The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 21 , 2014
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It is alarming to watch, with profound unease, the chief minister of Delhi trying to muster members of the government to sit in dharna against the city police. Street activism in the secretariat seems to be the new methodology of governance in Delhi. The rulers are actively breaking all the rules in full public view. I would have imagined that first and foremost, the rules that have become redundant will be discarded, with a fresh set of dos and doníts established to enable the cleansing of a corrupt and corroded system. Instead, crossing the line is being Ďorderedí by the rulers themselves, thereby endorsing havoc and anarchy.

For a minister to compel a police officer to arrest an alleged wrongdoer without a warrant of arrest goes against every human right. The correct thing to do would be to call in the head of the police force and order a legitimate raid in the first place. India knows well that police personnel have a system of taking illegal hafta from all wrongdoers, starting with truck drivers at every state border to people involved in the illegal sale of alcohol, prostitution and more. Therefore, the first thing for a new chief minister to do is to get a clean and proactive team in place to start the restoration of the rule of law. The anti-corruption cell needs to report directly to the chief minister and needs to up the ante on legitimate raids and, thereafter, on suspension. To severely antagonize the entire force, with the cabinet itself breaking the rule, weakens its authority and creates an environment for combat. Good governance demands team work and being on the same page. In Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal is fortunate to have a person of great integrity as the lieutenant governor and the two of them could most certainly have found immediate solutions to the problems that have plagued the administration in the city, particularly in the realm of safety and the role of the police.

Wild promises

The hysteria and loud, high-pitched rhetoric of the chief minister made one feel very fearful of what is in store for this city. Many questions trouble the mind. Is the chief minister unable to make the system work, and within its constraints and checks and balances, deliver on the wild promises made at the time of the election? Is this new-fangled street Ďactivismí of the man in the seat of power a way out of taking on the responsibility to govern Delhi for his five-year term? Is he forcing the fall of his government because he realizes that he cannot handle governance and is far better at street protests? Is he pushing his alliance partner to pull the rug so that he can go out onto the streets again and damn the partner for being irresponsible? Is he insecure in the driverís seat or just immature as a leader? It is all very troubling.

How will Delhi be governed and administered if the chief minister and his cabinet are constantly on television and on the streets, protesting? The breakdown of this metropolitan city will be rapid and disastrous. Once the slide starts, the recent infrastructure that was put in place to make Delhi a great city will collapse and massive corruption will ensue. Anarchy is the ideal breeding ground for blackmail and corruption of a far more dangerous and venal strain than what we have seen till now.

When the intentions are good, as in the case of the Aam Aadmi Party, people are willing to go that extra mile and forgive mistakes. But errors of judgment and the malpractice which operate outside the laws of the land, like defying Section 144 as the chief minister, are untenable. He who upholds the law has the right to rule. If the law is faulty, it is his or her right and responsibility to re-enact a better law in its place. There is no other way if India is to be ruled democratically and with integrity.