Mr. Aam Aadmi Moves to a Palatial Bungalow by by Aseem Prakash

Tasting power is dangerous.

In addition to getting used to throwing your weight around, having throngs of chamchas around you, driven around in government cars, one tends to get used to spacious government accommodation. Reverting back to the “civilian mode” is difficult and painful.

Apparently, self-proclaimed Mr. Aam Aadmi, Arvind Kejriwal, is moving to one of the most exclusive areas of Delhi, Civil Lines. He will be renting the house, 4-B Flagstaff Road, owned by Naren Jain. Initially, the rent was Rs 1 but after the media story, it seems the rent will be higher. I grew up in the area and vaguely remember the house. Kejriwal has expensive but good taste.

Arguably, this is a transaction between two private individuals and should not be subjected public scrutiny. If Naren Jain is willing to charge Rs 1 as “rent” instead of charging the real market value of several lakhs, this is his problem.

Of course, if a Congress or BJP politician were do that, the AAP would scream corruption. They would ask and rightly so: what is the quid pro quo? But if the “party supremo “(this is phrase the AAP’s self proclaimed Chankya, Yogendra Yadav, used to describe Kejriwal) does it, it is ok.

But Kejriwal is supposed to be aam aadmi. He has made a lot of song and dance about it. He insists on driving his Maruti Wagon; for his swearing-in ceremony, he took the Delhi Metro. So what is happening? I think symptoms of affluenza starting emerging within a few days of being named as the CM of Delhi. Kejriwal wanted a bit more comfortable lifestyle; the aam aadmi stuff was not good enough. Initially, he wanted two spacious flats in Tilak Lane to be joined so that he could reside there. Media furor forced him to back track and he had stick to one flat only. Poor soul; world simply will not allow him to have fun.

Kejriwal tries to mimic Mahatma Gandhi. See the the topi he wears, his reaction to getting slapped, etc. Yet, the two could not be more different. Gandhi walked the talk. Kejriwal only talks.

While I’m surprised how quickly Kejriwal has gotten used to the trappings of power, perhaps, I should not be surprised. In the last three to four decades, most political leaders who emerged from anti-corruption movements including the JP movement have quickly succumbed to the temptations of power. Communist parties were supposed to represent the working class. Yet, their leaders had lavish lifestyles.

Those espousing the cause of the common man are quite susceptible to adopt the life style of the elite, given the opportunity. Kejriwal is no exception. But in any case, enjoy the bungalow!

One comment on “Mr. Aam Aadmi Moves to a Palatial Bungalow by by Aseem Prakash

  1. Kirit Patel says:

    The time has come for economists to launch a new discipline with expertise in estimating real cost that these self acclaimed avatars of Gandhi incur for appearing poor. Kejrival is no exception, as Aseem noted, even communist leaders keep personal fashion designers (Kejrival also had an offer to design his signature scarp!). People may recall Rahul’s stunt of sleepover in a slum dwelling before couple of years. I would be surprised if Anna Hazare travels in “cattle class” (as described by Shashi Tharoor). Something has fundamentally changed in values of politicians and social leaders in post-Indira Gandhi era.

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