‘Deshbhakti’, ‘Ram Rajya’ are Kejriwal’s New Buzzwords as AAP Asserts National Ambitions

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced at the farmers’ mahapanchayat in Jind, Haryana on April 4, “We have changed Delhi… I have made a pact with God that I will make my country the number one in the world.” I will not die before I see it.” 2021.

Kejriwal urged farmers, who are demanding repeal of three central laws, to stick to the fight “till the end” and assured his audience that he was the same person “from 10 years ago” – his opponents. An unmistakable reference to the corruption agenda propelled him to political prominence.

He elaborated on the steps taken for farmers who have been camping since late November at key entry points to Delhi, such as opening langars, providing water tankers and building toilets.

“We have paid a great price; They (BJP-led central government) are punishing us for supporting the farmers’ movement. They have passed a law that inside Delhi, the elected government, the elected chief minister will not have any power, all the powers are with the LG (lieutenant governor). Is this the reason why the struggle for independence was waged?” He said, referring to the Delhi Government (Amendment) Act, 2021, which gives primacy to the LG, who reports to the Union Home Ministry.

In short, Kejriwal followed the line he has been following: he slammed the then ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre, accusing it of obstructing his government and protesting farmers. Supported.

And then – perhaps most importantly – Kejriwal presented himself as a ‘deshbhakt’ (patriot), a strategy that experts say has been copied from the BJP’s playbook to attack it.

“Whoever is with the farmers’ movement is a patriot, those who are against the farmers’ movement are anti-nationals,” Kejriwal said at the rally.

Kejriwal is projecting himself as a ‘patriot’, which comes against the backdrop of his nine-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alluding to the national ambitions.

At the AAP’s National Council meeting in January, Kejriwal had announced that his party would contest elections in six states – Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat – which are due next year. Over the past few months, his visits to these states are enough demonstration of Kejriwal’s renewed push to go national.

And ‘patriotism’ is the first keyword you think will help him fulfill his ambitions.

This August 15, on the eve of India’s 75th Independence Day, Kejriwal announced that his government would introduce ‘patriotic’ courses in Delhi’s schools.

Kejriwal said, the curriculum aims to achieve three goals: Children should feel proud for the nation, they should be aware of their responsibilities and duties towards the country, and they should make sacrifices to find solutions to India’s problems. should be prepared for.

And now, AAP has announced ‘Tiranga Yatra’ in every assembly constituency of politically important Uttar Pradesh. The first in the series was held in Agra on Sunday. Ayodhya will be held on September 14.

He is not everything. If ‘Deshbhakti’ is the first pillar of your new strategy, the second – and arguably more important – should be ‘Ram Rajya’. These are the two ideas on which the party focuses on the ‘Kejriwal model of development’ as well as water and electricity, free Wi-Fi, free bus rides for women and better schools and hospitals. other.

In the budget session of the Delhi Assembly in March, Kejriwal spoke of the establishment of a ‘Ram Rajya’, while he assured senior citizens of free pilgrimage to the Ram temple in Ayodhya, which is under construction.

Senior journalist Neerja Choudhary said Kejriwal was using the term politically sensitive to appeal to a “constituency represented by the BJP”. He said the opposition parties, pushed from corner to corner, are trying to find their way out with the BJP’s dominance in the political arena.

Choudhary said Kejriwal has not said anything anti-Muslim, but his focus on ‘Ram Rajya’ may raise doubts. But it may be the risk you feel you’re willing to take, she said.

In the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal had said that he is a devotee of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman and had emphasized on 10 principles which would be the guiding principles of a ‘Ram Rajya’ in Delhi. These principles were: freedom from hunger, quality education for children, best medical treatment for all, 200 units of free electricity for all, 20,000 liters of free water for each household, employment for all, housing for the poor, women’s security Respect, elders, and equality among all races and religions.

In a way, he emphasized that ‘Ram Rajya’ would mean good governance and a better standard of living for all, and indicated that it would not be exclusionary or discriminatory.

But Chowdhary said that ‘Ram Rajya’ acquires a definite meaning in today’s context. “And this is where the question begins: How do they (opposition parties) identify themselves with Hindus, their concerns and what do they think they identify with… and yet they are not against other communities? This one Tight rope walk.” Choudhary said.

Political analyst Geeta Bhatt stated that the concept of ‘Ram Rajya’, in this instance, is based on “moral authority (morality)”. “Now, that morality comes under question because he (Kejriwal) is talking about Ram Rajya in real sense, especially when he said that he would once again sponsor elders for the construction of Ram temple.”

He argued that the reason for this is that Kejriwal has not demonstrated his commitment towards the construction of the Ram temple. “Of course it is personal and the (donation) amount is not important… (but) it is the idea, it is the commitment to build the Ram temple that matters,” she said.

Bhatt also questioned Kejriwal’s resolve to establish ‘Ram Rajya’ in Delhi. Bhatt said, “The kind of crisis we have seen in both the waves of Kovid in Delhi, it has also been reprimanded by the courts.”

Still, the AAP seems to have focused its strategy on gaining a foothold at the national level – something it has aspired to but has not achieved so far. It would hope that ‘Deshbhakti’ and ‘Ram Rajya’ would later become the trump card which would turn the tide in his favor in terms of national politics. Most importantly, it will hope that its new words will strike a chord with Hindus, and that its welfare schemes and message of inclusivity will be loved by all, including minorities. Achieving that balance will be challenging and only time will tell how Kejriwal and his AAP will perform.

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