His numbers game
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Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party has its work cut out, living up to 71 manifestos
In this year's Delhi assembly polls, it will be raining manifestos. Like objects under a doubling charm, they will multiply before the eyes of an amazed Delhi electorate, until there are 71 — one for each constituency and one more for the capital as a whole. Or at least, that is Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal's plan, announced this Sunday, after he delivered 10.5 lakh letters of complaint to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit's address. Sacks full of letters, scores of manifestos — Kejriwal's pet theme of decentralisation seems to have mutated into a spectacle of numbers.
Devolving power, ensuring that decision-making filters down to the grassroots, is a noble ambition and intent. Yet Kejriwal's version of decentralisation seems to result in a spectacular politics without a centre. Whether it is crowdsourcing opinions for his manifesto, inviting members of the public to apply for candidature in elections or burning electricity bills in protest, the AAP agenda bears uncanny resemblance to a roster of individual complaints. A fragmented agenda could explain why it must address each constituency separately.