New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today made a veiled attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s street protests saying the government is not a “charity shop” and “populist anarchy” cannot be a substitute for governance.
Without taking the name of the Aam Aadmi Party leader, who earlier this week staged a two-day dharna outside Rail Bhawan against the Central government, he was critical of Mr Kejriwal’s style when he said “elections do not give any person the license to flirt with illusions”.
Addressing the nation on the eve of the 65th Republic Day, the President said corruption is a cancer that eroded the democracy and weakened the foundation of the state.
If Indians were enraged, he said, it was because they were witnessing corruption and waste of national resources. If governments do not remove these flaws, voters will remove governments.
“Equally dangerous is the rise of hypocrisy in public life. Elections do not give any person the license to flirt with illusions. Those who seek the trust of voters must promise only what is possible.
“Government is not a charity shop. Populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance. False promises lead to disillusionment, which gives birth to rage, and that rage has one legitimate target: those in power,” he said.
Mr Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues had staged a dharna outside Rail Bhavan defying prohibitory orders demanding action against some policemen. They ended it after two policemen were sent on leave.
The President said the rage will abate only when governments deliver what they were elected to deliver: social and economic progress, not at a snail’s pace but with the speed of a racehorse.
Aspirational young Indians, he said, will not forgive the betrayal of their future. Those in office must eliminate the trust deficit between them and the people. Those in politics should understand that every election comes with a warning sign: perform or perish.
Speaking to NDTV after the address, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav claimed that the President’s address to the nation is being misinterpreted and he must be talking about entire country.
“Saying that President’s address targets AAP is an attempt to insult the dignity of President’s office. I am sure he had bigger issues in mind,” Mr Yadav said.