Within 10 years of formation, the Aam Aadmi Party has become a challenger to the grand old Congress party, founded more than 100 years ago, with both governing two Indian states. AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal is looking forward to expanding ferociously.
The main targets are poll-bound Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Is it practical to expand at this scale in a politically dynamic country like India? This I leave to the analysts. Let’s understand the dynamics of Gujarat and what the early signs suggest about the upcoming assembly elections.
Kejriwal is playing on ‘Soft-Hindutva’ in Gujarat
It is a well-known fact that Arvind Kejriwal is a seasonal Hindu, who changes his direction as per the blowing wind. Arvind Kejriwal climbed up the political ladder by presenting himself as the messiah of the poor and downtrodden. His formula of freebies reaped him political benefits that are clearly reflected in the mandate.
What gave Kejriwal an edge was his soft-Hindutva, other than his freebies. From calling the Batla House encounter fake to mocking the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, Kejriwal has shown his anti-Hindu side many times.
However, he got a taste of the changing Rajneetik hawa and swiftly changed his stance in order to garner the votes of the Hindu community. Just before the 2019 elections, Kejriwal became a Ram-Bhakt. He performed Gangasnan and even visited the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. He carried on with the same image for the 2020 Delhi assembly elections, and presented himself as a Hanuman Bhakt. However, his soft Hindutva mask has been exposed by one of his own.
Read more. Kejriwal will help the BJP win Gujarat emphatically.
Can Gautam’s resignation save Kejriwal?
In order to compete with the BJP, Kejriwal toiled hard to change his party’s image from “Muslim appeasers” to a “pro-Hindu” one. Although his mask has been blown several times, the recent controversy around ex-Social Welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam has hit the final nail in the coffin of Kejriwal’s seasonal Hinduism.
Earlier this week, a video surfaced in which Rajendra Pal Gautam, a minister in Kejriwal’s cabinet, was seen involved in a conversion event, where he was seen taking pledges demeaning to Hindu devis and devatas. The ruling parties at the centre, as well as the media, were quick to call out the anti-Hindu minister in the cabinet.
The political forces once again launched a ferocious attack on Kejriwal, tagging him “anti-Hindu”, and the minister resigned, saying that he did not want his leader and his party to be in any kind of trouble because of him.
Although his resignation was a sign of relief, he must not have resigned to save Kejriwal from any trouble of responding to the accusations. Rather, Gautam resigned to control the damage for AAP in the upcoming Gujarat elections.
It’s understood that Kejriwal feared losses in Gujarat as well as Himachal elections and that is why Gautam has been asked to reign. Otherwise, there were many occasions in the recent past when the party acted as if nothing had happened, when serious allegations were levelled against their prime faces.
Read more: At least 6 members of the Aam Aadmi Party need to be kicked out, but Kejriwal couldn’t care less.
Kejriwal’s freebies won’t work in Gujarat, here’s why
While Kejriwal was on a recent tour to poll-bound Gujarat, he got the first surprise from the people of Gujarat. Kejriwal had rhetorically asked, “Free bijli chahiye ya nahi?” And the audience unanimously responded, “Nahi.” This must have come to Kejriwal as the most humiliating encounter.
However, Kejriwal has not learnt his lesson, and the AAP leader continues to embarrass himself by repeating the platitude of freebies on a regular basis. He has fulfilled a slew of pre-poll promises during his multiple visits, including free electricity up to 300 units for each household per month; a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 for all women above 18; a waiver of all pending electricity bills issued before December 31, 2021; free power for agricultural purposes; and a monthly allowance of Rs 3000 for unemployed youth.
But his freebie gimmick won’t survive the turf of Gujarat, and the data substantiates the claim. Gujarat, with just 5% of the nation’s population, contributes 7.3% to the national GDP single-handedly. Not to forget, it was the “Gujarat model” which Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented while he was trying to reach pan-India before the 2014 general elections. Gujarat is a richly industrial state, and seeing its growth prospects won’t drool in the desperation of freebies, unlike the debt-ridden states.
Kejriwal’s advent was marked as a “politician with a difference” and the Aam Aadmi Party was hailed as a “party with a difference”. However, with all these years at the helm of affairs, the anti-corruption crusader mask has been blown off, as it is known to all of what height the Hindu-hater AAPians are. These factors will assure a massive drubbing for AAP in Gujarat.
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