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Monday, July 23, 2018

One week in politics: From frenemy of Centre, AAP becomes arch enemy

Things took a dramatic turn for the worse on the weekend with the demolition of an illegal colony in Shakurbasti by the Railways.

Written by Sweta Dutta | New Delhi | Published: December 18, 2015 5:36:15 pm
File photo of Arvind Kejriwal's first day in the Delhi CM office. (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna) File photo of Arvind Kejriwal’s first day in the Delhi CM office. (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)

At the end of last week, it had begun to seem like the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government was on the same page as the Centre, be it on urban development initiatives or its odd-even car policy. Seven days later, relations between the two are more acrimonious than ever.

Things took a dramatic turn for the worse on the weekend with the demolition of an illegal colony in Shakurbasti by the Railways. Though a six-month-old baby had died hours before the demolition drive began, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal trained his guns at the BJP-led central government for the callous execution of the drive by Railways.

Kejriwal visited the spot in the small hours of Sunday morning and learnt from the family that the child was not injured during the demolition drive. Yet he chose to escalate his attack on the Prime Minister for his government’s insensitivity – he insisted that no permissions were sought from the Delhi government for the removal of this encroachment from railway land.

Having come to power with a clear mandate from the migrant community and with a promise to regularize a sizeable number of unauthorized colonies in Delhi, Kejriwal had no option but to come across as Shakurbasti’s messiah. The Delhi CM played his part only too well and sent his party leaders and volunteers to the spot to keep the pot on a boil.

Then on Tuesday, as the CBI raided the office and residence of Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar in connection with alleged corruption cases dating back to 2007-14, he once again turned the narrative uncannily to his own advantage. He cried himself hoarse that the raids were targeted at him and not his official as the Chief Minister’s office was raided and not the departments that were in question. He went as far to call Modi names – ‘coward’ and ‘psychopath’.

Over the next few days AAP hurled allegations against the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who according to the AAP engineered the raids to access documents incriminating him in the Delhi and District Cricket Association financial irregularities. Once again Kejriwal has illustrated how swiftly he can turn the political narrative on its head, appearing as the ‘victim’. The real victim is the relationship between the Delhi government and the Centre which has touched a new low. With no signs of the AAP relenting on either of the issues, the stalemate is here to stay.

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