Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Arvind Kejriwal should learn a thing or two about governance from Chandrababu Naidu and KCR

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference: 
The people and government of the newly formed state of Andhra Pradesh have been demanding a special category status for their state since the last 2 years. The then Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh had promised the status on the floor of Rajya Sabha. The present dispensation has given a lot of indications that it is difficult to grant this status (when in opposition, Venkaiah Naidu had in fact asked for 10 years of special status, but is now quoting many rules that make this near impossible). The people feel that this status will bring them out of doldrums.
Chandrababu Naidu has been challenged by opposition many times to walk out of the central government and fight for this status. Chandrababu Naidu could have easily not done a single scheme and just complained about the central government day in and day out. He could have always said – “Since center is not granting special status, there is nothing I can do”. He could have said, “Modi fears me; Modi is bad; Modi is this, Modi is that...”
Instead, Chandrababu Naidu travels around the world, selling the idea of a new Andhra Pradesh (After his recent trip to Russia, a deal finalizing the building of some nuclear reactors in AP was done). He has built a project in 1 year that interlinks Krishna and Godavari. You read it right – his government built it in just one year! There are plethora of other programs he has initiated and is trying his best to lead the state into a good future. Whether the programs are succeeding or not, that topic is for another day.
In the past 2 years, I can only recall 2 serious press conferences where he was angry with the Modi government. He is also in talks with central government regularly and does manage to get aid whenever necessary. One might brush it aside saying that since he is an ally, he will sound compromising. However my point is that even if Chandrababu Naidu was not an ally of Modi, he would have still been serious about governing (and of course criticize Modi more). But, he would still be serious about governing.
In the run-up to the formation of Telangana, KCR was the ultimate activist politician. Rabble rousing when necessary, employing exemplary rhetoric where needed, stirring up emotions – every text book detail on how an activist politician will behave was seen in KCR. The people of Hyderabad were very wary on how his government would treat them (especially those from the neighboring states). The people of Telangana gave him a simple majority, and everyone was keen to watch what he will say and do.
He had the choice of continuing in his activist mode. He could have easily said something like “There is still injustice being meted out to Telangana”, “Central government is not helping” and so on. Instead, he said – “let’s build a Golden Telangana”. And he went about announcing/implementing important water based schemes, important housing based schemes, important IT based schemes etc. Whether the programs are succeeding or not, that topic is for another day – but the main point is this – he is very serious about governing.
Of course, he sometimes still uses rhetoric as a tool when cornered. Of course, he criticizes the central government many times – but he is very serious about governing. In fact, he has even picked up the Swachh Bharat campaign in earnest (despite being in opposition to BJP). He is not the rhetorical activist KCR people have seen before.
Why am I writing about these two Chief Ministers? Because of late, the whining and ranting of the Chief Minister of Delhi has just become too much to take on. One look at this twitter timeline on any day is enough to repulse you. The obsession with the Prime Minister, his constant retweets of abuse, his own abuses against the Prime Minister, and his accusation that the PM will get him killed – all these point to some kind of dementia too.
I have tried to read what kind of governance happens in the state. Even die hard fans write just about a couple of topics – money saved in construction of flyovers, mohalla clinics and …. Wait, that’s it! All I read about is just a handful of issues and everything else is about Modi. I also recollect that the central government gave Delhi government Rs. 3250 crores to Delhi, this one time. I have written earlier too about how he designs his bill for rejection, so that he can continue with his drama and whining every day. In fact, he has himself admitted that he has not been able to do anything substantial in the past 18 months!
I couldn’t help but contrast how the Chief Ministers of the Telugu states are serious about governing despite the hurdles they face; and how this CM of Delhi only create hurdles for people to face. I am also conscious of the fact that KCR and Chandrababu Naidu are much bigger leaders than what Kejriwal is - and this comparison might be giving too much weightage to Kejriwal, but I just couldn’t help but wonder – if activist politician KCR can focus on governance; if despite lack of money, Chandrababu Naidu can focus on governance; why can’t Kejriwal do so?


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