Shailesh Gandhi’s letter to Kejriwal: Descent from idealism can be very rapid

Former chief information commissioner and RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi has written a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal

shailesh

Shailesh Gandhi | September 24, 2015


#RTI   #Shailesh Gandhi   #Arvind Kejriwal   #Delhi chief minister   #RTI activist   #open letter   #Lokpal bill  


Dear Arvind,

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.

Shailesh Gandhi

24 September 2015

Comments

 

Other News

Harnessing the demographic capital: how effective are skilling programmes?

Probing data concerning increased job creation and the decline in unemployment has been holding the attention of economists and been subject of discussions in several think tanks in the preceding months. The NITI Aayog reports that 3.53 million new jobs were created between September 2017 and February 2018

It`s time to Unlock now, with economic focus

With Lockdown 4 ending Sunday, the home ministry has issued new guidelines to fight COVID-19 and for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones. The guidelines, issued based on extensive consultations held with states and UTs, will be effective from June 1 till June 30. The first phase of reo

Small kitchen gardens turn saviours for Gujarat tribal families

When the whole world is fighting COVID-19, food and nutrition security has become a major issue. The pandemic has aggravated the existing food crisis in India, especially in rural and tribal regions. There has been less availability of fresh foods in most parts of the country, and the tribal community has

India will set example of post-Covid-19 economic revival: Modi

India is determined to “set an example” for the rest of the word in the post-pandemic economic revival, prime minister Narendra Modi has said, underling the need to become self-reliant. “There is also a widespread debate on how the economies of various countries, including

3,543 ‘Shramik Special’ trains transport 48 lakh people in 26 days

Close to 48 lakh migrant labourers have been able to reach home from the cities they were working in, as the Indian Railways have run a total of 3,543 “Sharmik Special” trains from May 1. Following the home ministry order regarding the movement by special trains of migrant worker

How Jeevan Raths have helped 52,000 migrants in Maharashtra

Before the novel coronavirus hit it, Mumbai about 10-12 lakh labourers from elsewhere had made it their home. The figure for the state of Maharashtra was another 18-20 lakh. As the pandemic spread and the Maximum City emerged as the worst-hit place in India, all economic activities came to an end, and with



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter