Is Arvind Kejriwal trying to usurp BJP’s Hindutva agenda?

Devsagar Singh

New Delhi, Nov 5: Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal is an ambitious man with no qualms about  indulging in cut-throat  competitive politics  to give BJP a run for its money. This is evident from the manner in which he is pursuing the BJP agenda with his  more- than- soft Hindutva approach. In some ways, Kejriwal has gone farther than the saffron party. His Government, for example, celebrated Diwali in  public amid much media glare. His ‘pooja’  was telecast live by   major TV news channels. He made  high-pitch announcement about the event much before it was held last night. Significantly, it was the second year in succession for his Government to do so.

         Earlier this year,  Kejriwal  introduced “deshbhakti” (nationalism) as a subject in  the syllabus  of all Delhi Government run schools  amid much fanfare. He  makes it a point to talk about it whenever he gets a chance to speak in public and in TV advertisements.

        The two issues—Hindutva and nationalism— are no longer the monopoly of the BJP, the party  Kejriwal  is openly challenging not just in Delhi but in other states as well.  The AAP party has publicly announced that it is contesting  the upcoming assembly polls in UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa. It already has its presence in neighboring Punjab with some 20 MLAs of the party. Observers say it is contesting in the state this time with an aim to wrest power.

             Kejriwal’s pursuit of Hindutva in UP and Uttarakhand augurs well for his party which is openly competing against the BJP now in power in both the states. Ayodhya and Ram Mandir , the issues dear to BJP, are in his radar as well. AAP MLAs  pay regular obeisance to the Ram Lalla deity in Ayodhya making it a public event. The party has announced its plans to expand Uttarakhand’s  religious footprint if it came to power in the coming elections.

             Clearly,  Arvind Kejriwal is seeking to usurp the BJP agenda in some ways. His primary goal is never to allow BJP to come to power in the  National Capital Territory of Delhi while expanding its footprint in the neighborhood. He no longer considers Congress as a competitor in Delhi. Having proved his mettle in the last two elections in a row, he is only consolidating his position further so far as Delhi  is concerned.

               With  the ruling Congress in disarray  following  Capt Amarinder Singh’s exit from the party in Punjab amid infighting among groups and the Akali Dal still discredited for its past sins,  it is said AAP may have a chance to wrest power in the state. It may jerk many. But anything is possible in politics. Kejriwal  is lucky. He has tried to assiduously cultivate the farmer voters of Punjab. The ongoing agitation of farmers against three farm legislations will only help him further. The Delhi CM  and his party stood with the Punjab farmers in the capital’s borders in their year-long agitation against the Modi Government at the Centre.

           Overall,  Kejriwal’s ambition is not misplaced. His party’s growing popularity outside Delhi can no longer be doubted. His open attempt to please Hindu voters by indulging in soft Hindutva and more has a set pattern  by now. He is challenging the BJP in its own turf. Who knows the forthcoming elections may spring surprises.

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