Will Arvind Kejriwal strike the right note with Delhiites this time?
Arvind Kejriwal has begun his indefinite fast in New Delhi again. This time, the man has raised his voice against inflated electricity and water bills in the national capital. Living up to the name of his party, the convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party has this time shifted his fast venue from the very heart of Delhi, Jantar Mantar, and sprawling Ramlila Grounds to a house in Northeast Delhi district. Not to forget that the Delhi Assembly Elections are just round the corner.
Known for mobilising crowd in a place like Sundar Nagari, the activist-turned-politician has adopted a good tactic to mark his presence among the masses. The mechanical engineer from IIT Kharagpur has come a long away, from being an Indian Revenue Service officer to the founder of a non-governmental organisation `Parivartan`, and from being an aide to Anna Hazare in an anti-corruption protest to the convenor of a political party.
There is no doubt that the image of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance has been dented too hard, largely due to a plethora of scams and corruption. But just because Kejriwal believes in exposing various scams and nexuses on broadcast and social media does not mean that the `mango people` of this country will bestow trust on the AAP.
How helpful will this `fast politics` be in helping Arvind garner votes is a question that bothers me immensely. The 45-year-old can`t go and visit different families during his fast, as advised by the doctor. As far as duration of his fast is concerned, the new politician in the town said that there is no timeframe and he would call it off when a "significant number of people" would "stop paying their water and electricity tariffs". I hope this fast of his doesn`t become an embarrassment like last time when he was completely snubbed by the government and he had to call off the fast without any substantial outcome.
Certainly, his decision to drum up support at grassroots level this time will help him connect with the masses, who are not used to pressing `like` button on Facebook and posting views on Twitter.
It`s sad but true that holding candle light vigils at India Gate have become more of a fashion statement and that too for rolling TV cameras. So just counting on the crowd that throng Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Madian is definitely not a feasible idea. Many surveys in the past have suggested that rural Delhi holds an edge over people in urban settlements as far as voting percentage is concerned.
Will his new `fasting` venue help him connect with the voters this time? Will people stop paying their water and power bills on the directions of Kejriwal; sounds impossible though since his demands and expectations from public are weird. Although I think that the current system is rotten enough and of course people want a new administration altogether, yet it is sad to note that for Mr Kejriwal - `Abhi Dilli door hai` (Delhi is still far away).