Delhi Elections: Kejriwal’s soft Hindutva and BJP’s debacle

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NEW DELHI — Now that Arvind Kejriwal has won the third term as the Chief Minister of Delhi, let us go back to the chronology of Delhi elections, held on 8th of this month, in which he defeated the ruling party at Centre with brute majority, leaving the most powerful party of present day India to eat dust and to fail in conquering these elections on the plank of division and communal polarization.

Arvind Kejriwal quickly identified that Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was launching the Hindu vs Muslim agenda to combat the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) development agenda. To counter BJP, he brought soft-Hindutva agenda to the fore and needless to say, achieved the big win.

He chose to tackle the BJP’s agenda by giving them a taste of their own medicine instead of opposing Hindutva altogether. Populism mixed with Hindutva has awarded him the third consecutive win in the Delhi elections.

Kejriwal just before the elections visited the Hanuman temple in Connaught Palace. Furious by his visit to the temple, BJP Delhi Chief, Manoj Tiwari, called Kejriwal a fake devotee. He went to the extent of saying that Arvind Kejriwal had made the temple impure by visiting it. Perhaps these comments did not go down well with the Hindu voters in Delhi.

Pertinently, Kejriwal had earlier accepted an anchor’s challenge in a live television show and recited the Hanuman Chalisa with ease and perfection, an incident which was ingrained in the minds of the audience.

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Kejriwal was smart enough to deal with issue of ongoing row over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) equally. He exhibited good statesmanship regarding the anti-CAA protests and blockades in Shaheeh Bagh. He refrained from taking any political stand on the issue, which is supposed to have favored his win.

It is abundantly clear now that the 13 percent of Muslim voters in Delhi have unanimously voted for the Aam Aadmi Party.

Though the Congress party had strongly defended the anti-CAA protests, it did not manage to garner votes. The voters have apparently chosen AAP as the prime contender against BJP and have put Congress on the backburner.

Just before the elections, BJP had criticized that Muslim protestors are blocking the daily lives of Hindus through their protests. In the wake of these comments, Kejriwal had not only asked the protestors to call off their strike, but came on record to say that if it was in his hands, he would have dealt with the Shaheen Bagh issue.

By doing so, he on one hand carried a message to Hindu voters that he did not support the protest and the other conveyed to Muslims that he did not oppose the protest, but the venue, where protest was being held, this supposedly neutral stand, regarding the protests, earned him both, Hindu as well as Muslim votes.

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Another factor, with which he garnered the trust of Hindus and maximum number of their votes, was that Kejriwal had welcomed the Modi government’s announcement on 5th February about setting up a trust to build Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. With these acts, Kejriwal won the trust of majority community.

In order to get rid of his anti-Hindu tag that BJP had publicized, Kejriwal mentioned that his government provided free pilgrimage to the elderly among the Hindus. He even reminded the people that the AAP had supported the BJP’s decision to scrap Article 370, granting a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority State within the Indian domain.

Referring to the cleaning project of River Yamuma, flowing through Delhi, undertaken by the Delhi government, Kejriwal tried to lure the Hindus by describing the river as Lord Krishna’s favorite.
Arvind Kejriwal also tried to cleverly refute the claim of BJP MP Parvesh Varma, when he called him a terrorist.

He sought sympathy by appealing to the people of Delhi to decide whether he was a terrorist or “son of Delhi”, by reminding them of the development schemes that the AAP had launched over the years.

The thumping win in Delhi proves that the new agenda and development schemes have worked in his favor, so has the clever stand of not being a hard core Hindu, but a supporter of soft Hindutva.

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