HomeIndiaKejriwal Follows Modi-Style Vote Catching And Succeeds

Kejriwal Follows Modi-Style Vote Catching And Succeeds

By K Raveendran

Arvind Kejriwal seems to have come of age as a politician. The Delhi chief minister is apparently taking a page out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi book to speak the same language, same content and wear the same demeanor.  He needs to be given credit for his assessment that Modi’s language strikes a chord with the masses. He has only put himself in the same shoes.

In the early part of his career, Kejriwal used to attack Narendra Modi for whatever he did and said. But in due course of time, he realized the folly, and at times paying a heavy price for it. In the process, he seemed to have realized the spirit of the saying ‘if you can’t fight your enemy, join him’. He is now doing just that: adopting Modi’s own style and approach. Of course, in terms of political fight, Modi and his BJP have to be on the opposite side.

Some of Kejriwal’s recent remarks can easily pass off as those of Modi. The contents of some of his speeches can easily be mixed up with speeches of Modi without compromising either the flow or the import of what is sought to be conveyed. Kejriwal’s election campaign, particularly outside of Delhi, is also strikingly similar, except for the security detailing of the prime minister, which is both pompous as well as fool-proof.

There is every likelihood that Kejriwal’s latest call for a ‘Bharatiya education system’ can be confused with Modi’s own views on the subject. Speaking at a meeting with parents and teachers at Vadodara as part of his election campaign in Gujarat, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said that India should become a destination for students from all over the world, like Nalanda University used to be in ancient times. Modi has often spoken about India reclaiming its position as the knowledge capital of the world.

“The entire system of education was left to us by the British. It is the system Macaulay prepared in the 1830s so that we could serve them by becoming clerks. I respect all freedom fighters, but when the country attained independence, we should have prepared a new system of education for independent India by abolishing the old British education system,” Kejriwal said.“Students from across the world came to study at Nalanda University in ancient India….Today our students are going abroad,” he added.

The politician-turned former IRS officer kicked off his Gujarat campaign, in typical Modi style, by visiting and praying at the famous Dwarkadhish temple in Devbhumi Dwarka district.  The Delhi chief minister also Kejriwal visited Surat in the evening to take part in ‘aarti’ at a Ganesh pandal, set up outside the party’s office in the Seemada Naka area and named ‘AAP Ka Raja’.

Kejriwal applied his new formula in the Punjab assembly elections, which AAP won convincingly and has since become a template for adoption in other parts of the country. He effectively played the Hindu card where it mattered, and reaped the benefits. While campaigning in Ludhiana, he raked up the sense of worry among the Hindus and traders of the state by pointing to the prime minister’s security lapse. In fact, his statement evoked sharp reactions from the Sikhs and Dalits as well as a section of the Hindus themselves.

While campaigning in Uttarakhand, the AAP leader had declared that his party would make the hill state the spiritual capital of the world for Hindus if it came to power in the state. He also projected Col Ajay Kothiyal, who played a key role in the reconstruction of Kedarnath after the devastating floods, as his party’s chief ministerial face for the state. Uttarakhand being a Hindu majority state, Kejriwal was clearly playing the Hindu card as well as pandering to the ex-servicemen’s vote bank.

The Aam Aadmi Party can, of late, be seen to make deliberate attempts to shed its pro-Muslim image by playing the Hindu card. In fact, his stoic silence and failure to denounce the anti-Muslim slogans raised at a Jantar Mantar rally had even prompted pro-Muslim twitter activists to describe the Delhi chief minister as a ‘Sanghi’.

His new ‘approach’ has caused eyebrows to go up among the liberal public opinion, which had all along supported the AAP political philosophy. But for Kejriwal and his party, like everyone else, what matters most is the vote bank and not philosophy. (IPA Service)

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