Thumbs up for Kejriwal, BJP's games of hatred collapse]

By Lalit Sethu. Dated: 2/15/2020 1:10:17 AM

It is a big thumps up for Kejriwal for a historic third term in the Delhi Assembly elections. Has he not emerged as the undisputed leader of Delhi? He has convincingly routed the BJP and buried its politics of hatred. The BJP even lost ground on national issues of Article 370, Citizenship Amendment Act and National Citizens' Register; in the process it found itself trying to rescue even the National Population Register or the Census from April 1 to the end of September by announcing that the President will be the first citizen to be enrolled for that exercise.
Arvind Kejriwal realized early in the day that his brand of freebies and goodies for the people, especially the poor, like good schools, mohalla clinics, free water and 200 units of free electricity will work.
He added free bus rides for women to that package and did not talk of national issues at all, not even the Shaheen Bagh stir in Delhi, which became the epicentre of protests for more than seven weeks. He succeeded in shifting the game from the campuses of Jamia Millia, JNU and Aligarh without even going there; directly or indirectly this was a big reward for the Aam Adami Party of Kejriwal with a handsome outright victory of 62 seats out 70 in the newly elected Delhi Assembly.
There was no consolation for the bragging attitude of BJP, or rather a shock of single digit of eight seats. It is licking its wounds and hoping for the best or the worst in upcoming Assembly elections in four or more State Assemblies in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala in the near future.
As the Prime Minister Modi congratulated Kejriwal for his grand victory, the Chief Minister, who has already dropped all his criticism of the Centre and promised to make Delhi among the best capitals of the world and fully cooperate with Mr. Modi provided a new war of words does notbreak out. Even the Union Home Minister Amit Shah has lost his face with his excessive tirades against AAP, which has won hands down. Where will Mr. Shah be looking around as he carried his hate speeches to a new high. Some of his lackeys like Anurag Thakur used un-parliamentary words like "goli maaro" against unnamed Opposition elements and received a reprimand for a three-day ban of speaking from the Election Commission.
Parliament has adjourned for a three-week recess to let committees examine the budgetary allocation and resume the final reading of the Budget.
Mail Today gave an electrifying headline: AAP QUAKE and claimed to be bang on in its forecasts. There was also a big victory for Amanullah Khan, the AAP candidate for Okhla covering Jamia and Shaheen Bagh. Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia won Patparganj as did Atishi from Kalkaji and and Raghav Chadda in tense fights. Saurabh Bhardwaj won from Greater Kailash and he held a Hanuman mace high to flaunt his success.
Kejriwal, who had gone to the Hanuman Mandir in New Delhi said: "Lord Hanuman has blessed us. May God give us more strength to serve the people of Delhi. Bharat Mata ki jai.The people of Delhi have given birth to a new model of politics--kaam ki rajniti. This model will take the country forward". The BJP harped on the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and Lord Rama, but both issues appear to have deserted them. Could Narendra Modi read the pulse of the Delhi people as he addressed only three election rallies, leaving the ground for Amit Shah to take the rap for the ultimate rout? On the other hand Kejriwal is trying to bring more buses to Delhi roads to reduce congestion and enable people to use less of personal transport, be they motor bikes or small cars.
Kejriwal's master-stroke might have been enrolling the whiz kid Prashant Kishore who initially worked for Mr. Modi in 2014 and later for some other parties, but was recently expelled from Mr. Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United, possibly at the behest of Mr. Amit Shah along with Mr. Pavan Varma, who for long was Nitish's alter ego and an intellectual of some standing, having been India's Ambassador to Bhutan.
Kejriwal' vote share is a historic 53.57 per cent or 89 per cent seats, an overall victory, against BJP's 38 per cent vote or 11 per cent seats, while Congress was routed with the loss of deposits in 63 constituencies and zero seats. Did the BJP gain some marginal seats because Congress on the ground try to play spoiler and its vote share in a few constituencies benefited BJP? Yet BJP was known to be a house divided with the Poorvanchal leader, Manoj Tiwari, looking sullen in spite of being a popular singer in Bihar.
Will these two parties be covering their wounds for a long time because of the massive rout in the Delhi Assembly elections?
Delhi voters showed that local issues matter more than national issues on which the BJP appears to have concentrated, much to its ire.
Mr. Modi may be somewhat content that he has more than four years to rule at the Centre, but will these four years be marked by road blocks for his opponents or will they be accompanied by trying to be careful with other Opposition parties around the country?
Could the ebullient Mr. Amit Shah continue with the politics of polarization or will he mend his ways? Will he be unable to give up the habit to call the Opposition names or will the Prime Minister order him to tone down his rhetoric? Mr. Shah who has been thinking that he is all powerful at the Centre will have to be careful with his words and dealings with regional leaders? Will the leaders like Ms. Mamta Banerji remind him that his language will not bite the State leaders and that he will be paid back in his own brand of criticism if he oversteps decency? It has been a bitter winter for the BJP and Amit Shah with biryani gibes failing.
The BJP had deployed Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and MPs in all Delhi constituencies, but they drew a blank in most of them, especially Yogi Adityanath of U.P. who failed to break the ice. Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav's son, commented that BJP created an atmosphere of hatred and this was rejected by the voters of Delhi; The Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi, said: Let this victory of Aam Adami Party be a harbinger of pro-people politics.
Women supporters wore "Lage raho Kejriwal" T shirts and danced in a celebratory mood while supporters carried Bajrangi posters of Kejriwal. A toddler was dressed like Kejriwal outside AAP main office in Delhi. It was not just Kejriwal, it was a carnival: his wife Sunita cut a birthday cake; it was even her big day.
It has been a great run for Kejriwal. He defeated the then Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs. Shiela Dikshit, in 2013 when he contested his first election from the New Delhi constituency, with which he has stayed, having become an anti-corruption crusader with Anna Hazare, who wanted Kejriwal to keep away from politics and government. That was not to be, but public life was to become big game for him. He has not looked back in spite of turbulent political battles. His has been a rise from joining the Indian Revenue Service in 1995 and resigning as Joint Commissioner. After founding an NGO, Public Cause Research Foundation, he formed Aam Adami Party in 2012, He has not looked back. It has been a seven year tussle, well rewarded.
The Delhi map has been painted with the blue colours of Aam Adami Party with blobs of BJP's safforn in the eastern end. It is a rout BJP will not forget, but will it learn any lessons and try to serve the people of India and its 28 States and 10 Union Territories, including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Time will tell.
—(IFS)
Lalit Sethi is a Journalist of long standing and a commentator on Political and Social Issues.

 

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