Sycophancy is a dominant culture in Indian politics. It is frequently observed how a senior leader uses his juniors or sycophants surrounding him to make controversial remarks and do what they themselves cannot do. While the top leaders play safe, their sycophants take self-harming moves. Often, they come up looking as fools before the electorate. Such politicians are usually weak and insignificant and have no option but to sacrifice themselves for their leaders. This time around, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has become a typical sycophant sacrificed for the political ambition of Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.
As per latest news reports, Arvind Kejriwal and Sisodia have exchanged their roles as far as AAP’s political strategy is concerned. While Kejriwal is maintaining a low-profile, Manish Sisodia is going to make the risky attacks at the Central government and Prime Minister Modi. In fact, this marked shift in policy has been quite visible over the last fortnight. While Kejriwal seems to have been sporting the image of a responsible leader who does not believe in exchanging political barbs, Sisodia is being increasingly made to make controversial remarks. Over the past one week, Kejriwal has maintained suspicious silence over the removal of Delhi government’s illegitimately appointed advisors. In usual circumstances, he would have traded all sorts of outrageous remarks and would have even claimed that Prime Minister Modi is frightened by his increasing popularity. He would have even made outrageous claims such as Delhi’s Lt. Governor is Modi’s agent. Kejriwal would have been derided for trying to portray himself as a threat to Prime Minister Modi. However, this time around it was Sisodia who was made to make such remarks inviting public backlash. Taking over the disgraceful job from Kejriwal, Sisodia called Lt. Governor a dictator and baselessly accused him of running a parallel government. He even wrote a three-page letter to Prime Minister Modi in connection with the removal of Delhi government’s advisors (who were rewarded for political flattery). Manish Sisodia even held a press conference on this issue. Usually, it was Kejriwal who used to organise press conferences at the drop of a hat in order to make emotionally charged statements and play the victim card.
Even the sources within the AAP have confirmed this marked shift in their policy. Chief Minister Kejriwal’s irresponsible comments were being increasingly seen as the reason for a string of embarrassing defeats. The party has lost Goa and Punjab elections with most of its candidates forfeiting their deposits. The party also suffered a massive setback during the MCD elections when it was swept away by the BJP. This meant a huge loss of face for the party in Delhi where it had achieved a humongous victory in the 2015 assembly polls. AAP got reduced to nothing even in Delhi. While Kejriwal wanted to play the maverick who takes on the Prime Minister Modi, he was increasingly seen as an incapable administrator who takes the excuse of statehood for administrative lapses and EVMs for electoral defeats. The public almost lost all faith in him after he decided to question everything and anything. Kejriwal became that politician who sees red in everything. He tried to project Indian Army as a liar during the surgical strikes, resorted to calling all public authorities ‘Modi agents’ and made highly uncivilized comments about Prime Minister Modi for virtually no reasons. Such unnecessary personal remarks about the Prime Minister were unheard of in India’s political history. Kejriwal soon appeared to be an urbane stand-in for Lalu Prasad Yadav, minus the wit. Therefore, Kejriwal tried to make a silent exit from the public discourse. He ran away fearing public backlash. For quite some time now, he is not coming out in the open making any condemnable, personal remarks against Prime Minister Modi. He has also silenced himself on twitter and other forms of social media. Blind AAP supporters and workers, however, started projecting Kejriwal as a matured leader (almost halfway into his tenure) who does not worry for political stand-offs and concentrates on his job. There has been an attempt to rebrand Kejriwal as a leader of the masses.
However, AAP has no impressive track record to support itself in the challenges coming ahead for it. Therefore, it is necessary for them that someone plays the victim card and resorts to rabble rousing. They don’t want to lose Kejriwal in the process and the mandate now fell on his loyalist Manish Sisodia. From now on, it will not be chief minister Kejriwal but his deputy Manish Sisodia who will make objectionable comments especially about Prime Minister Modi inviting the wrath of the public. For AAP, Kejriwal is too big a leader to become a subject matter of derision and therefore it is the unimportant and insignificant Sisodia who will be sacrificed for party’s survival.