Former chief information commissioner and RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi has written a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal
Shailesh Gandhi | September 24, 2015
I am writing this open letter to you, since both of us have worked together in the RTI movement and have insisted on transparency in all public matters. There are some concerns about your working, which I want to bring to your attention. Since a precedent has been set by the Maharashtra chief minister (Devendra) Fadnavis, you may consider responding to a Aam Aadmi.
I am sure you have taken a lot of good steps to better the lives of people in Delhi. I have noticed the fact that among other things you have focused on education, health and some other important sectors. You must have taken many more notable actions. You surely understand that all politicians serve people in some manner. There are some worrying indicators which together make many wary of your future course. I am taking the liberty of listing a few, in the hope that you may consider restoring your party to its pristine promise.
You have been one of the champions of transparency and RTI, and your national recognition came because of this. However, Delhi government does not appear to have improved on the transparency score, nor in adherence to RTI. I checked with some RTI activists in Delhi, CIC and even some strong supporters of yours. All of them say that there is no significant improvement in suo moto disclosure under Section 4, or even the responses being given to RTI applications. Your supporters said you will take this up later. A small suggestion in this regard: consider making the working of your government completely digital in the next one year and put up all files on the internet each day, save what is exempt.
Lokpal is another area which has been of concern to people of the nation. Your all India presence and recognition was based on your work in vociferously insisting on a Lokpal bill being passed by parliament as per the draft suggested by you without any changes. You resigned as Chief Minister claiming that since you could not pass the Lokpal bill you would not continue. You were given an unprecedented majority in Delhi, but a full nine months later there is no sign of the Lokpal bill being passed. In April 2015 you tweeted “Started working on Jan Lokpal Bill”. Earlier, you had given the impression that you knew the ideal draft for it. It appears that your enthusiasm for a Lokpal has waned after your party’s Lokpal was not pliant enough and was dumped unceremoniously.
Many of your senior colleagues have left you, or been expelled. The list includes Prashant Bhushan , Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar , Shazia Ilmi, Madhu Bahduri. Some of them like Prashant had worked with you for over a decade. Among the five-member team, which was to present the nation’s voice at the Lokpal bill negotiation team with five ministers, only you remain in solitary splendor. Two out of your four MPs of Punjab have been thrown out, and HS Phoolka has resigned from all party posts. Your implied argument appears to be that they were not serving the interests of the nation. You appear to believe that ‘Arvind is Aap, and Aap is India’. All these people have a long record of public service and integrity. You were a great champion of the right to dissent and transparency. It appears that you ensured the exit of those who dissented, or questioned the ethical and moral dimensions of some of your actions. At the very least be transparent about your meetings and the reasons for your decisions.
You represented the hope which looked forward to the ideal of India becoming a more honest, ethical nation. The hope that Indian politics would be based on principles and true democracy with accountability will prevail; dissent and transparency would be our paths for a true participatory democracy. I did visit and speak at your rallies at Jantar Mantar and Ram Lila ground while I was an information commissioner and saw in those large numbers of persons the hope and dream of a resurgent India which would result in a nation they would be proud of. It was magical, like a pumpkin transforming into a royal carriage.
The widespread support you got from media and people was because of this. It appears now that the clock may strike 12 and the magic may disappear. This has happened before in 1977 and the hopes and faith of the people were betrayed. You have now castigated anyone who does not agree with you, including the media. Media backed and made you a national figure when you appeared to represent the dream of a better India. With the path you are now following, you may build a large successful party, and reach the highest level. But you will be like any other politician and political party. The descent from idealism can be very rapid.
Please do not dash the hopes for idealism and a honest India. It may take decades before someone else will be able to persuade citizens that a political party will work with principles and idealism with the nation as its primary concern. True Democracy is built with ethics and systems, not by great leaders.
24 September 2015
BJP is all set to retain Gujarat, indicated one exit poll. Another exit poll, however, showed a tough fight in at least one region. Aaj Tak exit poll showed that BJP will win 99 – 113 seats, getting a majority in the 182 member assembly. The Congress will get 68 – 82 seats, falli
Goa shipyard Limited (GSL) has delivered the second fuel barge to Indian Navy on December 2, 33 days ahead of contractual delivery schedule, and recently got inducted into the Navy. Navy was in the need of self-propelled 1000Ton fuel barges, with a view to fuel big ships like INS Vikramadity
Minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre has assured Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) that work load for its Nashik unit will continue to flow even after Su-MKI manufacturing and production activities conclude in the next few years. “HAL has the world class facilities and giv
Naval submarine INS Kalvari was dedicated to the nation by prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday in Mumbai. INS Kalvari is a diesel-electric attack submarine built by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd for the Indian Navy. As per the plan, five more such submarines would be inducted into
People queued up since early morning to cast their ballot to decide the political fate of 851 candidates in the second and final phase of the bitterly fought Gujarat assembly elections. The votes in all the 182 seats will be counted on December 18. Over 22 million people are eligible to cast
Had the situation not been so desperate, then the AAP government’s proposal to sprinkle water from helicopters would have been considered hare-brained. But, a more practical solution to tackling air pollution may well be around the corner and it lies in the success of a pilot project in Iceland.