Arvind Kejriwal: The Emerging Fourth Front?

He has announced a new political party, which promises to change the way politics happens in India. But are Indians ready for a systemic change and is Kejriwal the right man for the job?

By Udit Misra
Published: Oct 29, 2012
Image: Amit Verma

Arvind Kejriwal’s three-storied office in Kaushambi, Ghaziabad, has a queer resemblance to the numerous engineering entrance exam coaching centres one finds in tier 2 cities of India. The rooms are bustling with activity. Groups of two or three young volunteers huddle together, discussing fervently. Each door has a computer printout stuck on it: ‘Toilet’, ‘Please take off your shoes before entering’ and so on. And there’s the doormat, which says ‘Let’s stamp out corruption’.

Kejriwal’s closest aide, Manish Sisodia, sits in one of the rooms, talking to a middle-aged man with a walking stick. At the next table, an old man is explaining his electricity woes to one of the young volunteers of India Against Corruption, Kejriwal’s NGO. It is three in the afternoon and Sisodia missed his lunch. He is hurriedly eating water chestnuts out of a polythene bag and ignores the calls he gets on his BlackBerry and iPhone. The man talking to him has come from Dibrugarh in Assam and Sisodia is assessing how many people are willing to work for the new party that Kejriwal announced on October 2.  

The man tells him that he can get 10-12 people to work on weekends. “Just by working on weekends we cannot build this nation, sir!” says Sisodia. “Tell me how many people are willing to work every day making this [campaigning] their top priority?”

The man from Assam cannot think of anyone except himself and a retired professor. “But will he [the professor] be able to walk across villages to build cadres?” asks Sisodia.

That, in a nutshell, is the biggest hurdle IAC faces as it transitions from an NGO to a political party. As a social movement, it could sustain fasts and protests based in Delhi while the media, especially the 24-hour news channels, took its message to millions across the country. But the media is unlikely to extend that courtesy while IAC tries to build its cadres as a political party. For that, IAC requires hordes of committed people who have such belief in Kejriwal’s vision for India that they forego weeks and months of regular vocation.

And there’s the rub. Kejriwal’s vision for India, elaborately detailed in his book Swaraj, is a disastrous mix of idealism, naïveté and blindness bordering on the idiotic. It has received scant attention; the media has mostly followed Kejriwal’s valiant attempts to expose the rotten underbelly of India’s political establishment.

Kejriwal wants to change the way Indians govern themselves. He hopes to bring “truly participative” democracy where assemblies of voters called gram sabhas (rural) and mohalla sabhas (urban) will decide what is best for them instead of some Central planner sitting in Delhi. Sounds good until you get down to brass-tacks. For land acquisition, Kejriwal’s solution is to grant the final word to the gram sabha, which in his opinion “is best positioned to negotiate” with the big corporate houses. This will cut down corruption by bureaucrats and ministers. It doesn’t matter to him that most rural folks may not be sophisticated enough to know the “best deal”. Or that the company may bribe the influential leaders of the gram sabha, instead of the bureaucrats, to get a favourable verdict. “Let it be. If leaders fail them, then people will not trust them next time!” he says. But will there be a next time for poor farmers who have lost their land in a sub-optimal deal?

“We have met the enemy and he is us”

In 2009, a group of young professionals and students from India’s top institutions, decided they would fight for one seat in the Lok Sabha elections. Calling themselves Youth for Equality (YFE), they believed Indians needed and desired a different set of politicians—leaders who would not play politics based on caste, creed, etc.

They chose the New Delhi constituency. Instead of nominating candidates, they decided to let the people choose their own candidate. This involved an SMS campaign to invite a long list of credible names, followed by internal investigations and several rounds of interviews with the candidates. Finally, they held a public gathering at Delhi’s Rajiv Chowk where three former high court judges scrutinised the final three candidates in front of a crowd of 1,600. Judges gave points while the candidates debated with each other and answered queries from the public.

To fund the election, YFE members went around the constituency, collecting donations to fight the election. They collected Rs 1.2 crore and spent Rs 70,000 campaigning for the election.

Result: Their candidate, a woman with an Indian Army background, came fourth in the race.

President and founder of the YFE Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra, an orthopaedic surgeon in Delhi, says the whole team was shocked. “We realised that you simply can’t win an election in India because people themselves don’t want to change. They only vote on the basis of caste or the obscene amount of money that flows through from the bigger political parties,” says a demoralised Kaushal. He avoids using his surname, which points to an upper caste slab among Hindus.

Image: Getty Images

This is more than just a cautionary tale for ‘Team Arvind’ for two reasons. One, Kejriwal’s method of fighting elections is eerily similar to the YFE’s. Two, it also points to the true nature of the Indian voter.

Congress’ inept and scam-ridden rule has meant that a change of guard is imminent in Delhi. More importantly, it is now abundantly clear that India needs a better set of politicians. The fear is do Indians want it?

 “Ours is a very fractious society. Caste, region, religion… you know the irrational factors that ordinarily should not play part in nation building,” laments Jayaprakash Narayan who founded Lok Satta party in 2006 but holds just one seat in the Andhra Pradesh state Assembly.

“When you and I talk about India, we talk about an India which transcends all these. But the real India does not transcend all these. For any sensitive soul, it is a very painful thing to accept. You do not like to confront these things. But the moment you become a political force you have to confront these.”

Like Kaushal, Narayan too lauds Kejriwal’s effort but feels India is far from ready for the kind of politics Kejriwal hopes to initiate.

This is in stark contrast to Kejriwal’s expectation of a wave against corrupt politicians. He hopes to ride this wave and establish a new order where gram sabhas would take over the decision-making role of elected representatives like village headmen, and members of state (MLA) and national legislature (MP).

But how would that change anything? Would the people in each gram sabha not continue to split along caste and creed?

“It cannot happen,” he declares promptly. “It has been tried out at many places,” he says, referring to the experiences of villages like Ralegan Siddhi and Hivre Bazaar where decision making by gram sabhas led to a reversal of the area’s fortunes. But that is two out of the six lakh villages in India! It is hard to see such examples as anything more than exceptions in a country where almost half the people abstain from voting.  

“We want better people to enter politics but by itself we consider politics as a dirty field,” says Anil Bairwal, the national co-ordinator for Association of Democratic Reforms. It is no surprise that over the years, an increasing number of candidates with criminal antecedents have won elections.

In any case, just possessing a high moral character is not enough for people to elect you. As voters, we want to know whether a particular person will be able to win and if he would provide us a favour when we need it. Often the ‘winnable’ candidates are also some of the most corrupt ones.

Compare this to Kejriwal’s utopian belief: “If untied funds [i.e. not allocated to specific schemes] are made available to villages, people will sit in gram sabha meetings and take decisions regarding the poor amongst them, serve their needs, provide them with ration and ensure that nobody remains hungry, provide shelter for all and ensure that all children attend school.”

Political observers believe that such a political behaviour is a far cry without first carrying out social reforms like compulsory and free education as well as compulsory voting.

As things stand, Kejriwal faces two big challenges if he wants to win elections. One, he needs to find the people who would not consider voting for him a ‘waste’. Second, he needs to have enough leaders who have the unique combination of ability, stature and willingness to go the whole hog.

But problems for Kejriwal’s proposed party begin closer home. Does this new bunch of self-righteous social activists have the political sagacity and leadership to make Indians vote otherwise?

The long answer is more illuminating than the short one.

Kejriwal has to overcome his own ideological inconsistencies and the resulting internal dissensions before he can pose a serious threat to the established order.

The first area of concern is Kejriwal’s naïve understanding of corruption. He has maintained that all the ills that the country faces are due to corruption. That includes everything from inefficient and dubious sale of coal blocks and telecom spectrum to higher electricity bills. While corruption is an all-pervading phenomenon, yet, in most cases, it is more in the shape of a symptom than the cause.

“There is often a demand supply mismatch in the economy which leads to corruption. Tell me, why do we still bribe a train ticket collector and almost never bribe the bus conductor? There is much greater shortage in trains,” argues MR Madhavan of PRS Legislative Research. The answer is to get the country out of a shortage economy. Kejriwal’s solutions are not forward-looking and often simplistic. To avoid increasing LPG prices, for instance, he proposes Delhi should have forgone hosting the Commonwealth Games.

In fact, fellow activists like Anjali Bhardwaj of NCPRI (National Campaign for People’s Right to Information) wonder how Kejriwal believes that an almost draconian Jan Lokpal could alleviate corruption. Jan Lokpal is an ombudsman proposed by Kejriwal with sweeping powers to investigate and punish all the organs of the government, including the judiciary. “It betrays a lack of understanding of why corruption happens in the first place,” she says.

Similarly, Kejriwal’s idea of local people directly deciding on all issues may not be the best recipe for India. “Imagine what direct voting can do on an issue like the Babri Masjid,” says Madhavan. Democracy is not the rule by majority. It requires deliberations, which an indirect representation, like in India, provides for.  

Shockingly, Kejriwal admits that it is entirely possible that many villages will not be able to resolve their disputes and fail to improve. “At least then people will not be blaming the politicians. They will have to accept that they are useless and are responsible for their bad situation,” he says with a sudden nonchalance.

The ideological inconsistencies have become even more glaring as Kejriwal has donned the politician’s hat. A case in point is the provision for caste-based reservation in Kejriwal’s vision document. “This is very unlike Arvind but he will have to do some of this now that he is running a party,” says a team member.

Kejriwal has also betrayed an autocratic, inflexible streak in the manner in which he led negotiations with the government in the past. A crucial moment was when he rejected the final draft of the Lokpal Bill before the last winter session of Parliament. Many believe his vehement opposition allowed the political class to put down a good enough bill while demoralising IAC volunteers and confusing the public at large.

“When the CBI was independent, he tore the draft calling it a Jokepal because it did not have some other elements,” says Bhardwaj. Later, the Lok Sabha passed another version and he decried that it does not have CBI’s independence, which was the “soul” of the Jan Lokpal. “If it was the soul then he could have accepted the previous draft and allowed some amendments to tighten the legislation over time,” she says.

The RTI, which is possibly the most bitter pill for the government to swallow, has had over 150 amendments to make it a tougher law.

The episode also shows Kejriwal’s inability to build consensus—perhaps the most important attribute required to lead in modern day coalition politics. His record with his own team members is telling. The list of fellow Magsaysay Award winners who parted ways with Kejriwal includes Rajendra Singh, Sandeep Pandey, Medha Patkar and most recently Kiran Bedi. The most damning was his falling out with Anna Hazare on September 19.

Despite these drawbacks, Kejriwal has been the organisational force driving the anti-corruption movement. Anna Hazare still believes politics is dirty and yet hopes to support good candidates. But where they would come from is not clear. Both Baba Ramdev and Kiran Bedi have shown a sympathetic attitude towards the BJP, making the public wonder about their motivations. The father-son duo of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan is still being heckled in the media over the plots of land they received from the UP government.

The recent exposés (see box on page 39) have struck a chord with the masses, especially the youth. Like Sarasan, the 27-year-old engineering graduate from Kerala who has come to meet “Arvind Sir”. Sarasan works as a teacher in Agra and urges his students to follow Kejriwal—“today’s Bhagat Singh”.

This is essentially why Kejriwal is important. He has rekindled the desire among many, including the old, to participate in the political process. His focus on engaging the youth as well as urging women could be a game changer—at least for the larger political scene in the country, if not for a Kejriwal-led party. And Kejriwal is well aware of this.

“We would consider it our success if some of your agenda items gradually find their way into the manifestos of the larger political parties,” said Kejriwal during his speech while announcing his party. “Perhaps when they [larger political parties] see our candidates they will at least replace the most corrupt candidate with a less corrupt one!” he joked.

Election results, which by most accounts are unlikely to be in his favour, are not the way to evaluate Kejriwal’s efforts. The real merit lies in the agenda-setting role his party plays in future elections. By stoking the public’s interest on the right issues and providing a contrast to the existing political establishment, Kejriwal could yet prove to be hugely influential in Indian politics.

However, the biggest challenge is still ahead of Kejriwal.

“Unquestionably, a large number of Indians, at least ephemerally, seem to want a change. The challenge is how to convert this ephemeral desire into durable action,” sums up Narayan.


(This article is excerpted from the latest Forbes India 09 November, 2012 issue which is now available at news stands and book stores. You can buy our tablet version from

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  • Rahul

    Suggestion for right to recall process Voters will have the right to change his vote any day during the five year term of the MP or MLA. Suppose today i gave my vote to Congress and after few days i feel that i should change my vote then i should be allowed to change my vote any time to BJP or AAP or what ever i like Every day re-counting will be done and the day if any one gets more vote then the elected one will be the winner. But there is a big draw back in this process. By this MP or MLA will keep on changing even by one vote. So there should be a gap of suppose 10% more votes then the elected person to be changed. Take an example Suppose there is a Lok Sabha constituency with total population of 20 lac And among 20 lac people, around 15 lac people are above 18 years for voting Out of 15 Lac people, around 10 lac people actually came to vote. Suppose there are 3 candidates with the name A,B,C who wants to become MP Now suppose A got 5 lac votes B got 3 lac votes C got 2 lac votes So now people will keep on changing their votes from A to B or B to C or C to A etc. So to recall “A”, the first step will be that B or C should have more votes then “A” and with 10% extra vote, otherwise MP will be changed on even 1 vote which is not good. When people will keep on changing there votes then “A” votes might reduce from current 5 lac to 4 lac. So “A” will be changed only by the condition that B or C should have more than 4 lac votes plus 10% of total eligible voter of the constituency that is 10% of 15 lac, which comes to 1.5 lac votes. So the new candidates should have 4 lac 1.5 Lac = 5.5 Lac votes to replace “A” Now the vote distribution will be as follows B should have 5.5 lac votes A got 4 lac votes as few people have changed there votes. Right to re-election is not required if this process is used. Voting should be compulsory for every body so that their political knowledge increases and there should be fine of Rs 500 in rural area and Rs 1000 in Urban area if not voted. In Australia there is a fine if the citizen does not come to vote.

    on Jul 9, 2014
  • Prof. U.k.mallik;

    Emphasis be given on character-building,otherwise all effort be infructuous. India needs a man to be an exemplanary one, no talk would have cut any niche in the minds of the cheated indian people since independence. Please think over it.

    on Aug 2, 2013
  • Shibu Joseph

    Since then a lot of water is flown under the bridge. Come and check again please.

    on Mar 31, 2013
  • Raja

    About the comment on "Swaraj" - "naivete and blindness bordering on the idiotic". I have read the book and its refreshing and inspiring to say the least. Yes there are some points which cannot be implemented but the core idea is great. The problem with us Indians is that each one of the 120 crore people thinks that he is smarter than the others and everyone has an opinion. The problem gets compounded when a he decides to be a journalist. Ill informed, ill researched, and "paid" journos are causing more damage to this country than the rest. Its very easy to be a cynic and sit in the comforts of our offices/ living rooms and criticize others but extremely difficult to pursue a dream of a better India

    on Jan 28, 2013
    • Neelabh

      \"The problem with us Indians is that each one of the 120 crore people thinks that he is smarter than the others and everyone has an opinion. The problem gets compounded when a he decides to be a journalist. Ill informed, ill researched, and \"paid\" journos are causing more damage to this country than the rest.\" Great words! Exactly what\'s wrong with us! I also don\'t agree with the article saying that the people are not \"sophisticated enough\" to understand what\'s good for them. This is rubbish. These people (like the author) have a tendency to judge people, sitting on their couch infront of their laptops, without even caring to see them, meet them and understand them! People are not retards!

      on Mar 30, 2013
  • Kunal Kumar

    I know only educated people can change India. Now mostly politicians are corrupt and they will make you in trouble. I requesting not to loose confidence all of us are with you to change the India.

    on Jan 19, 2013
    • Amit

      indian people can only shout corrution corruption but no body is ready to be part of the change No body is honest, we have to find ways to control corrupt people, and i have find 100 ways to control corruption, but my problem is i am alone Amit

      on Jul 9, 2014
  • Rahul Deo

    Udit sahab every tree originates from seed. Reverse imagination if you want to do is not possible. These all seeds in the form of Kejaiwal or delhi efforts will be transformed into big tree. Take it as assurance. The algae in pond spreads faster but if you want lotus you have to make efforts. Algae must be thrown out. We need to focus on system not people. no one is born intelligent. Questioning about Political sagacity and leadership of Kejriwal Party, same is not existing now as well. Only corruption ability is found. One has to grab a thread in intermingled issues and that thread is corruption in case of Mr.Kejriwal. It is common sense. There is no magic that at once the intermingled threads shall be set free. Please control assumption oriented negative thoughts and be ready to face facts. There is no shortage economy. It is all about allocating resources in optimized way and not just generating more and more resources and allow for wastage to continue in the form of corruption. This is illiteracy of so called politicians. Smart measures need to be incorporated which can not be expected in current scenario of owls on each branch. My best wishes for bright India future.

    on Dec 27, 2012
  • Ajit Aranha

    My blessings and good wishes to you Mr Arvind Kejriwal. I hope and pray that your party is successful and you have and get all the support required to root out corruption in the country. God bless you

    on Dec 9, 2012
  • Surya

    I feel like emergency now. India is being divided and sold in pieces. Every citizen knows what happens to the country and to the people. Everywhere corruption to the core, including among political parties. Someone has to come and save India, I hope it Should be Arvindji. I am not linked to any political party or wing, being a common man, the current ongoing political corrution should be erodicated.

    on Dec 7, 2012
  • Atul

    YFE episode makes me wonder about the wisdom of mentioning it here ... is the defeat deterministic or change over-ambitious... or somebody thinks changing system to introduce long necessary amendments a game for the kids ... I have not gone through the book mentioned but I feel strongly that a time has come to stem the rot and anybody willing to make a start is welcome ... I believe success is not everything ... attempt is more important and which eventually may lead to success

    on Dec 4, 2012
  • Rajesh

    You are correct on the point that people don\'t want to change. If people were so very intelligent and unbiased in this country this situation would have never come in front of us. I thank YFE members for their efforts as it can be considered a true example which proves that such people are there who are making great efforts. Are not they from the very same society? In the crowd, there are good people as well who think of the nation as a whole and those are the people who cannot just sit and watch. What other solution do you propose or you see in the future? Divided people on the basis of language, religion, caste. There isn\'t any solution till you do not try. I do not say Kejriwal\'s party would win or a clean sweep but i see many positive results of the efforts. People become aware of what is going on in the country specially the youth. Those who want to do something for a better nation are motivated. Its difficult but it is not impossible. People of this country do what they see others are doing. When they will see some change in their surroundings some of them will definitely think deeply. That is where it would begin. You have to give your support, wait and see the results. Join the hands of AAP. Express your positive thoughts.

    on Dec 4, 2012
    • Udit Misra

      Dear Rajesh, thanks for appreciating the main thrust of the story in the right spirit. The story is not against AAP or Kejriwal. It is important to understand the truth about yourselves as a people or some of the ill conceived ideas of AAP. Our systems can work better if people get involved. Sure,there can be amendments, tweaks and even substantial changes in some places but abandoning the system is not the solution. The truth is that we,as a people, have failed the system. You might want to read But, as you rightly say, that can change and i wish we can do it and i hope Kejriwal\'s exhortations will help matters. Be in touch. Regards

      on Dec 4, 2012
  • Himanshu

    Aam Aadmi Parety isn't fourth front, it is the second front (or the only opposition party) since all politicial party play politics of silence. You don't bother me, I don't bother you but we come into power alternately. I have read many storyies of failures of new candidates in politics. Why don't we discuss new successes in politics. Anybody/everybody wants to contest and win but who wants to work for aam aadmi? Who wants to listen to their issues and try to resolve them? Who wants to look the current system in detail and try to fix it? Who has courage to expose corruption of the high and mighties and politics of silence?

    on Dec 3, 2012
  • Abhishek Mishra

    Kewal neta ban na chahata hai Doosari cong. party kaho iski party ko. Baat karta hai balidan ki aur hunger strike se bhaag gaya kayar. Ab kahta hai janlokpal se kuch nahin hone wala, to phir kyun andolan mein bhaag liya. Iski party me jo bhrasht log hai unka kya jaise shantibhusan... 9lac rupees kyu diye jabki pahle mana kar raha tha, mujhe koi tax nahi dena Yani ki ye bhi ghotale ki firaq me tha. bukhari ka dost hai jo vanday matram ka khulla virodh karta hai is liye ye desh bhakt nahin ho sakta ye

    on Nov 26, 2012
  • Rajneesh Pushker

    listen first of all not a single system is best but the proposed system is better then the present system about the power given to gram sabha i only say two thing first if rabri devi can run BIHAR properly then any person can run or decide policy for their village and it is better to do mistake by own rather frustrate over other mistake done by minister at this nothing is good in India. and second thing when verghese kurien said to nestle after 5 years our villagers take the post in neslte and top executive said to him making milk powder is very delicate work how can a naive do this and after sometime when nestle top executive visited India then kurien showed him how a naive can do this and that said sorry to him (from book I TOO HAD A DREAM ) and please don\'t over react , you can\'t who is going to win election 2014. and about the people of India they are not fool we don\'t have better option can you predict obama is going to win , no so let see . and remember building a organization takes 20 years he is young passionate , honest basically now he is a young student of politics. he can learn by doing in the real field and last due to arvind kejriwal something a lot of thing happen good so hats off to arvind kejriwal i don\'t in this particular article you are honest

    on Nov 24, 2012
  • Vasudeo Joshi

    I am intreted to join the arvind kejeriwal party.

    on Nov 23, 2012
  • Narayanan N G

    mr. Aravind kejrival is doing a good job. He has to involve youth from rural areas and his party should have village committees and large scale membership drive he has to organise then only he will have committed supporters. He has to include in his agenda to nationalise health, education, sector and mining sector. Socialism is the best suited policy for India and public sector has to be revived. All the best sir we are with you believing that you are really doing a good job like M K Gandhi in South Africa . Good joband begining KEEP IT UP GET GOING AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL THE BEST.

    on Nov 11, 2012
  • Danardan Swain

    THE END TO CORRUPTION: A NON-VIOLENT MEDIATION .............................................................................................................. AN INTRODUCTION ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Corruption in the world by now is a widely acknowledged occurrence and an insidious problem. People who are corrupted often fall as the victims of corruption. The miserable condition of the common people in the world is inexpressible. The corruptions discussed among and experienced by the people in the world by now challenge a peaceful living and sustainable development on earth. Some people set off different types of demonstrations against the corrupted persons and some people stick to struggle for eradication of corruption from the root; but, usually it creates a violent situation making both the parties aggressive against each other. This type of attempts to solve a problem comes out with a series of intensified problems. Is there anything wrong when people think of putting the end to corruption through a non-violent mediation? The Non-Violent Mediation, an approach that deletes corruption easily and works as an uninfringeable strategy to keep the world free from all types of corruptions. This truth is indisputable that the expectation of a person to achieve something that he does not deserve is the foundation to a tower of corruptions. A Non-Violent Mediation deeply observes this and consequently works out to put an end to all such corruptions. It is made possible by transformation of the person and fulfilment of his expectations. The Non-Violent Mediation is free from corruptions and prepared to attract people to accomplish their aspirations that they would highly look forward to in satisfying their needs. A person is never considered as corrupted while he deserves awards for his expectations; and only then, the person realizes that he should never attempt to achieve what he does not deserve socially, morally and legally. This is the beginning to end up corruption in the world for all the times to come. The question arises that how could a person unfailingly get rewards for his expectations being in touch with the Non-Violent Mediation. The answer to such questions is very simple. A person easily achieves his goals and earns rewards for his expectations after being a medium of fulfilment to the needs of as many people as possible, the people who are supposed to be served through him. The expectations of the person should never harm a healthy and pleasant living of others in the world. In such cases, Income- Development Multiplication for the person starts here definitely; the person gets his needs fulfilled and he does never wish for earning money illegally and immorally. With this we could realize that there is no requirement of any Cold Civil War and Hot Demonstrations against the people who support corruptions in a country. We could transform those people by the Power of Truth, which is unchallengeable at every time. This is the real weapon we have, and by this we could bring up a world free from corruptions. A person is never corrupted while he attempts to ensure his Income- Development Multiplication socially, morally and legally. The process of Income-Development Multiplication for a person begins with a revelation of his qualities and capabilities by him that proves the person unique as a service- provider in his targeted service area. As a service- provider he renders inimitable service to meet the requirements of his service- users. This service not only does increase the benefits of his service-users, but also ensures an unfailing flow of money to him until he is the service-provider. He lives very comfortably in a quite comfortable world. A question may arise that the person being greedy may attempt to collect more and more money through illegal and immoral ways; but, there is no requirement to earn something through corruptions. We find him as a person with no efforts for corruption within his thought-plan-speech and action, because, he unfailingly gets rewards for all his good expectations. The Non-Violent Mediation is an application to ensure Income- Development Multiplication of people, and consequently it is the strategy to eradicate corruption from everywhere. The world moves forward with sustainable development and the people in the world live a financially healthy and prosperous life forever. Hence, there is no necessity of using the violent means to bring an end to any type of corruption in the world. ** The way Arvind Kejriwal has pursued does not show any way to end corruption. Some people have started thinking for the solution, but the people have not started their plan yet who have the power to really solve the serious problem in India.

    on Nov 10, 2012
  • Tanveer Ahmed

    lets pray god to give more and more strength to arvind kejriwal, and also protect him fro evil netas

    on Nov 9, 2012
  • Gurpreet Singh

    we want only kejriwal one man army.we want indian political system become u.s.a .obama =kejriwal india president. we want corupt system is gone. kejriwal jindabaad. freedom comes with kejriwal

    on Nov 9, 2012
  • Vicky Gupta

    working very hard kejriwal one day his team members will win elections but now now but surely they will rule one day otherwise we r slaves of indian govt

    on Nov 9, 2012
  • Virender

    Keep it up Mr. Kejriwal. Congress knew all about black money, but its immune to any allegation, they think they are licensed to loot India. Days are few when India will lose its freedom due to these persons.

    on Nov 9, 2012
  • Pulingam

    decentralisation is good. it is like the customers choosing the leaders in a company. it makes sense. when the customers are not happy with the services, they recommend change of leadership. that is what this is all about. IT IS ABOUT YOUR RIGHT TO ASK SOMEBODY WHO IS LOOTING THE COUNTRY TO QUIT.

    on Nov 6, 2012
    • Udit Misra

      Dear Pulingam, we can do that even now. We can vote people out. I am not against any reforms in our system. Lets have a right to reject. I am also not saying that we should not have greater devolution of powers, both administrative and financial, to local governments. But I am not sure if the kind of autonomy that Kejriwal wants would help matters. Just taking the power from one bureaucrat and giving it to someone in a village will not necessarily solve the ills of our society. Frankly, if you read his book, even Kejriwal accepts that his suggestions may not work. I have mentioned that part in the story. It is not enough in my opinion to blame the system - sure the system could be tweaked - But the larger problem lies with us as a people. The real reform we require is in us. Regards.

      on Nov 7, 2012
      • Pulingam

        yes misra ji, it will be hard for kejriwal too to give workable suggestions. that is why people have to help. people who understand computer programming might want to visualise it as a kind of object oriented programming. that is you build classes of people with the private attribute functions being their powers to utilise public money for themselves. there are public functions and friend functions too. what you will have after you design will be a class hierarchy with private, protected and public functions all geared at optimising public money and power for the right use. the real life model used to tackle computer problems may have a chance to be put to use to solve country level issues too is my understanding. the central government will be more like an operations and maintenance agent outside this class hierarchy whose job will be to monitor the way public money is utlised, look at fiscal deficit and see how it can be managed etc. agencies like lokpal will be independent agents monitoring the objects of all these classes to see if there is corruption of any kind going on. the world is moving towards e-governance and designers of real life solutions using software may also have some real good contribution to make. Instead of wasting money on UID, it might be better to see how the indian political system can be re-organised to gain better results. corruption will reduce drastically when you have transparent de-centralised systems where the beneficiary has the right to evaluate and remove the servants. feedback systems in companies have been an effective way of removing redundant and ineffective people. a country is only a large entity compared to a company. the challenges could be similar.

        on Nov 8, 2012
  • Wveerender

    The journalist has given his take on AK and his book but if you are interested in anti-corruption, then make sure that you read the AK\'s book yourself - it is only a short book and is available for free here: - By Arvind Kejriwal - English.pdf The decentralised way of making decisions that AK suggests in his book is a good one in my view - definitely better than the existing decision making process anyways which only serves the purpose of our politicians and corrupt industrial houses becoming rich!

    on Nov 2, 2012
    • Raj

      In my opinion, decentralized way of making decisions introduce chaos into the system that we are not ready to handle. Remember the banking sector in US that came tumbling down due to this. Having a centralized way with strong Independent lokpal is the right way forward.

      on Nov 6, 2012
  • Vkmaheshwari

    you are doing good efforts against political corruption, but you need a large organisation of good national spirit people who can support you and your campaining all over India

    on Nov 2, 2012
  • Milan Kumar

    I appreciate Forbes professionalism in accepting critical comments to its articles. Good journalistic ethics.

    on Oct 30, 2012
  • Milan Kumar

    The tenor of this rather shallow article is continue to accept the corrupt status quo and deride all attempts to change.Who would know better than Arvind how difficult it is to change the system with the entire political set up against him. However he is yet daring to change it.If everyone subscribes to status quo views shall we not be condemned to to a rotting political system for eternity?

    on Oct 30, 2012
    • Udit Misra

      Dear Mr Kumar, thanks for appreciating our professionalism in accepting criticism. Let me also reiterate that the article does not say accept corruption. Rather, i believe, we are guilty of accepting corruption and letting it swell. Thats half the thrust of the story. I am not saying that Kejriwal and the larger team has not done a great service by raising awareness but that should not mean that we do not analyse his governance ideas impartially. Kindly read my responses to Rajeev, Kimi and Pulingam - all of whom have raised similar queries as yours. Hope to hear from you again. Regards

      on Nov 7, 2012
  • Pawan

    Respected Arvind sir, i m a student preparing for IES ,would like to say that the students like are much more intrested to join ur campaign but d responsibility on us are also much more kindly guide me n my frnds how we can also have our hands in BUILDING A CORRUPTION FREE INDIA.

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Maulik Shah

    he is the man who can change the way indian politics work as he truly says yes we are doing politics but for the people ........... he is truly my icon and Mr. rahul gandhi im india\'s youth............ ;-)

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Vinod Kumar H.dadheech

    Main to akela hi chala tha, janib-e-manzil magar, Log sath aate gaye,kafila Banta gaya... KRANTI begins always by single one, after that People r following him, like mahatma Gandhi , Ravindranath Tagore, Vinoba bhave, loknayak jayprakash narayan, Anna hazare And now Arvind kejriwal...go ahead ..we r the foolish Indian.. Hamhari BATTI jara Der se jalati hai.

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Kimi

    Udit - I read Swaraj over the weekend and felt it made ample sense. AK says that our democracy is dysfunctional as the electorate have no say once they cast their vote. He is proposing a more decentralised development of power. I tend to agree with him. Just think about it, picking his own examples, villagers living near the methane leaking ONGC plant were helpless, the Collector not doing anything as he is in charge of some 3000 villages, where would they go? Similarly a village in Bengal which gets 6 crores but cannot spend anything on what they actually want! Let me ask you, in the area where you live, do you know much money is allocated for various utilities? I bet not. Same with me. But I am sure we want to know and have a say in how it's spent. I also agree that the way laws are made by our lawmakers in completely uninclusive and I tended to agree with his suggestions on inclusive law making. I submit he has not touched upon major economic issues facing us, but as we witness scams every passing day, just curbing them might bring the deficit to order!

    on Oct 29, 2012
    • Udit Misra

      Dear Kimi, i agree we need more power to local govts. Kindly read my response to Pulingam above. But the reason why you and i dont know about our local budgets is not flawed system we have. It is because neither you nor i have taken the trouble to take part in the process. Just changing the system will not help. Sure reform it. But there will not be any system which is like a conveyor belt taking people to betterment without people\'s active involvement. Theoretically, the people can remove, by voting out, all the representatives responsible for the problems you mentioned. They can make the reps put pressure on the DM to respond. But none of this will happen unless people spare time and effort. Come election day we vote on caste, creed and monetary considerations - not on the basis of valid issues. Why do you think farmers rarely get the reforms they deserve? They suffer for 5 years as farmers and then vote as yadavs, jatavs, muslims and brahmins - that is the problem and that is the tragedy - not our \"system\". It is easy to blame a system because you dont have to annoy anyone! It is largely correct that we get the kind of politics and governance we deserve. Moreover, i disagree - and i am not alone in this - with the sweeping powers that Kejiwal wants for local govt. That could actually work against them in many perverse ways. Anyway, great to hear from you. Be in touch. Regards.

      on Nov 7, 2012
      • Kimi

        Dear Udit - thanks for your response. You do make me think, but on the point about sweeping powers to local Govt, I think that\'s better to have sweeping powers (other than what\'s in common national interest) at the local level for the local level - than to have centralized powers that never reach the locals.

        on Nov 7, 2012
  • Rajeev

    You seemed a little pessimistic in writing your article. Maybe the views set forward by you are your own, not of your Journal. You are trying to paint the picture that it is impossible for IAC to be counted as one among the leading political parties in the coming elections because XYZ tried similar approaches and failed. Udit Misra, times have changed and people are more aware of what's happening around them and will respond at the time when needed. Just wait and watch, please be around then..Also you have pointed out the flaws of Swaraj written by Arvind, let's understand if there is any flaws it is for us to sit and decide and iron out the flaws, Arvind never said my word is final and I rule here, in fact he has asked people to come out for discussion. If you have something better that what he offers you are welcome to offer him your suggestions. Did you after finding many flaws offer any suggestions? If you did, i appreciate you, if not don't just behave like any guy next door who come complaining about each and everything..

    on Oct 29, 2012
    • Udit Misra

      Dear Rajeev, Glad to hear from you. You are absolutely right: the main flaw does lie with us. I hope you noticed that i have elaborated on this aspect under the heading: "We have met our enemy and he is us." I have also written about it earlier: I agree all of us would have to work hard if we want to have a corruption free society.But as a journalist my job is also to hold the mirror to the society and not shy away from it if it is not a pretty picture. So i hope you'd understand i am doing my bit as a journalist. Often a journalist contributes by asking questions - which i assure i did to Mr Kejriwal. Part of that exercise is also to point out flaws in Kejriwal's larger vision. There are some concerns there which i have detailed in the story. Of course in an ideal world Kejriwal's prescription may work but then this is not an ideal world and there are serious doubts whether his ideas would help matters or make them worse. That is not to say that his intention is bad. But i am talking about his solutions. And Kejriwal has been quite unbending. Mere discussions are not enough to convince that you are open. As a leader you must know how to take people along; convince them or build consensus. He has stayed the course but that has weakened the larger movement since many well meaning associates have parted ways and that cannot be good for the larger goal of a better society. Finally, I hope you read the last part of my story to understand how important he is, in my estimation, for India. Be in touch.

      on Oct 29, 2012
      • Rajeev

        @Udit Misra: I read your article and here is my take on it . You are reiterating that Anna's apolitical movement has ended. This is not quite true. I agree that you wrote this article when team Anna announced the political alternative but since then Anna and some of his associates moved to a apolitical movement and people like Arvind moved to political. So now we have two ways to fight corruption. You also questioned why Anna or Arvind called off the strike. You very well remember that not just Anna or Arvind fasted but a host of other team members and common people participated on the fast, and it would have been disastrous if team Anna ordered people to continue fast till death. Assuming it happened, do you think common man however disgusted with corruption or politicians would be ready to give up his life without having an inkling of the fact that something is going to happen from the govt in tackling corruption? Also we should remember the fact that there are not many Anna's or Arvind's around who openly dares the govt or the system and has a large public support so if Anna or Arvind dies there aren't others with such credibility and support to rise and continue to bear the brunt of fighting against the corrupt system who even after such public outrage cares not even a bit about what people think about them? Remember we missed people such as Bhagat Singh, we missed Gandhi when we really wanted him, so do we really want to miss a bunch people fighting for corruption(who are representing aam aadmi) just because they had to fulfill his word? An Andolan is an evolving process and every day brings it's challenges and change in strategies, so when team Anna realized that crowds were getting thinner and hopes of aam aadmi on andolan faded, they asked for peoples opinion and went with a political alternative as suggested by the people of india? what is wrong here? You also criticized team Anna of taking on congress while turning a blind eye to BJP, but you know now what happened with Nitin Gadkari's case? Agree with you that one law will not get rid of corruption, neither has team Anna or IAC promised so, all they have been reiterating is that Lokpal will curb corruption as much as 60% which will be a great thing to get started in the fight against corruption. We need to start somewhere, lokpal is the first step in that. Look at developed countries such as US, the middle eastern countries and other European countries. Why is it that there is significantly much less corruption there? It is mainly because of the strong laws there. For eg : An Indian if he lives in these countries obey the rule of the law, where he won't dare to pay bribe to the officials of the motor vehicle department to get his driving license unethically which he can very well do in India. I agree moral values and personal integrity plays a part, but laws have to come first which will make aware people of their responsibilities. People in India are still sleeping and don't know the power of participatory democracy which have been used successfully in many countries across the world. There might be flaws in this system which needs to be ironed out, but then the question is which system is better than this?

        on Oct 29, 2012
  • Nc Sinha

    Changing the habits that are ingrained in us for ages would never be an easy task. Participating in movements gave a romantic feeling; but when it came to real work in the real world, it became plain to many of those who participated earlier how difficult the job was. Arvind has embarked on a near impossible journey because the support line will not be available for long. It is like disturbing the universe which no one likes to do. Let the world go on the way it is going. It is the problem of Eliot's J.Alfred Pruforck: do I dare descend the stair if one settling by the pillow says 'this is not what I meant at all, this is not it at all'. That is the dilemma here too. But perhaps, worth an attempt.

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Rakesh Bhargava

    Agreee and Impressed.... Particularly from a line... \"here poor is fearful..middle class is busy in earning the survival food and rich are happy with system..How this country will change..I see wives/ mothers do not allow many of us to raise our voice because today we are not in trouble..we can afford 30 rs kg vegetables..80 rs liter petrol..and 56 rs liter milk...fine we abuse them and get busy in work..Instead of thinking we have to come forward ..instead of abusing we have to change the system..we middle cast only can do this..remember there were 1000s of people of India who were happy with Britishers because they were is comfort is same scenario there is no guarantee if you are in comfort today. Read more:

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Mukta

    I trust Arvind Kejarwal and have full faith on his commitment to bring change.

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Sagar Kumar Nayak

    i salute to a kejirwal.we ready to servve

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Rajni Patel, California,usa

    What is stopping the Educated Indians from joining him and his Just fight in moving the Country Forward??? I urge all educated masses to join him and support his cause, a fight to Expose the corrupt Politicians and depose them. Jai Hind to his cause, and Anna Hazareji\'s cause.

    on Oct 29, 2012
    • Prasanna

      Rajni Sir please you come from US and join the fight, don\'t give advice sitting in US and earning Dollars.

      on Oct 29, 2012
      • Kunal Kumar

        Hi Prasanna, this is not the right way to say. If you will have knowledge then you will undersatnd that ultimatily and indirectly he is helping India. If he is worrying about India this itself is a great work and thought.

        on Jan 19, 2013
  • Kk Singh

    After being named as banana nation, ants, B team of BJP etc, this was a refreshing article to read. Yes, after 1974 movement, people of India are hopeful for a change again, for which they are desperate. Today in our country we have more than 1 crore girls who are forced choose prostitution, 10 crore children to work in fields, factories, houses and youths pass time in criminal or petty criminal activities as there is no other alternate. Living like human is extremely difficult. On the other hand we have F1, parties where govt spents Rs 7000 per person per meal and 60-65% of its economy running in black. Open corruption, helping them, and shameless lies has become norm. People\'s view is only on media or partially in street that too is distorted.So at this junture Kejriwal as leader of destitutes and proud Indians is great choice.

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Sumit

    It is quite difficult to set the decisions on 50000 individual representing gram sabha or mohalla group..instead of this first IAC should find out candidates who can come forward to this country few are emotional..few are communal and few are greedy..In my family also as one of my uncle is BJP candidate so our 150 members of family are blindly voting for BJP though they do not know any thing else about BJP and same happens every where..the time has come to change this thought..Time has come to decide independently..we should not be inferred by family member or Relatives or any cast people..the major problem of this country is cast..i wish we all could have been from a same caste or no poor is fearful..middle class is busy in earning the survival food and rich are happy with system..How this country will change..I see wives/ mothers do not allow many of us to raise our voice because today we are not in trouble..we can afford 30 rs kg vegetables..80 rs liter petrol..and 56 rs liter milk...fine we abuse them and get busy in work..Instead of thinking we have to come forward ..instead of abusing we have to change the system..we middle cast only can do this..remember there were 1000s of people of India who were happy with Britishers because they were is comfort is same scenario there is no guarantee if you are in comfort today..u will be tomorrow also..

    on Oct 29, 2012
    • Krunal

      Agreee and Impressed.... Particularly from a line... \"here poor is fearful..middle class is busy in earning the survival food and rich are happy with system..How this country will change..I see wives/ mothers do not allow many of us to raise our voice because today we are not in trouble..we can afford 30 rs kg vegetables..80 rs liter petrol..and 56 rs liter milk...fine we abuse them and get busy in work..Instead of thinking we have to come forward ..instead of abusing we have to change the system..we middle cast only can do this..remember there were 1000s of people of India who were happy with Britishers because they were is comfort is same scenario there is no guarantee if you are in comfort today..u will be tomorrow also..\"

      on Oct 29, 2012
  • Sandeep

    Great Sir, Light in Dark Some where

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Vk

    India will undergo a phase of change, and please be positive about it !!!! Arvind is a ray of hope, when India is covered with dust of scams, scandals !!!!

    on Oct 29, 2012
  • Mathihalli G Rao

    Good attempts to bring India and its citizens clean from Corruption. Most difficult task, is handled by this IAC team. 1. Any amount of bringingout past politcal leadrs corruptio, may not change voters. 2. Suggested to have two wings in the IAC. One wing to bringout of past facts. The other wing to eradicate corruption from the Govt departments etc on day to day basis, so that corruption is weededout every day for future generation....

    on Oct 29, 2012
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