New Delhi: Being a political neophyte, Arvind Kejriwal may not have realized the true significant of his successful rally in Farrukhabad. Taking on Salman Khursheed in his constituency must be seen as the smallest part of Kejriwal’s victory, although he visualizes it entirely on those terms. Farrukhabad is in the heart of Uttar Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats. Anyone who makes a political dent in Uttar Pradesh has opened a large enough door to national politics. By making a mark in Farrukhabad, Arvind Kejriwal has done just that, and he doesn’t even know. Arvind Kejriwal’s India Against Corruption told the large crowd of the old and young, men and women, who had come from far and near to hear the anti-corruption crusader, that it was not an election rally. Kejriwal will know better, and soon. Politicians from Sonia Gandhi down would envy him for his striking success on his first foray. Whether or not he understands it, Arvind Kejriwal is already politically launched.

Uttar Pradesh’s ability to make or mar governments at the Centre ended with Congress and then BJP’s decline in the state. The two big challengers to Congress rule in the 1970s and ‘80s, Raj Narain and V.P.Singh, came from Uttar Pradesh, which was in turn a reflection of the Nehru-Gandhis’ bias for the state, and of wanting to be elected forever from there. The importance of Rae Bareli, Amethi and Sultanpur is, therefore, historical and all-pervasive. If they were to lose these constituencies, particularly Amethi and Rae Bareli, their sense of Indian political geography would be seriously destabilized. Which explains the larger Congress angst of losing Uttar Pradesh to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in the recent assembly elections and Rahul Gandhi’s political destruction at the hands of Akhilesh Yadav’s well-conceived and well-managed campaign. And this throws further light on Mulayam’s rare personal rumination of becoming prime minister on the hope of the Samajwadi Party getting 60 or more of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Not to forget A.B.Vajpayee’s anxiety in the run-up to the 2004 election that BJP was not strong enough on the ground in Uttar Pradesh to make a convincing comeback. It is another matter that BJP lost the election, remains moribund in Uttar Pradesh, whilst Congress is in worse shape in the state, with no clue how to battle the Mulayam Yadav dynasty, hampered by its support to the corrupt and dysfunctional Congress-led government at the Centre.

Except that trouble for the Yadav family has come in the unexpected shape and form of India Against Corruption’s Arvind Kejriwal. As predicted by this writer within days of the swearing-in of the Akhilesh Yadav government in Lucknow, this young man, like all the young dynasts in powerful positions today, is in no hurry to do anything. Especially in power politics, the proof is in the pudding. After a time, the electorate will not be interested or sympathetic that Akhilesh Yadav is hemmed in by his father and uncles and their dodgy associates. Till now, the electorate was stuck with the Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party, BJP and Congress. None of them did -- or have done -- any good in Uttar Pradesh. Now, the electorate has a fifth option in Arvind Kejriwal’s unnamed party.

Certainly, one swallow does not make a summer. One successful outing in Uttar Pradesh does not mean Kejriwal has set the Ganges on fire. Uttar Pradesh is far, far bigger than Farrukhabad. And to boot, Kejriwal’s party does not even have a name, which seems idiotically delayed for no reason. But all the same, Kejriwal has struck a chord. He comes along without the usual baggage of politicians. He is not corrupt (although he needs to clarify on his foreign funding), nor a dynast (what a relief), has exposed the unholy alliance of political parties on the issue of corruption, is immune to threats, and is absolutely single-minded in his aim to bring down the rotten and venal establishment edifice. He is the new piper in the political mainstreet, and without quite planning it, he has opened to a full house in a strategic part of Uttar Pradesh.

Arvind Kejriwal has arrived!