Delhi’s presumably dynamic and all-powerful Deputy Chief Minister has won from his Patparganj seat, as results of the 8th February held Delhi Legislative Assembly elections are being counted right now. Manish Sisodia is seen as the Aam Aadmi Party’s go-to man, and his potential defeat which was looking almost certain a while ago from a constituency many claim he revolutionized, is indeed startling. By all means, Sisodia should have led in all rounds and won handsomely, which has certainly not happened.
While the BJP put up a decent fight and saw a rise in its vote share, Delhi is nevertheless witnessing an AAP sweep. While even mediocre candidates are winning constituencies in the national capital, for a stalwart like Sisodia to win after overcoming slender margins indeed raises many questions, primarily of internal sabotage by none other than his most trusted confidante – Arvind Kejriwal.
Manish Sisodia has been associated with Kejriwal since 1998, from the times of Kejriwal running an NGO called Parivartan. Eversince, the two have come to be known as best buddies and each other’s confidants. Even during the Anna campaign, which Kejriwal unethically capitalized upon to launch a political front, Sisodia stood firmly beside him. As a result, in 2015, he was gifted with the post of Deputy CM. Although that decision also hinged upon Kejriwal’s incapacity to get real work done, Sisodia, over time, has come to be known as the man who got all the work done in Delhi. From the ‘transformation’ of government schools to Mohalla clinics, all projects of the AAP government had Sisodia’s fingerprints over them.
For a supremo-based party, these are not good signs. Arvind Kejriwal is but only expected to get rid of a potential competitor right next to him, as he did with the vile Prashant Bhushan and the clueless Yogendra Yadav in 2015, who were seen as threats to Kejriwal’s authority. Sisodia’s slim win from Patparganj is indicative of a sabotage-gone-wrong.
Kejriwal has played Sisodia like a pro and killed the coup even before it could start. That’s obviously my theory but I almost always get them right 😉
— Atul Mishra (@TheAtulMishra) February 11, 2020
While Kejriwal was a “CM with no portfolio”, Sisodia did most of the heavy lifting. He handled several portfolios- Finance, Planning, Tourism, Land & Building, Women & Child, Art, Culture & Languages and most importantly, the Education Ministry.
Coming to the internal sabotage, since it was almost impossible for Sisodia to lose his own constituency, with which he began his ‘education revamp’ in Delhi, is it too much for us to ask of Kejriwal – have you tried to sabotage Sisodia’s campaign? Only recently, an Officer on Special Duty to Sisodia was arrested by the CBI for demanding bribes worth 2.26 lakh.
Also, the Enforcement Directorate revealed that senior AAP and Congress leaders were in talks with the PFI chief, the organisation which is funding the protests at Shaheen Bagh. In face of such developments, has Sisodia become a liability for Kejriwal? The OSD of his Dy. CM being arrested on charges of corruption, after all, dents the party’s carefully crafted image of being ‘clean’. Unless, of course, it was Kejriwal himself who tipped off the CBI on the same.
Manish Sisodia also came out in unequivocal support of the protests at Shaheen Bagh. Did he do so out of free will, or was he forced to take a pro-Islamist position so as to alienate his Hindu votebank in Patparganj? While Kejriwal was desperately attempting to woo Hindus, for Sisodia to take a pro-Shaheen Bagh position certainly raised many eyebrows.
It seems Sisodia’s defeat had been scripted by none other than Arvind Kejriwal, who is set to return as Chief Minister for the third consecutive time. However, his victory now would ring alarm bells in Kejriwal’s mind, as the possibility of Sisodia overthrowing him are all the more likely now. If Kejriwal did indeed try to sabotage Sisodia’s campaign, in all likelihood, he has now invited a powerful man’s wrath upon himself, and a coup by Sisodia is now all the more expected.