Delhi विचार

Kejriwal walking on a tight rope – Nitin Saxena

New Delhi:  Delhi government has come under a tight spot after the reported insistence of people for a fresh strict shutdown as the COVID cases are coiling up and widening the curve pressing the panic-button in the national capital and the near total collapse of medical facilities in the government-run hospital compounding its problems.

Why is Kejriwal averse to another Delhi shutdown?  Is he playing with the lives of Delhiites or is he insensitive toward the contagious COVID?   However, not succumbing to any pressure, Delhi is not keen to impose shutdown as of now.

The Supreme Court slammed the Delhi government for patients being treated like animals in its public hospitals and asked it to explain the reason for the decline of COVID tests in Delhi when the positive ones were increasing.

The Press has already directed its gun on Delhi government Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through various fiery debates going on the television news channels in which the main issue is on the opening of malls and restaurants, salon and the local eateries when Kejriwal and his council of ministers knew that COVID cases were on the increase and will be the cause of alarm.

But if Union Minister Prakash Javadekar is to be believed, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi was well aware of the gravity of COVID as early as January 30 when the first case of infection was reported in Kerala.  He waited for three months in which no international flights were banned.  In fact, India did not screen any of the passengers alighting in India from abroad. And when the infection spread beyond expectations, he forgot his motivational speeches laced with statistics how India was faring better than most countries.  Before going on the backseat, he shifted the onus of administering the States to its chief ministers to take decisions of the lifting of curbs or extending the lockdowns.

Modi is also uncertain about his party’s image that has taken a bashing in the last few months.  His flamboyancy in tackling the pandemic has put a large question mark on his functioning as a PM. Congress has been condemning him for shutting down the country which is now seeing an economic down-swing.  Even Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said in no uncertain terms that COVID tests were more important than the shutdown.  He had also said that the country will face an economic breakdown.

The fear of COVID will stay in the country but BJP, Congress and AAP have started soft campaigning for their respective parties.  Amit Shah video conferencing with party workers while Prakash Javedakar singing praises of Modi on video meetings at Ahmedabad.  AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal has already taken a confronter’s mode against the ruling party and Delhi LG and keeps on calling a press conference at the drop of the hat. Rahul Gandhi is taking digs at all the major issues during the pandemic ranging from COVID tests to migrants issue to failure in food distribution.

The big question is why Kejriwal is not taking meaningful decisions and getting entrapped in a ‘Catch-22’ like situation.  If Kejriwal imposes a shutdown, it will be proved that his earlier decision to allow the opening of malls and restaurants was a non-practical and foolish decision and was not expected from a chief minister and that too of the national capital which, as it is, is considered to be the epicentre  of power and reactions.

The buzz is that Arvind Kejriwal, if he goes for a shutdown, will prove himself to be an incompetent CM without the farsightedness that a political leader of his stature should have. This will not go well with the Delhi electorate and the Centre will be an easy plank to smear black paint on Kejriwal in the next elections. The sliding image of Kejriwal will be shattered further.

Visibly shaken and his party leaders not of any help in planning a strategic move that  could turn the tables on the opponent, Kejriwal is in a delimma now.  He is sandwiched between the Delhiites and the Centre and the COVID pandemic may prove to be his waterloo.


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Nitin Saxena
Nitin Saxena is a Senior Journalist who dabbled into Films and Academics before coming back to Journalim as a Columnist and Communication consultant

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