Kejriwal takes a leaf out of BJP’s Ayodhya book, now for the lesson

Imitation of BJP slogans and campaign methods shows AAP has run out of ideas

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Ajay Singh | November 19, 2014



“Jo Kaha So Kiya (we did what we promised).” That is the slogan on posters prominently bearing the picture of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal. These are signs of the poll fever which is set to return to the national capital in a virulent form.

While driving from Ghaziabad to Delhi one gets slightly distracted by such tall claims. What did he exactly do in 49 days to make such a proclamation? As you read the poster, you will find that Kejriwal’s decision to provide free drinking water was mentioned as a proof to corroborate his claim.

There is nothing wrong if someone claims credit for one’s good work. But anybody with a memory of slightly over two decades will find the slogan “Jo Kaha So Kiya” short on innovation. Is it not true that we heard this slogan in the wake of the Babri mosque demolition? The first Uttar Pradesh assembly elections following the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya saw a radical polarisation of society on communal lines. The BJP’s chief ministerial face Kalyan Singh came up with this slogan which implicitly conveyed a sense of bravado over the demolition. There were posters all over Uttar Pradesh with this slogan, “Jo Kaha So Kiya.” Kalyan Singh, however, lost the election to a powerful combination of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Notwithstanding the incongruity of this slogan on Kejriwal’s posters across Delhi, the more pertinent issue here is acute paucity of innovative ideas or even slogans in the AAP. In contrast to its earlier image of a political party run by extraordinarily energetic non-political people committed to a cause, the AAP has fallen into a rut. The party is not only recycling old slogans but also borrowing ideas from the BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. Take for instance the party’s projection of Kejriwal as the most popular leader in Delhi.

Is this not akin to the manner in which Narendra Modi was projected on the national stage? What is particularly striking is the AAP’s thesis that postulates Modi is the most popular leader across the country and Kejriwal is the most popular in Delhi. This thesis is self-defeating in many ways. Kejriwal had contested election against Modi and rubbished his development model in Gujarat during the course of the Lok Sabaha elections. Apparently, the AAP’s position on the BJP and Modi consistently exposes its ideological hollowness. The party is quite enamoured of the BJP’s electoral success and often not averse to blindly emulating tactics employed by the Hindutva forces.

“Jo Kaha So Kiya” is a reaffirmation of the fact that the AAP, which began as a party of romantic novices who dreamt of changing the system, has acquired all the features of a regular political party. With this metamorphosis, Kejriwal loses his original sheen and only appears a shade better than Sheila Dikshit.

 

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