x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The common path

Those who enter public life on public transport rarely seem to depart by the same means.

Few displays of normality please politicians more than taking public transport. It is how they signal that they are fighting waste and standing up for the little guy.

So it should be no surprise that Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the astonishingly successful Aam Admi (Common Man) party, should have turned up to his inauguration as New Delhi’s chief minister in the way most common men would have: by subway.

He joins a long, if not exactly noble, tradition. New York’s billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg made a big thing of taking the subway to work – until journalists revealed he was driven from his house by two SUVs to a subway stop closer to his office.

Similar opprobrium greeted Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, when it was pointed out that while he would ride a bicycle to work, his car would follow behind with his papers.

Mr Kejriwal has promised a new type of politics for India, and millions believe him. We certainly hope he will prove to be a force for good for the common man. But he would do well to remember that the trappings of power are easy to get used to. Those who enter public life on public transport rarely seem to depart by the same means.