#ArvindKejriwal and the ‘Mirror on the Wall’ syndrome

In a children’s fable, there is a story about a queen who stands in front of her mirror and asks: ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall Who’s the fairest of us all?’  She likes going through this ritual periodically as the mirror always says ‘You are the fairest of all’.  However, the mirror, which is straightforward, is once constrained to tell the queen that she has lost the competition to her step daughter, Snow White.  The beautiful queen then becomes a vicious woman and tries all she can to eliminate her competitor who is just a child.

Most of us suffer from what I call this ‘mirror on the wall’ syndrome.  We like to be told only good things about ourselves.  When someone holds a mirror to our not-so-desirable selves, we want to fault the mirror or avoid seeing the reflection.  Kejriwal, to all appearances, seems to be suffering from this #MirrorOnTheWallSyndrome.

#AAP claims to be different on 12 counts (See http://www.aamaadmiparty.org/how-are-we-different).  After listing out their argument on the webpage, they conclude with the following sentence:

“When expressing your views in the comments, please use clean and dignified language, even when you are expressing disagreement …

Besides deviating from their own peroration, Arvind Kejriwal also seems to be steering the party away from many of their other commitments.

  1. There is no central high command in Aam Aadmi party. The party structure follows a bottom to top approach where the council members elect the Executive Body and also holds the power to recall it.
  2. No MLA or MP of this party will use red lights or any other beacons on his or her vehicles.
  3. No MLA or MP of this party will use any special security. We believe that elected people’s representatives need the same security as a common man.
  4. No MLA or MP of our party will live in opulent and luxurious government housing.
  5. No one would need to buy an election ticket in our party. Candidates contesting elections from an area will be selected by the people of that area.
  6. In all political parties today criminals and mafia goons are given election tickets. Such people will never be given tickets in our party. A thorough screening process will ensure that no one with a criminal record or proven corruption charges could stand for elections from our party.
  7. This party will function with full financial transparency. Every single rupee collected by donations to run this people’s party will be publicly declared on the party’s website and all expenditures will also be declared on the website.
  8. Every member of the Aam Aadmi party will have to follow a strict internal code of conduct or internal Lokpal. This independent body will be headed by 3 jurists and other eminent personalities with impeccable public records and will investigate charges of corruption, crime, substance abuse and moral turpitude against all office bearing members of the party. Any citizen can present proof of wrongdoing against a party member. If internal Lokpal finds the party member guilty, he or she will be subjected to appropriate disciplinary action as decided by the internal Lokpal.
  9. No two members of the same family will be eligible to contest elections in our party and no two members of the same family can become members of the Executive Body.
  10. Today we give our vote to a candidate, he or she wins the election, and then they disappear from our life. Today most elected representatives make no time to listen to the problems of their constituents. And in the current electoral system, the people have no choice but to suffer this candidate for 5 years. We want to create an alternative. We will enact a Right to Reject law wherein the common man does not have to wait for 5 years to remove a corrupt MLA or MP from office. People can complain to the election commission anytime to recall their representative and call for fresh elections.
  11. Aam Aadmi Party is fully committed to the principles of gender equity and will represent women and students amply at all levels of party organisation.
  12. Aam Aadmi Party is committed to the principles of justice for all and will coopt representatives from the Dalit and other minority segments of society at all levels of party organisation.

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