AAP vs. the Neo-Maharajahs?

The suggestion that Mukesh Ambani could become a poll issue has deeper implications than merely the fall of Arvind Kejriwal's government. It brings to the forefront an undercover operation, and the sheer brazenness with which it can be touted about.

The Ambanis, and for that matter most industrial houses, are what constitutes corporate India, which in effect is the India we blindly promote. The elephant is in the room, and we trumpet it along with old exotica.

So, is the Aam Aadmi Party going to be considered the whistle-blower? Hardly. Kejriwal pushed the Jan Lokpal Bill. The whole of India and it chachas and mamaas want the Bill, because it merely makes the already transparent, transparent. It cannot expose what is not there, and only the very stupid would reveal their ill-gotten assets.

Despite reservations about AAP's modus operandi, this resignation is a mere sample for things to come. It is a run-up to the Lok Sabha elections and it does not sound good. The resigned CM has been playing politics, but by standing on the periphery. This is dangerous, for it amounts to power without responsibility.

Why was he in such a hurry? Was it only about his 49 days of 15-minutes fame? Does he want to be known as the last man standing, a moral trope?

It does sound ironical to discuss democratic behaviour in this context because none of the parties follows it. However, in his short stint, Kejriwal has been rushing from arrogance to anarchy without a blink. Perhaps, both of these feed each other.

Where does Mukesh Ambani figure in all this?

Kejriwal used his resignation speech...to lash out at Congress and BJP for joining hands to allegedly protect the corporate interests of Reliance boss Mukesh Ambani.

The AAP government's decision to file FIRs against Ambani and Congress leaders for "illegally" raising the price of natural gas was the reason for the Jan Lokpal bill being defeated, the CM said.

If it is glory he is seeking, then it will not work. Many among AAP's supporters are covert Ambanis. This whole common man idea was propped up by an upwardly mobile middle-class mindset.

Dhirubhai Ambani represented it best as the man who made it. Indians have never been particularly interested in how anybody makes it. Since we love legacies, the sons — that too warring ones — have earned the fealty of a public that finds its role models in the neo-maharajahs. Boardroom wars are akin to going to battle for different sides, but with the ostensibly rock solid foundation of the self-made man.

Corporate venality does not figure in the popular imagination. The demons we want to slay are underworld dons and people without any history. Big industry always seems to have history, even if it was built in a short time. Chemicals and gas have been around forever, and being a part of it the manufacturers get history by default.

Kejriwal did not drop a bombshell. It would be rather naïve to believe that political parties would openly be seen to promote a business group, even if they indeed do. We have had scams running into mind-boggling figures. There was a judicial, constitutional process followed. People were given jail terms. But, did it change the landscape of corruption?

Think about it. Who spent time in the clinker? The politicians and the smaller business guys. Did anything happen to the big honchos? No. Therefore, not only do the major and minor political parties protect the corporate masterminds, they are willing to sacrifice their own relatively smaller players.

And in this game, Arvind Kejriwal's throw of dice wasn't even on the board.

© Farzana Versey


A touch of arrogance

The posh anarchy of the 'aam aadmi'


Images: Financial Express

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