President Pranab Mukherjee’s remark that “populist anarchy” could not be a substitute for governance was met with mixed reactions from the Aam Aadmi Party, with some members doubting if the comments were directed at the AAP.
While Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was glad a debate was underway, there were others who said the party would take into consideration the comments, made by the President during his address on the eve of Republic Day.
The President’s comments have largely been interpreted as referring to the AAP, especially with the party being termed “anarchist” for holding a dharna outside Rail Bhawan and threatening to disrupt Republic Day celebrations. In fact, Kejriwal had called himself an “anarchist”.
On Sunday, Kejriwal said the President’s speech had generated a debate on whether a chief minister staging a protest was constitutional. “I am happy that this is being debated. Please look at the newspapers. Some are in favour and some are critical and a healthy debate is very good in a democracy,” he said.
Earlier, the chief minister had re-tweeted a post by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. “Dear Mr President. Activism and Anarchy are not the same. Anarchy was 1984 when mobs went on rampage killing Sikhs. Provoked by State n Police…,” Kapur had tweeted.
On Saturday, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav took to Twitter to suggest that the President’s comments should be read as an indictment of the Congress and the BJP.
“Surely a gross misreading to imagine that hon’ble president’s address refers to #AAP. His Excellency is above petty, partisan politics!”… On populist anarchy: HE(His Excellency) must be talking abt the the UPA’s combination of populism and anarchy in its eco policy… Or is HE talking abt Moditva style majoritarian populism that can lead to anarchy?…”
On Sunday, AAP leader Ashutosh tried to tone down the repartee. “Whatever the President said, we don’t want to make comments in that regard as he is the first citizen of this country. If he has said something about us, we would carefully listen to him and consider it,” he said.