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Home > 2022 > His Majesty’s loyal Opposition: Arvind Kejriwal | Faraz Ahmad

Mainstream, VOL LX No 19, New Delhi, April 30, 2022

His Majesty’s loyal Opposition: Arvind Kejriwal | Faraz Ahmad

Friday 29 April 2022, by Faraz Ahmad


Is Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) president and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal complicit or rather a partner in Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s declared scheme to make Congress-mukt Bharat (rid India completely of the Congress party)?

So it appears and the collaboration between Amit Shah and Kejriwal maybe unstated but not irreproachable. Till the last round of elections, when Kejriwal fielded his party candidates in all the five states going to polls earlier this year, what with presumably very little resources to spare, it appeared merely megalomania on his part. Consequently most political observers paid hardly any serious attention to AAP candidates. And where the BJP stakes were high like in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the AAP neither made any serious effort during the long campaign period nor were its candidates visible anywhere.

Therefore most analysts also did not take AAP hype in Punjab too seriously and least of all in Goa of all the places where it won two seats. But then Punjab is one state where the BJP stood no chance of being in political reckoning. Even in the last assembly polls in 2017, when the BJP aligned with the main traditional force of Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) led by the father son Badal duo, the party won only three seats and so this time it would have been no surprise to anyone had BJP been out for a duck. Eventually in alliance with former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, it won two and Captain was out for a duck.

The BJP’s constituency is mainly the urban khatri trader of Chandigarh and other urban centres of Punjab. Curiously this section is also the traditional Congress voter. It tilts towards the BJP only if it finds the BJP a viable alternative in alliance with the Akali Dal. Without an alliance with the Akali Dal the BJP stands no chance and so this voter class abandons the BJP as easily and shifts loyalty to the Congress party, whom it prefers to the Sikh dominated SAD.

In 2017 the Punjab voter, both Sikh and Hindu, was sick with the extended Badal family including Harsimrat Kaur and her brother Bikramjit Singh Majithia and its ally the BJP. So they voted in a big way the Congress led by Maharaja Patiala, Captain Amarinder Singh But things failed to improve for the Akali Dal, considered a farmers’ party in the 2022 assembly elections when the farmers from rural Punjab firmed up their resolve to vote out the BJP and teach a lesson to the Akali Dal, for collaborating with the BJP insofar as it did not oppose the three farm laws when these were brought in the Lok Sabha by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. So it was determined to teach the Akali Dal a lesson and it did. In this situation even the two seats the BJP wone namely Pathankot and Mukerian though traditionally BJP strongholds, still were a miracle for reasons to be elaborated further.

If as is evident now that the Hindu vote of Punjab shifted wholesale to the AAP then how come these two seats did not go to AAP? Doesn’t stand to reason. Also curiously enough the AAP did not even have a face to project as the prospective chief minister. The current chief minister Bhagwant Mann, was never a serious politician. He was more of a comedian and more shocking, had turned up twice in Parliament under the influence of alcohol, a virtual sacrilege committed to the august House. In fact videos circulated on social media on the day of AAP remarkable victory in Punjab showed Mann tipsy again. So the Punjab voter in fact voted Arvind Kejriwal. And now more than a month after AAP started ruling Punjab, chief minister Mann makes at least one trip a week to Delhi to meet Kejriwal and take dictation from him. It is obvious now that Mann is just a puppet whose remote control is in the hands of Kejriwal and nothing moves in Punjab except on the direction of Kejriwal.

Then what was the problem with Congress choice of Charanjit Singh Channi. He was at least a serious politician, rose from the ranks, is a highly qualified person. The Congress chose him because he is a Dalit Sikh and Punjab has a very large and influential Sikh population which has traditionally been voting the Congress party. Of course Congress high command also committed some major blunders in handling Punjab. First it elevated a non-serious trouble maker Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had only recently migrated from the BJP, more out of pique with late Arun Jaitley than any other serious reason. Then if the party high command felt the need to replace Amarinder, it should have done much earlier for his successor to prove his competence and demonstrate his achievements. Third and most important, the Congress party loudly jettisoned its Hindu leaders, one and all from Sunil Jakhar to Ashwani Kumar to Manish Tiwari. Either the high command had no idea of its core voter in Punjab or what is more likely it got misled into believing that the Hindu voter will stick to it any which way.

Be that as it may, we could put the blame of Congress defeat on party high command’s doorstep but for the way the AAP went to polls without projecting a credible acceptable face as its leader. So then it seems the RSS machinery well aware that the BJP or Akali Dal stood no chance, worked surreptitiously for the AAP. Looks far-fetched? but wait.

In Goa of all the places where Konkani would sound like gibberish to Kejriwal, he won two seats. That’s not the end what more or less confirms my hunch of a deeper conspiracy and surreptitious understanding between Kejriwal and the RSS is the recently concluded Guwahati municipal elections, where the BJP-AGP alliance swept the polls, leaving Congress or Ajmal’s AIUDF for a Zero. Unbelievable! But AAP winning a seat and registering its presence in the Guwahati municipality of all the places? Again can Kejriwal even speak or understand a word of Assamiya? No.

The BJP/RSS plan for a Congress mukt Bharat is well known and widely advertised. And it is evident now that Amit Shah-Narendra Modi duo are succeeding in their endeavour. But does their plan end with ridding the nation of the Congress party only? Not likely. If Congress is finished then who is to replace to give a semblance of Opposition, but who is widely acceptable not just to the RSS/BJP but to its ever-expanding Aryan Hindu Rashtra constituency? A Yadav Akhilesh or Tejaswi? A Mayawati, who anyway has sold herself to the BJP and does not count anymore. Not in the least. A Mamata Banerjee; a Kerala CPM leader/ and least of all the Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin? No. None of them. The first step of the Aryavrat is to finish off the Congress and fully subjugate the Muslim minority no doubt. But the real danger for the Aryavrat comes from the rising aspirations of Dalits and Backwards who are blinded currently by the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the ruling BJP. But for how long? So no question of allowing any of these to emerge as viable Opposition to hoodwink the people of a democratic set up. The only acceptable alternative is Arvind Kejriwal.

Going by his past, he fits the bill for the BJP leadership and the Hindutvavadi voter of New India. The Shaheen Bagh women sat on a three-month long dharna against the government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), clearly discriminating against Muslims, in the winter of 2019-20. During that period the elections to Delhi assembly took place and these women were subjected to tremendous hardship all through. The voters of Shaheen Bagh voted overwhelmingly for Kejriwal’s AAP party causing the victory of its candidate Amanullah Khan. But Kejriwal did not turn around and throw a single glance on these hapless women agitating for their legitimate constitutional rights. Instead BJP trollers tried to evict them forcibly and when that did not work one of them fired at the venue. Kejriwal remained firmly unmoved.

Second, the North-east Delhi riots of February, 2020 provoked by BJP’s Kapil Mishra threat in the presence of a senior Police officer there, were dealt so badly by the Delhi police behaving blatantly partisan and targeting Muslims. In this exercise the Police arrested the AAP municipal councillor of the area, Tahir Husain. Kejriwal and his party did not utter a word in his defence. Instead he was left to the designs of the Delhi Police, languishing in jail to date.

And the latest is the way Kejriwal and his AAP leader Atishi went around not just in Delhi but all the way in Guwahati supporting the BJP claim that the poor victims of Jahangirpuri rots and bulldozer demolition, were Bangladeshi and Rohingyas when most are from Eastern UP, Bihar and Bengal.

But then those who have been closely observing Kejriwal have no reason to feel surprised by these reactions. He became a household name in 2012-13 first by talking on public platforms about the Right To Information (RTI) and how to entrap the then UPA government through the RTI which was brought in at the initiative of Sonia Gandhi. Those days he was still a Government servant of the Indian Revenue Services (IRS). Yet he went to the BJP think tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) established then by L K Advani and invited there by former BJP ideologue K N Govindacharya.

It is common knowledge now that the Anna Hazare dharna held for days in Ramlila Grounds was fully sponsored by the RSS even serving free meals and providing all kinds of comforts to those attending it as well as bringing people in buses to that venue. Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi were the prominent activists in that agitation calling itself India Against Corruption (IAC). Many naïve well meaning also joined it thanks to the huge build up by the media, in particular the TV channels.

Since Govindacharya is a kind of Guru to Kejriwal and Govind is still loyal to Advani, had the BJP chosen to project Advani as the PM candidate in 2013-14, instead of Narendra Modi, perhaps Kejriwal would have readily joined the BJP. But never mind. He still has his utility for the RSS/BJP, who want a loyal Opposition in consonance with their vision of a New India, where none other than Kejriwal fits in.

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