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4 Changes In Leadership Style That Could Save Kejriwal From Being A Two-Hit Wonder

13/01/2016 8:28 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Delhi state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and leader of Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party attends a public meeting to mark the party’s 100 days government in the capital, in New Delhi, India, Monday, May 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

In 2013, the fledgling Aam Admi Party, under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, burst into the political firmament by becoming the second largest party, after the BJP, in the Delhi legislative elections. And with the unconditional support of the Indian National Congress, which managed to win only eight seats, AAP had the numbers to form a government. However, when his benefactor did not support his Jan Lok Pal bill, Arvind Kejriwal resigned after a 49 days in office, pushing the Delhi government in a state of political limbo.

But it seemed all was forgiven in 2014, when despite the country riding on the crest of the Modi wave, AAP won 67 out of the 70 seats in Delhi. So, why did the people of the capital vote AAP back? There were two major factors: first, they were fed up with both the Congress and BJP, and second, in Kejriwal they found a messiah who would address the problems being faced by the middle class in Delhi.

Kejriwal is still out of his depth as Chief Minister, and is yet to switch from the activist mould to that of an able administrator.

However, Kejriwal, a crusader who was instrumental in giving a fillip to Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, is still out of his depth as Chief Minister, and is yet to switch from the activist mould to that of an able administrator. Moreover, unlike his predecessor Sheila Dikshit, he lacks the administrative skills to deliver results. As if this is not enough, he made a fatal mistake by surrounding himself with cronies. Had dissenters like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, remained in the party, they would have guided him in his new avatar as Delhi's Chief Minister.

There is no denying that Kejriwal is a man of good intentions who wants to make a genuine effort to provide good and transparent governance. The average person, not only in Delhi, but throughout the country, genuinely wants him to succeed, as they feel that he has the potential to change the face of Indian politics.

So, how can Kejriwal meet expectations? For starters, he could change his leadership style in the ways outlined below.

1. Avoid a confrontational approach

Astute politicians like Nehru, Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee had the ability to reach out to their opposition for support. They did not allow their ego to get in their way. Kejriwal has this uncanny ability to make even his friends his enemies. Instead of cultivating people who have been reluctant to offer support to him or his party, he ensures with his flippant comments that the relationship with his detractors worsens.

By calling the Prime Minister names he has shown an astonishing lack of maturity.

By calling the Prime Minister names, for example, he has shown an astonishing lack of maturity. He has managed to shut the door for all future cooperation from the central government. Even in the case of the Finance Minister, castigating him over the DDCA mess was not a prudent idea, especially when Jaitley is known to be one of the most honest and powerful ministers at the Centre. Although it is quite likely that Jaitley may have been immune to the goings on in DDCA under his watch, accusing him of any wrongdoing will only sully the image of Kejriwal.

2. Take people along with you

Kejriwal behaves more like a street fighter than an accomplished politician. We have seen that he goes all out against his critics, antagonising them even further. His confrontation with the Delhi police commissioner is a case in point. He has ensured that little support will be extended to him for improving the law and order situation in Delhi. He also showed a similar lack of restraint while dealing with the Lt. Governor. He should refrain from taking pot shots at people holding responsible positions. In a democratic framework, one needs to enlist the support of everyone for effective governance. Time and again Kejriwal has shown that he lacks patience. He also lacks the finesse and polish of Sheila Dikshit, who was elected thrice as the chief minister.

Kejriwal behaves more like a street fighter than an accomplished politician.

3. Surround yourself with people who can offer unbiased advice

Kejriwal is in urgent need to listen to the counsel of critics, who can caution him every time he makes a mistake. Strangely, Kejriwal has deliberately chosen to listen only to his sycophants. His political immaturity showed again when he hugged Lalu Yadav after the Bihar verdict. People started questioning his sincerity since he seemed to have no qualms about cultivating relations with tainted politicians just because of their antipathy towards Modi?

4. Focus on improving governance in Delhi rather than frittering away energies on unrelated issues

Kejriwal should focus on improving governance in Delhi, especially the law and order situation, women's safety, improving public services. If he succeeds in his efforts, the people of the country will piggyback him to the national scene.

Kejriwal is in urgent need to listen to the counsel of critics... Strangely, he has chosen to listen only to his sycophants.

We, the citizens of India, dread seeing Kejriwal ending up as a failure. It is people like him who can bring a radical change in the way our democracy is currently functioning. India is looking for honest, idealistic leaders like him to take the country to great heights. Kejriwal has always had a vision we could believe in, but now he needs to act and act fast to become the kind of leader who can transform that vision into a reality.

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