Kejriwal wants to be Gandhi, but ends up being Indira KEJRI QUITS screams the banner headline on The Telegraph. The Q is shaped liked a muffler. Arvind Kejriwal came to power with a muffler. And he resigned with that muffler wrapped firmly around his head, its presence driving home the point that his government did not even last one season. The question is whether what Kejriwal leaves in his wake is a lot more than muffler jokes. The new broom was supposed to sweep clean. But in the end the abiding symbol of its 48 days became a muffler. Journalist Sankarshan Thakur told television last night that Kejriwalâ€™s unpredictability has created fascinating political drama because he keeps breaking the rules and keeping the big boys on edge. The BJP has seized on it touting Narendra Modiâ€™s â€œcredibilityâ€ as being what the nation needs as opposed to Kejriwalâ€™s â€œnautankiâ€. BJP sources tell The Telegraph they now think the middle-and-upper-class Punjabi and Bania votes that abandoned them during the Delhi Assembly elections will return to them in the Lok Sabha elections. Kejriwalâ€™s supporters are going blue in the face insisting that his 42-27 loss in the House proved the BJP and Congress were hand-in-glove. â€œJaise hi humne Mukesh Ambani par haath raakha Congress aur Bhajpa mil gaye (As soon as I laid my hand on Mukesh Ambani, the Congress and BJP came together)â€ Kejriwal told his cheering supporters. The Kejriwal government was never supposed to last long dependent as it was on a fickle, sullen Congressâ€™s â€˜unconditionalâ€™ support. But his manner of exit, an act of self-inflicted martyrdom rather than a withdrawal of support, has raised questions about whether Kejriwal was also looking for a way out, so that he could come back to fight another day. But is 48 days good enough for a politician's resume? Kejriwal clearly sees himself as part of a longer higher stakes political drama. Our politicians seem to have a keen sense of history. Narendra Modi thinks he is jousting against a shahzada and a durbar. Now Arvind Kejriwal pretends he is living under British rule marching off to see the Viceroy in order to tender his resignation. The question is what does that make Kejriwal? Now that aaj ka Gandhian Anna Hazare has announced he will campaign for Mamata Banerjee, perhaps Kejriwal wants to be the new Gandhi . If Gandhi led the Quit India movement, Kejriwal led his personal Quit Delhi movement. Except Gandhi was pushing the British to quit India. Kejriwal just quit himself. Scholar Mario da Penha commented on Twitter that rather than Quit India, if there was a Raj parallel it was more akin to the resignation of the Congress ministries in 1939 on the eve of World War II. They resigned in protest because they claimed they had not been consulted over the decision to enter that war on Great Britainâ€™s side. The Congress considered Viceroy Linlithgowâ€™s response to their grievances â€œwholly unsatisfactoryâ€ and calculated that it was better for them to resign in the hopes that by giving up power they would strengthen their case for Indiaâ€™s independence. That decision, like Kejriwalâ€™s quitting also caused some heartburn in the ranks. Even Gandhi was in two minds, afraid that the resignation would bolster Jinnahâ€™s Muslim League. Jinnah, pleased with the resignation, had called that day A Day of Deliverance for Indian Muslims. Ambedkar also joined in the Day of Deliverance celebrations and addressed a rally with Jinnah in Bhindi Bazaar, Bombay. The Justice Party called on Dravidians to celebrate that day â€œon a grand scale..to rid the country of the menace of the Congress.â€ Whether this resignation proves to a Day of Deliverance for the BJP or accelerates Kejriwalâ€™s journey to purna Swaraj (without needing Congress support) remains to be seen. But his speech-from-the-window, fired up with freedom-fighter imagery, albeit wrapped in a muffler, sounded as if he was about to ascend the gallows in Andaman Jail. â€œDesh ki liye jaan deni padi to jaan dene ke liye taiyaar hoon (If I have to sacrifice my life for the nation, I am ready to do so)â€ he declared to cheering followers. Kejriwal might nurse Mahatma Gandhi fantasies with his penchant for high drama symbolism, but he reminded some political observers of a different Gandhi. The Times of India comments that Kejriwalâ€™s attacks on Ambani were reminiscent of the 1970s when Indira Gandhi contested elections claiming her opponents were â€œagentsâ€ of industrial houses of the time. She was at that time trying to portray herself as the one who stood up for the aam aadmi. Now Kejriwal gets to play that role while claiming the Congress and the BJP are in Ambaniâ€™s pocket. TOI wonders if now Ambani will become an election issue. But these are not the seventies any more. Whether Ambani or any other industrialist as a bogeyman will grab the attention of ordinary citizens the way it did in the far more socialist 70s remains to be seen. What is likely to be more potent though is the image of abdication. That still has powerful currency in Indian politics. â€œIn India we have a long tradition of abdication in political life, dating back centuries, and in recent history,â€ Navnita Chadha Behera, political science professor at Delhi University told The Telegraph. â€œEach case of claimed abdication is different because of its context.â€ Sonia Gandhi played on that when she famously cited her â€œinner conscienceâ€ to not take up the prime ministership in 2004. Other moments of abdication backfired as when the CPM chose not to authorize Jyoti Basu to become the Prime Minister in 1996 thereby ensuring the party lost a historic opportunity to give India its first Communist prime minister. Kejriwal kept saying he was willing to â€œresign a hundred times for the Jan Lokpal billâ€ trying to portray himself as one uninterested in power. However now with the advantage of hindsight Soniaâ€™s decision to give up power seems to have actually helped her garner more power and yet be unaccountable. That's why Rahul Gandhi's protestations about power as a poisoned chalice won him little sympathy. His reluctance to assume charge is seen more as an abdication of responsibility than anything else. So it remains to be seen if Arvind Kejriwal is able to restore some of the halo to the idea of martyrdom. http://www.firstpost.com/politics/kejriwal-wants-to-be-gandhi-but-ends-up-being-indira-1391545.html ********************************************************* How fair is this appraisal?