Kejriwal is plagiarising from Modi’s Hindutva guide within the hope of out-BJP-ing the BJP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be careful. Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Social gathering chief and Delhi’s Chief Minister, is all set to out-BJP the BJP. He’s cloning all its election-tested methods. Since many Indian states may have their meeting elections earlier than the final election of 2024, which is able to determine whether or not Modi will get a 3rd time period, one can’t assist however surprise how efficient Kejriwal’s cloning operation will transform.

Once I was at school, a long time in the past, an often-discussed query was: After Nehru, who? It was widespread to listen to in response that his more than likely successor was Lal Bahadur Shastri. When it was reported that Nehru had lent his overcoat to Shastri to be used throughout certainly one of his crucial Nepal visits, it was rapidly interpreted because the proverbial straw within the wind.

My adolescent curiosity, nonetheless, was directed in a distinct path. Would the overcoat not be too giant for the diminutive Shastri, I puzzled? Outsized coats however, Shastri did certainly succeed Nehru.

After Modi, Who?

Right now, it’s outright blasphemous to hold out such speculative caricature in the present day. However whisper it quietly, we should. After Modi, who? Though some surveys speak about his fading charisma and, correspondingly, the rising reputation of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, my sense is that Modi’s place stays unassailable each inside his social gathering and throughout India at giant.

If not the person, then what of the social gathering? Is there some other political social gathering, or coalition of events, that may dislodge the BJP from energy in 2024? India’s grand outdated social gathering, the Indian Nationwide Congress, together with its allies, is arguably the likeliest candidate to take action, its present frailties however. It might be that 2024 will likely be a repeat of 2004. A lot as Atal Behari Vajpayee’s “India shining” slogan failed miserably then, so too would possibly Modi’s “new India” slogan flop three years from now.

In addition to the Congress, there are a handful of regional heavyweights – the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, the Samajwadi Social gathering in Uttar Pradesh, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar – that will rise to the event. Lots of them have now and again entered into negotiations to place up a joint anti-BJP Third Entrance. Whether or not their efforts will fructify time alone will inform.

The social gathering that maybe warrants most of our consideration, nonetheless, governs neither on the nationwide stage nor the regional stage. Very like the hapless Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Social gathering’s rule extends solely till Palam (the suburb house to Delhi’s worldwide airport).

Though Delhi is the capital of the nation and has nicely over 20 million residents, it stays a semi-state inside India’s federal construction. Not surprisingly, due to this fact, AAP’s political base continues to be very small. Its makes an attempt to broaden into different states, most prominently Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab, have to date met with combined success and are, in any case, lengthy haul tasks.

New Political Technique

To place it merely, it’s AAP’s new political technique. Observe their current actions and it’s abundantly clear that they’re out to burglarise BJP’s time-tested system of utilizing Hindutva, as expressed via an emphasis on nationalism, Hindu historical past, glorification of the navy, and, most significantly, cult (ie Modi) worship. Kejriwal desires to pursue precisely the identical technique.

In response to BJP’s pro-Hindu innovation in flagging off the Shri Ramayana Specific which might transport Hindu pilgrims from Delhi to many Ram-related pilgrim locations, particularly, Sitamarhi, Janakpur (Nepal), Varanasi, Prayag, Chitrakoot, Hampi, Nasik, and Rameshwaram, the Aam Admi Social gathering authorities of Delhi responded by a secular, however religion-loaded, blitzkrieg. To placate all religions throughout the board, Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, launched the Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra. Meant solely for senior residents, the Yatra supplied contributors the chance to go to a panoply of websites necessary to Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs.

These included the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the India-Pakistan border at Wagah, Anandpur Sahib gurudwara, Vaishnodevi, Mathura, Vrindavan, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Nilkanth, Pushkar, and Ajmer Sharif. (Parenthetically, even Modi understands the worth of projecting one’s picture as an inclusive chief. One might recall how after his win within the 2019 election, he pledged: sab ka sath, sab ka vikas, sab ka vishwas, that means, along with everybody, with progress for all, and with everybody’s belief.)

Three days earlier than the 2020 Delhi Meeting election, when the Modi authorities introduced the formation of a belief for the development of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, Kejriwal remarked: “There is no such thing as a proper time for good work.” By figuring out himself with the Ram temple challenge, he neutralised any doable detractors. Not may they level to his stance on the temple to declare him anti-Hindu, which within the India of in the present day is tantamount to calling somebody a traitor.

As a part of a bid to broaden his electoral turf in Gujarat, Kejriwal inaugurated the AAP’s entry within the state by cleverly searching for the blessings of Lord Krishna in an Ahmedabad temple. Lord Krishna is the most well-liked deity within the state. Shortly thereafter, in end-August, he added deshbhakti (patriotism/nationalism) to his Hindutva kitty, when he selected retired colonel Ajay Kothiyal as his social gathering’s chief ministerial face in Uttarakhand.

By bestowing upon the colonel the laudatory praise “courageous coronary heart,” who had “two bullets inside his physique,” Kejriwal promised the folks of the state that it was this “Bhole Ka Fauji” (warrior of Lord Shiva) and “Deshbhakt fauji” (patriotic warrior) who alone would “deliver a change in Uttarakhand.” “When the politicians had been busy looting the folks of Uttarakhand, Retd Col Ajay Kothiyal was going through bullets on the border to guard the folks of Uttarakhand,” Kejriwal thundered.

Irresistible Brew

Having made the connection between patriotism and the Hindu religiosity of the folks of Uttarakhand specific, Kejriwal rapidly set about promoting the identical patriotism-infused narrative in Uttar Pradesh.

Led by Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, and Sanjay Singh, a Rajya Sabha member of the social gathering, AAP initiated the Tiranga Yatra (the tri-colour march) with a deal with Deshbhakti, as soon as once more. Let it’s famous that the march is meant to culminate on the Ram temple at Ayodhya, although this choice is on maintain in the meanwhile.

True to his fashion of mixing faith and politics into an irresistible brew, whereas not abandoning secularism altogether, Kejriwal stated, inter alia: “However the politics of labor must be peppered with our definition of nationalism and religiosity that doesn’t contain hating or hurting others.” Witness the AAP authorities choice to put in 500 high-mast Tricolours throughout Delhi at a value of 85 crore rupees (about $11.5 million).

The newest in Kejriwal-style Hindutva propaganda is the “Deshbhakti Curriculum” for presidency funded faculties in Delhi. On September 28, on the event of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s beginning anniversary, the federal government of Delhi put up a full web page commercial within the Delhi version of all main English and Hindi dailies to announce the curriculum with rapid impact. Within the commercial, a beaming photograph of Kejriwal declares: “Now each youngster will be taught patriotism. Now each youngster will turn out to be a real patriot.”

Nearer scrutiny reveals us that there’s nothing path breaking in regards to the curriculum. It comprises that which we have now studied in civics lessons since childhood – that our structure is the supply of our civic values. Had been we not informed all alongside that our obligation to the nation doesn’t finish with hoisting the nationwide flag on Independence and Republic days, however is as a substitute a lifelong dedication?

Does it require a particular curriculum, that too an off-the-cuff and self-assessed one, to inform everybody that they need to behave nicely in society? If we as a society have stooped so low that these fundamentals of life now must be taught via a structured curriculum, then maybe – to invoke a Hindu framework – it’s time for Vishnu to descend in his subsequent avatar and rescue us all.

BJP’s B-Group?

By means of this train in cynical plagiarism, the Aam Aadmi Social gathering might nicely for a short while pose a problem to BJP. But when human knowledge is any information, the marketplace for counterfeit gold isn’t sustainable. When the unique metallic is on the market, why ought to anybody lust after the imitation?

To defeat the BJP a transparent different must be introduced to the voters. Solely then will they be prepared to modify allegiances, as they’ve completed many occasions prior to now. Arvind Kejriwal’s antics to date show an creativeness bereft of the power to supply a viable different. If the AAP below him continues down this path, they may find yourself because the BJP’s B-Group.

Partha S Ghosh is Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi.

This text first appeared in Dhaka Tribune.

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