How the National issues didn’t work into the state elections?
|| Karan Singh Thakur
How could BJP not able to refrain itself to address the National issues in a state election, despite giving more importance to regional issues, like water, electricity, infrastructure, ecology, environment, etc..??
How BJP has to develop a soft Hindutava approach in the state election, rather than using the Narratives of ultra-Nationalism.???
How Kejriwal developed an ideological counter to BJP?
As the BJP played up the CAA card and built a campaign high on the issues of nationalism with religious overtones while Mr. Kejriwal realized he would have to do more than stay silent on CAA. He would have to take a stand. And so very cleverly without talking Shaheen Bagh, he talked Pakistan. He visited the Hanuman temple, recited the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ during interviews and went to cast his vote with a tilak (religious mark) on his forehead after taking his blessings from his parents, in full glare in front of TV cameras, again with a very déjà-vu move.
In this Assembly Election of 2020, he was no longer Modi’s fiercest critic. Kejriwal decided to carve an identity of his own and one that was based on his positive marks rather than someone else’s negatives. Sometime in July last year, when he announced tirth yatra (pilgrimage) freebies for the elderly, AAP workers began to refer to him as ‘Delhi Ka Shravan Kumar’.
The party projected him as if a caring-sharing sort of son who looks after the elderly within his reigning territory.
While these moves had the liberals worried, Kejriwal’s supporters immediately understood his game plan. Arvind knows that Shaheen Bagh will not cut any ice with the voters.
“ What he is trying to ensure is that the Hindu voter should not be divided into these lines,” says Ashutosh, a former AAP leader and founder, Satyahindi.com.
Adding, “Don’t forget he got 67 seats last elections, 84% of Delhi’s population is Hindus. They must have voted for him as well. Why should he let that votes get divided? We got flabbergasted that he is reading ‘Hanuman Chalisa’. But he knows where his voter is. He also knows that the Muslim voter will not vote for BJP or waste its vote on Congress.”
So instead of falling into the BJP’s trap and hot-footing it to Shaheen Bagh, Kejriwal carved a niche for himself—in the right of center.
He realized that Congress had abdicated the middle ground where there was a void that needed to be filled and so he slowly but surely moved from the left (with his freebies and subsidies) towards the right.
Rama Lakshmi, the Opinion Editor at The Print explains, “AAP ran a campaign that was carefully choreographed to capture the right-of-center political space. Much of the Left ecosystem that shapes the anti-Modi narrative lives in Delhi. But he chose to ignore their issues and concerns in recent years. He deliberately avoided going to JNU, praised Balakot airstrikes, supported Article 370 dilution, and did not visit Shaheen Bagh even once. By doing all this he moved right-of-center, from the left of center space that he had situated himself with free electricity, water and bus rides.”
The Editor adds, “This is why I call him an ideological gymnast. He is a pragmatic, post-ideology politician. Whether this will make AAP into a ‘catch-all’ party in the mold of Indira Gandhi or it ends up displeasing every section is something 11 February will reveal.”
Kejriwal won Delhi and in the future course of time he will not only score an electoral win but he will also have to be successfully experimented with an ideological counter to take on the BJP’s hyped up right-wing narrative. It could be the game-changer that the opposition is looking for eagerly.
(The Writer is An Advocate and Member of Standing Council of Himachal Pradesh Govt. in Supreme Court)