He was one of the first to feel ecstatic after the Mahagathbandhan annihilated the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo in the prestigious Battle for Bihar in 2015. He even embraced RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in Patna to show solidarity with the anti-Modi forces, although did his own image of an anti-corruption crusader an irreparable damage.
But nowadays, we hardly get to hear the man, who is never short of opinions. Where is Arvind Kejriwal, the leader who perhaps made the most dramatic rise in the annals of India's political history? Even after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar quit the RJD's company and returned to the BJP's fold, shattering the Mahagathbandhan, Kejriwal was seen just retweeting a tweet which was indirectly aimed at the drama which unfolded in Patna on July 26.
Kejriwal's latest tweet at the time of writing this article was the above. Quite an innocuous one by his standard, isn't it?
The Delhi CM's second transformation
Kejriwal, who was quite active on Twitter even a few months ago, is seen more retweeting others' tweets that reflect his own thoughts. This, one would say, is a second transformation in the man's behaviour in his short political career so far. The first transformation had taken place after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) bagged a massive win in the 2015 Assembly elections in Delhi. Kejriwal had then focused on not turning the office of the chief minister into a stage for drama, as he had done during his 49-day stint as the CM in early 2014.
Kejriwal's latest transformation has perhaps been facilitated by his party's disappointing performance in the Assembly elections in Punjab and Goa as well as the civic elections in Delhi earlier this year. The resulting tiff in the party and the rebellion caused by repeated losses put Kejriwal's authority in jeopardy and the former IITians current behaviour says he is yet to overcome the obstacles to reclaim his past authority. Even when it comes to his pet subject of attacking the electronic voting machines for their alleged vulnerability, Kejriwal is seein mostly retweeting like-minded people's posts and not writing anything of his own.
Kejriwal's radius has only shrunk because of his wrong ploys
The problem with Kejriwal is that he is too limited and localised a force and always lacked a strong political agenda. The ideological foundation of anti-corruption has been eroded by repeated charges and allegations against people of the very AAP. Strategically, Kejriwal's sole focus on attacking PM Narendra Modi to prove his point has also not paid off in the long run since the latter has managed to keep the anti-incumbency mood under check so far.
And with the collapse of the Mahagathbandhan, which many were seeing as a symbol of anti-Modi resistance, the appeal of the regional satraps like Kejriwal are bound to perish more. If a powerful regional leader like Nitish Kumar eventually surrenders before the Modi phenomenon, there is very little possibility of a Kejriwal succeeding to carry on with a momentum.
Like Nitish's return to the BJP, Kejriwal's resort to restraint also proves the ineffectiveness of the Opposition which was hoping against hope to bring in a change in 2019. Indian politics is always competitive but at the moment, there is no contest. It resembles the 1970s although there is no Emergency.