Activists in politics: The Kejriwal model of political entry.
Dr. Anand Rai needs no introduction. He is a well known whistleblower. When people were feeling helpless & frustrated with corruption in 2014, braveheart whistleblowers led the fight and the public sentiment ensured a regime change. UPA Govt was uprooted in LS 2014 polls!
BJP led NDA was the most sought after alternative. Inside BJP there were two big names; CM of Gujarat Mr. Narendra Modi & CM of MP Mr. Shivraj Singh. Meanwhile Arvind Kejriwal came as a ray of hope in the fight against corruption. Riding on the sentiment against corruption and the faith in whistleblowers in general, Mr Kejriwal became the CM of Delhi with a sweeping 67 seats victory out of 70. As it turned out, Mr. Kejriwal’s fight against corruption was just a stepping-stone for his political ambitions. The moment he formed his political party all his guns started pointing towards Modi instead of epitome of corruption, UPA. However people had become politically more aware. They had got a sense of his political ambitions and rejected him in LS 2014.
When Kejriwal was busy targeting Modi in his fight of corruption, Shivraj Singh Chauhan was lucky, he was safe from such attacks. Or was he? Not really. There was another anti-corruption crusader Dr. Anand Rai, who is known as the whistleblower of VYAPAM scam. He was repeatedly coming up with new facts, new revelations everyday. We wonder if is he another Kejriwal in the making? Another person using his fight against corruption for political ambitions? We hope not.
Dr. Anand Rai is a doctor by profession. According to an NDTV article [Link here] he has been active in student politics, he has been chairman of Junior Doctor’s Union, MP. For a brief period of time he has been Chairman of BJP Medical Cell, Indore District. He has been associated with RSS & BJP from 2005 to 2013. In 2009 he exposed VYAPAM scam. And according to him when BJP didn’t co-operate him, he left the party. Any honest citizen would have. Despite knowing his life was under serious threat he continued his fight against corruption. Once some BJP leader called him an agent of Congress and he was shocked to the core and adamant for an apology.
There are indications which, if true, make us think deeper. In recent times a new hero was born; Kanhaiya Kumar. The president of JNU students union. The same Kanhaiya Kumar who wanted Azaadi (freedom); though not sure if azadi from India or azadi from poverty & corruption or azadi from Modi Govt.
Twitter is full of active & aware people. We acquired a DM transcript (Complete transcript in Annexure I, at the bottom of this article) from one such person Mayank Singh [@m83singh] who had created a parody account of Kanhaiya under the name @kanhaiyajnususu. Kanhaiya Kumar has recently joined Twitter as @kanhaiyajnusu. That account’s bio clearly says that it is a parody account of Kanhaiya Kumar. But unfortunately Dr. Anand Rai mistook him for the real Kanhaiya and allegedly started a cozy conversation with this parody account, which is being reproduced with Mayank’s consent.
Dr. Anand Rai & his aid Prashant Pandey wanted to meet this new hero Kanhaiya & they apparently chose Twitter as the medium to connect.
This all was going on right after Dr. Anand Rai & Prashant Pandey were having a meeting with Arvind Kejriwal, as he confirmed by his tweet too:
— Dr. Anand Rai (@anandrai177) May 15, 2016
There is nothing wrong in an activist meeting a CM, specially a CM who he claims is an anti-corruption crusader and the media also projects him thus. If the DM transcript is to be believed, he also met UPA chairperson Sonia in a private meeting, apparently he even “skipped his security to conceal the information about their meeting”, and this is what doesn’t seem right. A whistleblower, who knows very well that his life is under threat and constantly educates people about it, skips security for a meeting with a legitimate political leader (who incidentally is also seen by many as the fountainhead of corruption) putting his life under threat, then it raises questions.
We r alive becz destiny is with us..unless whistleblowers killed here every week
— Dr. Anand Rai (@anandrai177) May 15, 2016
Here in his conversation with that parody account he says that he skips the security, provided to him by the Govt:
Dr. Anand Rai also says “We are not close to Rahul/Congress and Mr Kejriwal, just met them casually.” Putting your life under threat just for a casual meeting?
During the course of this alleged conversation he says “I have met Sonia & Rahul, but they don’t have the spark like you.”
Later on he expresses suspicion that their conversations are being monitored and they are being snooped. One may think that that is the reason they ‘skip’ armed PSO, but the existence of such fear it is hard to digest given that he is using twitter DM as a medium of private conversation.
The story does not intend to judge Dr Rai based on tell-tale. However, we identify a possible trend and a striking similarity of this evolving story with Arvind Kejriwal’s. Both of them may be following the same political path. This may be generally accepted as a promising model for political entry in the activist circles. We take the liberty to call it Kejriwal model and try to explore it:
Kejriwal projects himself as an anti-corruption crusader, fields Anna on the front -> Orchestrates a movement against corruption, becomes a Media superstar -> Has a successful entry in politics -> Abandons Anna -> Joins hands with Congress and starts attacking BJP -> Remains a Media Superstar
So far this model has worked well for him.
In his early days Dr. Rai was with BJP, he was never averse to politics, which is good. Within 6 years there was an ideological shift of 180 degrees and he approached Kejriwal’s AAP. He may have seen potential there or may have his own good reasons but apparently Kejriwal hasn’t provided the leverage to this celebrated whistleblower yet. Now there’s a possible new formulation, the Kejriwal model!
Armed with the identity of an activist, one needs to create a spectacle, quite logically, a protest! This spectacle feeds off and feeds the media, and this is what interests us. Mr Kejriwal orchestrated a spectacle called India Against Corruption which rode on Anna’s shoulders and used all forms of media. It created strong sentiments, it caused the ouster of UPA and it also created a new phenomenon called Arvind Kejriwal, who now works exclusively through and on media management.
The liberal world sees a revolutionary in Kanhaiya Kumar, an aspiring activist-politician may likely see a new usable Anna. Meanwhile Congress is still capable of providing ideological support and maintains a strong and extensive ecosystem. To avail these facilities and have access to the ecosystem, attacking BJP is a necessity. Dr Rai, for instance, was limited to MP but now we can see him attacking union Govt too, that too based on questionable claims. If the available DM transcript is any admission, he can also be seen reaching out to Congress. An anti-corruption crusader with the Congress!
If supposed trends are to hold, close to the impending MP elections we might see increased media focus on Vyapam, old revelations repackaged as new exposes, protest movements possibly involving the eminent revolutionary Kanhaiyya timed with the old-new “exposes” and formation of a political party comprising activists, bearing the burden of honesty and promising incarceration to all the corrupt. The possible intended outcome could be ‘the ouster of Shivraj Chauhan led BJP’.
Also exploring Mr Prashant Pandey, who has been a close aid to Dr. Anand both of whom claim to have publicly declared aspirations of forming their own political party. Mr Pandey has denied strongly any party affiliation in the past:
According to a report published in TOI [link here] Prashant Pandey has been charged with sections violating IT Act and conduct of forgery. Police claimed he was arrested for selling call detail records (CDRs) of individuals for big money.
People of India, including us, have a lot of hopes from brave fighters like Dr. Rai and Mr. Prashant. We pray for more power to them. But the indications in this DM transcript, if true, paint a gloomy picture. Are we going to see another Kejriwal? Is one more person going to use this fight against corruption as his launching pad?
[Special thanks to Mr. Mayank Singh [@m83singh] for providing us the chat details.]
Disclaimer: This DM transcript was provided to us by Mr. Mayank Singh [@m83singh] who also runs the parody handle @kanhaiyajnususu and is being used with his consent. The transcript has not been independently verified and MediaHitJobs does not certify the authenticity of this conversation.