Early Indications Suggest Arvind Kejriwal Is Catching On To The Fundamental Change Brought To Indian Politics By Narendra Modi

by Aravindan Neelakandan - Mar 12, 2022 08:27 AM +05:30 IST
Early Indications Suggest Arvind Kejriwal Is Catching On To The Fundamental Change Brought To Indian Politics By Narendra Modi Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (Twitter)
  • Hindu consolidation in electoral politics is here to stay.

    One of the leaders who seems to have understood this is Arvind Kejriwal.

The year was 2011. Anna Hazare was undertaking his fast against corruption in New Delhi and the precursor of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the movement called 'India Against Corruption' was taking shape. Arvind Kejriwal was very much part of the movement and was emerging as its charismatic face, next to Anna Hazare.

At that time, I was part of a circle of ‘friends’ who considered themselves neo-Gandhians and were enthralled by the movement. They were euphoric about the return of Gandhi in the form of Hazare.

I was skeptical.

Soon enough, a controversy erupted around the movement. There was a picture of Bharat Mata holding the national tricolour in the background, behind Hazare. Already, there were whisper campaigns that the movement, like the JP movement in the 1970s, was being supported by the RSS.

The picture of Bharat Mata was removed unceremoniously.

In 2011, people were getting increasingly frustrated with the corruption of the UPA regime. However, the BJP at that time was having what seemed to be a battle-tired leadership that merely waited for people’s anger to translate into political support but did not actively work to make it so.

In my estimate, the 'India Against Corruption' movement was a safety-valve of the Congress. Anna Hazare was appealing not just to the Prime Minister but also to Rahul Gandhi, to intervene. Within my friend circle mentioned above, I was told that I was looking at the whole thing through ‘myopic, Hindutva’ lens.

When the phone conversation between Agnivesh, the establishment’s showcase sanyasi and a then Union minister was exposed, I was kind of vindicated, even as most of the 'friends' remained true believers. This minister, may I remind you, was one of the icons of the UPA's notorious minoritarianism.

The Congress game plan, as I understood it then, was that politics should be de-Hinduized, whether of the government or the opposition.

Hindu Dharma, from being the soul of India, was getting reduced to a religion and that too a religion which was nothing but a 'bundle of caste inequalities'.

Soon enough, AAP, the political party was born.

Again, the neo-Gandhians were euphoric.

The ruling Congress often accused the AAP of being run by the RSS. The more they accused, more the AAP demonstrated that it was 'secular'.

When the elections came in 2014, the list of candidates that the AAP put up in Tamil Nadu included the who's who of the 'Breaking India' list. There were Hindu haters like late Gnani Sankaran and anti-nuclear protestor, Suba Udayakumar.

At that point, the AAP looked more dangerous than even the Congress and the DMK.

But all that started changing with the victory of Narendra Modi in 2014 and again in 2019. The welfare schemes of Narendra Modi that efficiently and without corruption reached the weaker sections of the society and the women in particular. This vastly expanded the social base of Hindutva.

Beyond the electoral victory of the BJP, this challenged and destroyed the narrative that Hindutva was 'patriarchal, anti-poor and anti-women'. Narendra Modi has in fact shown that welfare is an integral part of Hindutva.

Today, eventually, Hindu consolidation, from being a momentary phenomenon, as during the Ayodhya movement, has been sustained over long period of time. Narendra Modi has thus through seemingly secular pathways of development brought in a silent and robust saffron revolution.

It is quite surprising that Narendra Modi has also realised the fundamental change that had happened in the Congress party under the present leadership. When Modi said ‘Congress-Mukt Bharat’ (India free of Congress) many, including those of the Hindutva persuasion, thought it was only political rhetoric meant for election campaigns.

No. Modi is perhaps the first important politician to realise that the Congress under its present leadership has become a 'Breaking India' and anti-Hindu party.

Two other persons in Indian politics seem to understand this perfectly well. One is Rahul Gandhi and the other is Arvind Kejriwal.

Rahul Gandhi has retreated into the safety of Hindu-minority provinces of Kerala. He has aligned with the anti-Hindu force of the DMK whose supremo M.K. Stalin, is also an another dynast.

He has started including every anti-Hindu elements into the party. In Tamil Nadu, the Congress Committee leader seems to have revealed the thoughts of his leaders when he said that his party wanted to 'destroy Sanatana Dharma'.

In Kerala, Rijil Makutty, who slaughtered a calf in public, is today a prominent youth Congress leader. Clearly, the more people reject Congress, the more Congress is moving decisively towards anti-Hindu politics.

Arvind Kejriwal is a shrewd politician. He has picked up the vibes of the fundamental change that Modi is bringing in. He knows what is happening is the resurfacing of the ancient Nation. This is the India Gandhi envisioned. This is the Hindu consolidation Dr. Ambedkar talked about in his Annihilation of Caste. When it happens, the political landscape would have no room for a pseudo-secular polity. So, he systematically and silently removed many of the vocal anti-Hindu voices from the AAP. When NDMC decided to rename 'Aurangzeb Road' as 'Abdul Kalam road' Kejriwal tweeted congratulating the people on that decision.

He spoke about stopping the forcible and fraudulent conversions. He even stated that there should be a law against such conversions and it should not be misused.

When he ended his victory speech on Punjab elections on 10 March with ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Inquilab Zindabad’, he was telling the public that he would be the left-of-centre opposition in a Hindu or Bharatiya political environment.

From removing the picture of Bharat Mata in 2011 to 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' in 2022, the transformation is remarkable. And it is because of the saffron revolution that is happening right now.

But what about the temple-runs of Rahul Gandhi and Ganga dips of Priyanka Vadra? What about the ‘I am Siva Bhakta’ statements of Rahul Gandhi? Are they not soft-Hindutva too like that of Kejriwal?

Actually no. If one compares the body language of Rahul Gandhi when he is in a temple to when he is in a church, one can find the difference clearly. In the case of Hindu temples, there is a visible discomfort. Whereas he appears to be at home in a church.

Getting defeated by Hindu consolidation even after wearing the traditional attire of Hindus and going to Hindu temples could generate anger in a person, and that could be a precursor to hatred.

That is why AAP is good news in Punjab. Not because AAP is delivering any great governance in New Delhi. Rather, it is good because it has adapted itself to the resurfacing of Hindu consolidation that is happening in the country.

To be sure, we have not yet arrived at complete Hindu consolidation. The 10 per cent increase in the votes for SP show that the dangers of caste are still lurking in the shadows. But the consolidation is happening. Slowly and steadily, it is happening.

Rahul Gandhi the quintessential anti-Hindu politician of our times understands this. He has understood that ultimately the strength of Hindu consolidation is tied to the national oneness of India and has started attacking it. Kejriwal, the ever-alert politician, too, has understood the change that is happening. He is flowing with it.

Between the two, as of now, AAP taking over from Congress as the main opposition and reducing the latter to a junior regional party in Tamil Nadu is very important.

Aravindan is a contributing editor at Swarajya.

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