One would not think of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron in the same breath. But if you examine the two closely, they have a lot more in common than chalk and cheese.
And while Macron may be well on his way to becoming the next French president, there are a few lessons he can definitely learn from the Kejriwal, and hope that he doesn’t repeat them if elected to office.
Arvind Kejriwal and Emmanuel Macron have both been newcomers to politics who have made a big splash. While Kejriwal seems to be drowning, Macron can still stay afloat.
Both of them entered politics by floating their own parties just a year before they were about to get elected to office.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was formally introduced on 29 November 2012 and in December 2013, Kejriwal became the Delhi Chief Minister for the first time. Macron’s party ‘En Marche!’ began on 6 April 2016 and now, just a year later, he is touted to be the next president of France.
Kejriwal became the youngest chief minister of Delhi and Macron could be the youngest president of France. Kejriwal and Macron are both left of centre and have faced public wrath by getting ink and flour thrown at their faces respectively, but definitely un-respectfully. Kejriwal has been unfortunate enough to also have shoes and slaps hurled at him.
Don’t Be More Hated Than Mosquitoes
France uses ballot papers to vote or as Kejriwal would call it – EVMs-not-rigged-by-Modi ji.
Macron would like to believe that if he is elected on 7 May, “liberté, égalité, fraternité”, will once again prevail in France. But if he does somehow go against the pundits, then he cannot or rather, should not, accuse the system of being rigged.
Taking a page out of Kejriwal’s book, Macron should learn that whining about frauds in the election process will only make people have more contempt for him than they have for mosquitoes. Or rather, more contempt than the French have for English-speakers.
Don’t Be a Sore Loser
Kerjiwal came to office with the vow to get the Lokpal Bill passed and when that didn’t happen, he quit office after 49 days. The French public will not be as forgiving as Delhiites, even though their idea of violence is throwing flour at their leaders.
Macron would be wise to focus on the wide gamut of problems plaguing his people, like the mass unemployment or the slowly recovering economy or why does all your cheese stink?
Don’t Indulge in Public Displays of Hysterics
Obviously the Chief Minister of a country’s capital and the president of a country are on different footings but what they can learn from one another, being relatively new to power, is to not get carried away with the Seine river of emotions.
Kejriwal is no stranger to the verbal diarrhea that can seize a person when they are passionate about something. But, constantly making accusations and allegations at other politicians in a public forum will only fuel public rage, who will definitely think:
Did I elect this guy to public office for this?
Macron, don’t be that guy, who the public regrets voting to power because he seemed to be a much-needed change from the old school politicians, only to be as bad, if not worse than them.
History knows that mistakes are repeated and the French know that better than anyone else, by having more than one monarch named Napoleon!
But hopefully, the next French president will take take a page out of the book of the Chief Minister of a distant land, and become a changemaker. Not the person that people can’t wait to change.