend and nominate a Chief Ministerial candidate, something it has not done in any election since the dawn of the Narendra Modi era.
These credentials speak and what they say is that no matter who wins, Delhi will be served and well at that.
Now, take a look at the rest of the country and tell me one contest where the contenders come anywhere close.