Lessons From Delhi- The Empire Strikes Back!
Delhi is and always was an Entitlement Entity run by a Power Complex, comprising largely three types of people – Dalals of power, Darbaris in the power court and the Netas.
The Dalals includes the media talking heads, assorted bunch of intellectuals embedded in academia and Nehruvian era policy establishments, wheeler-dealers representing business lobbies and the local representatives of Global NGOs network.
The Darbaris are the ones who run the orders for those who are in Singhasan and include the Civil Servants, the vast Government Employee networks with their ‘no work and only entitlement’ philosophy, the retired Defence Services Officers and Business Institutions Cavalry . Their loyalty is to the positions they occupy. The use them to get favors and get rich.
Both these group have the highest survival instincts and within them there is a great hierarchy. They may have petty squabbles but do know when to close ranks when their survival is threatened by any external forces that can unseat them from these power slots and make them irrelevant.
The power elite, the Netas, have always been dependent on these two groups to navigate their way and rule the country. Mind you rule and not govern! Hence all the power elite have their links to these groups.
Besides these three groups, the Dalals, the Darbaris and the Netas (power elite) there is the immigrant population who come in search of jobs, opportunities and/or brought in by the Power Complex to serve them. They are easily purchasable, susceptible to indoctrination but aspirational.
Delhi in itself has thus been a free loading capital that sucks resources from the rest of the country. It is not unique in this. Most capitals in the world have a similar set up.
The Lok Sabha elections were based on a different paradigm. Electoral Landslide that catapulted BJP in to power was the result of pent up angst against ‘The Empire’ that was ruling India. This combined with the yearning of aspirational new India that wanted a strong leadership, the positive message that the BJP came with, the personal charisma and track record of NaMo and the increasing awareness and rejection of the Media hypocrisy produced the 2014 verdict.
It resulted in the ascension to the power in Delhi of Narendra Modi – Amit Shah combination that was completely non dependent on the Power Complex of Delhi. This posed an existential threat to them. Given that the new leadership is bent on Governing India and not Ruling India, they will completely rewrite the system and that is what is happening in Delhi
The Delhi elite will not allow that to happen. It was going to fight back and the vehicle of choice was the AAP. The AAP in itself was a vehicle that was conceived and created from outside of India to try and stop the rise of nationalist forces in India. If you look at the larger geo-political scenario, the west created a model of manufactured popular dissent using a local lightening rod to affect regime change. Initially it achieved success in Egypt and Libya but then floundered when it came to Syria and Pakistan. The most spectacular failure was the AAP in India which was basically a subversion of a movement against corruption started by Anna. It was hijacked right from his nose by the cabal that was led by Kejriwal and company.
To the credit of the Nationalist camp, they too had ‘infiltrated’ the movement and made sure that it was not completely hijacked and the venom of AAP was isolated, discredited and reduced to a footnote in the LS elections. NaMo, Amit Shah, RSS, Baba Ramdev and yes Jaitley played a part in this.
If all this is known to me a distant observer like this commentator, one is sure that the leadership in BJP also knew about it. Hence it is interesting to see the BJP struggling in this election. They had a year to prepare. They must have known that the LS elections were different. They would have realized the extent of rot that had set up in the local Delhi Unit of the party. They knew that the Power Complex will fight back and the hostile forces will try and revive their creation.
Despite the above, if they find themselves playing catch up, it can be only because of essentially two reasons. One – they were arrogant and incompetent to work hard or two – they felt that it is best to stick to an appeal to change the status quo and seek a mandate based on development and aspirations. This commentator’s sensing they chose the latter path.
BJP leadership knew that the unit was weak and tried to get a leader who could be one better than the claimed credentials of Kejriwal in terms of honesty, fighter of the system image, but with an improved administrative capabilities, better vision for Delhi. They came up with Kiran Bedi as there was none in the state unit who could claim that. Second, they also went with the campaign that was an extension of Good Governance theme without succumbing to the entitlement nature of the Delhi electorate hoping for a break from the past like it happened in the LS elections.
The BJP leadership, in its wisdom, did not even bother to make the AAP leadership an election issue. They never embarked on a narrative that unmasked the AAP leadership for what they are – a motley collection of anti-nationals that have been brought together by foreign hands and backed by the Power Complex. They did not campaign against the Power Complex.
BJP leadership went into the conventional mode of looking at this as a state election with local issues taking precedence and wanted to assemble a leadership and team that would respond to the narrative being created by AAP. They sought to cover their state unit weakness by getting in Kiran Bedi as the candidate, allowing the deserters from AAP who are part of the Power Complex nonetheless to come into the BJP like Shazia Ilimi. It is only late in the campaign that they tried to bring up the subversive nature of the AAP leadership into the picture and seek votes. It is only late in the game that they pressed the famed BJP/Sangh machinery for mass contact to educate the electorate or make the pitch. The plan they had was for a few mega rallies by NaMo at the end would have been enough.
Now whether all this worked or not will be revealed on 10th. For only the event will teach us at its hour. It was vital that the Delhi Power Complex should be brought down quickly and efficiently by removing special privileges and entitlement accorded to it. No more huge capital investments if it is not funded by Delhi government. Bring about accountability by making it a state and treating it as any other state in India. If they want to do something, let them plan for it, earn for it and then spend it. For example, constructing a road in Mumbai or building a airport for Chennai is a long struggle for the citizens of these cities. Delhi is used to getting it from other state’s money. Whether it is a BJP government or AAP government make it govern rather than rule. Go after the Power Complex and bring down some notable names and personages. Discredit them for their sins. Expose them thoroughly. If there are members of the Power Complex inside BJP marginalize them fully. Cut off the Oxygen supply of information, money and influence peddling opportunities even more vigorously.
Dismantling the Power Complex is the only path to a sustainable change.