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HomeOpinionKejriwal's Deshbhakti budget can't be the political alternative India deserves

Kejriwal’s Deshbhakti budget can’t be the political alternative India deserves

The CM who keeps a Reynolds pen in his shirt pocket — that is the image people have of Kejriwal.

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Arvind Kejriwal has had aspirations to become India’s prime minister since the day he sat on stage with Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Maidan as an obscure bureaucrat-turned-activist trying to make India corruption-free. His journey from that stage to Delhi chief minister’s office has been miraculous and full of drama, especially if you consider his resignation that came on a whim, and the subsequent re-election. Since then, Kejriwal has quickly turned from an over-enthusiastic ‘Nayak-style’ activist to a calculative politician who has figured out the thumb rule of making it big in Indian politics.

Clutch on to power with all your might and try to grab more of it. He ventured into Punjab and Gujarat but realised something was missing. Something stopped him from being catapulted into the league of extraordinary politicians, like Prime Minister Narendra Modi who seems invincible, at least for a decade to come. But Kejriwal’s recent speech in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha seems to indicate that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener has found the missing ingredient to become the alternative to Narendra Modi — Ram Bhakti.

Also read: BJP vs opposition is just like Coke vs Pepsi. Catch-up Hindutva won’t work

Kejriwal in Modi colour

With his Deshbhakti or Patriotism Budget, Kejriwal has taken the most predictable path of being a role model Hindu who also offers development. Problem is, Narendra Modi has already aced the game in 2014 nationally and in Gujarat from 2001 onwards. Remember ‘vikas’ and ‘Hindu Hriday Samrat’? Use these two phrases, and Modi’s image automatically pops up.

Many would say Kejriwal is playing the smartest politics in the Modi era by competing on Hindutva and nationalism. But how’s it really smart and innovative if every politician — from temple-hopping Rahul Gandhi to Chandi path-reciting Mamata Banerjee — is doing it? It may get you a few votes in the near term but it’s a race to the bottom in the long run.

TV journalist Rajat Sharma said in a program that Kejriwal has offered senior citizens an all-paid visit to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya only because of Narendra Modi who changed the political narrative in the country, from minority appeasement to the one in which Hindus, Bhagwan Ram and mandir are relevant. He did make a relevant point. Kejriwal, so far, rode the wave of success solely based on his educated, pro-development and ‘aam aadmi’ image. Adding on the Ram Rajya angle shows he’s trying too hard to be like Modi, which he’ll inevitably fail at because there’s a Yogi Adityanath right behind Modi with his solid Hinduwadi credentials.

In fact, Yogi, who has been ranked as the best performing CM for the third time in a row, only makes Kejriwal second to him. Add to that Yogi setting ‘anti-national elements’ right by recovering Rs 23.36 lakh from persons accused of damaging public and private property during the anti-CAA violence in Uttar Pradesh, which makes him a heavyweight champion among the PM aspirants of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Also read: For Arvind Kejriwal, governance is a journey from one gimmick to another

Kejriwal is not playing in his category

Kejriwal is trying to fight in the same Hindu-heavyweight category against not just one but two boxers — Modi and Yogi. He’s bound to get knocked out.

Which is why Kejriwal’s patriotism budget and the path he’s trying to tread to reach Lok Kalyan Marg can’t possibly be the political alternative Indians will opt for when pitted against the BJP. Modi’s BJP, in 2019, had a vote share of 37 per cent. Trying to tap into that vote share by calling yourself a Hanuman bhakt and Ram bhakt is like shooting for the stars, because the superstar of that arena is Narendra Modi.

Kejriwal’s only viable option to launch himself nationally was to keep insisting on governance and policy-making, much like he did in the Delhi assembly election in February 2020 where AAP won a lion’s share of 62 seats and just left eight for the BJP in a highly-polarised election fought on the heels of Delhi riots and anti-CAA protests. Winning 62 seats based solely on development and welfare schemes is Kejriwal’s mojo. And this isn’t the first time he’s come to power on the good governance pitch.

Hunger for power can do things to rational thinking, evident in how Arvind Kejriwal is planning to take on Narendra Modi on a national level — nothing less than harakiri. Rahul Gandhi also tried to be a janeudhari Brahmin to win over the hearts of staunch Hindus but he failed. Which is why Arvind Kejriwal must try and create his own unique image — one of a bureaucrat-turned-politician who knows the in and out of governance and policymaking.

The CM who keeps a Reynolds pen in his shirt pocket — that is the image people have of Kejriwal. He should not forget that, else he is bound to get completely overshadowed in playing the better Hindu against Modi and Yogi.

The author is a political observer and writer. Views are personal.

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  1. Oh man! Made an honest attempt to find substance. Even when a bjp supporter reads this, he’ll find it difficult to find anything sensible in this. What Kejriwal is trying to do is clearly ‘keep talking about development, but also add things on which bjp relies heavily so that they are not the custodians’. But well, it’s Shekhar Gupta style journalism.

  2. Always see positive Ak has done good work in Delhi hence people choose him again.
    Modi has done good work at national level hence people choose him again.
    Delhi work- Water Electricity Education Women Empowerment Surplus Budjet.
    CentralGovt work- Article 360 in J&K
    Hard on Terrorism Road & Railway development


    • NaMo did only danger. From 2001 onwards he is mainly backed by Hard Right which is exuberant in inflicting ruthless torture on India’s enemy minority under the guise of Hindutva. Otherwise there is nothing to substantiate why Modern Day Nero is succeeding in crumbling all the obtacles in his goal to be more and more powerful.

  3. At a time when Congress party is moving towards its destined journey towards extinction, political space will have to be filled by some one as political landscape at any and every time abhors vacuum . Other regional political bosses in different states are not able to withstand the onslaught of nationalist hammer of BJP , it is but natural some one will emerge as a legitimate alternative to challenge BJP in years 2045-50 when BJP starts showing age-related infirmities . It may be Kejriwal or Otherwal . Time will tell. At present it can be said that process to find alternative to BJP has to start . India can not always afford to wait for 6-7 decades to find alternatives . the process must go on and needs to be supported by media , don t ridicule .

  4. Bhediya ( Kejriwal ) Sher ( Modi ) ka khaal pehen ke ayega tabbhi pehechana jayega, Laakho ko Ram Mandir ke darshan karvao,
    Delhi Governmentt ke paise udaao, par jab National election honge, tab Sher , Sher he dikhega aur Ye Bhediya, Bhediya bana rahega.
    Jai Sri Ram – we know you can chage colour Mr Chemelion C( K)ejriwal

  5. This article is completely biased against Kejriwal. It predicted that Kejriwal’s strategies are bound to fail and he finds no chance against Modi and Yogi. The truth is Kejriwal defeated Modi hands down not only once, but twice. Yogi has not faced Kejriwal in a direct fight, but my feeling is that Yogi cannot stand upto Kejriwal.

  6. Stop this nonsense. Talk about education, helth, home, shelter, road, infrastructure, pollution etc etc. Not about religion or cast.

  7. The writer is very much terrified of Arvind Kejriwal just like his beloved Supremo Narendra Modi and its very much evident from his writing. Just to cut it short. You like it or not Arvind Kejriwal is the UNDISPUTED leader to become the next Prime Minister of India.
    Hats off to his mind blowing performance in Delivering more than his promises with Excellent Governance with total integrity and Honesty without a single case of Corruption for the last 5 years. Be it FREE Healthcare, Education, Electricity, Water, CCTV, FREE RIDES FOR WOMEN IN DTC BUSES, SEWERS.

  8. Everyone here is commenting in how wrong this article is they should not expose Kejriwal like this but it is true one thing we can expect from print is that it tells the truth kejriwal always had the aspirations to become a prime minster he is authoritarian leader we can see this from his speeches and as he expand we can see scam happen ing to fund his political aspirations this truth for every national level politics bjp is also managing the fund this way

  9. Author’s real angst is that the political class is slowly courting Hindus, something which the author feels only Mussulmans have the exclusive right to and was in fact having such a wonderful time the past 60 years.

    Don’t feel too disheartened dear author. Your brethren’s prodigious numbers will soon smother the Hindus. Happy days will be back!

  10. It was written in manifesto of AAP so they are just full filling their promise unlike other parties. what’s wrong in it ?

  11. I am waiting for the day when such radical and immoral articles are stopped being published. The topics we educated people should worry about is policy and not religion. Educate people ThePrint. You are a media house of respect. Instead of publishing this, you should try exposing all governments on the grounds of health and education. Make this a big issue and bring it in streamline. Nothing good will happen to anyone by discussing religion and vote bank. Please for God sake, stop this non sense

  12. One can feel the disappointment in Begum Zainab Sikandar’s writing. With platforms like anti Brahminism, socialism, social justice etc all gone, the good governance platform was the one that self certified liberals had put much hope on to take on BJP and Shri Narendra Modi. But Shri Arvind Kejriwal not is an IIT engineer for nothing. He had fooled all those who propelled him to the current position. And he will continue to do so. For him, the end justifies the means. Of course, he will be a failure. But you cannot fault him for trying, principles be damned.

  13. The article is high on hopes & idealism but low on realpolitik. Firstly whether it is AK, RG, Mamta or anyone else, by layering their core ideology with a generous dash of Deshbhakti & Hindu love they are merely trying to keep their voter base intact. It is a sort of antidote to BJP’s plank of labeling everyone as anti-national or Hinduphobic. Secondly AK is doing fine balancing act here by offering a strong dose of Hinduism plus Deshbhakti plus off course his core ideology- development & no-corruption. What differentiates him from BJP is that he is NOT offering HINDUTVA, i.e. he is for Hindus but not against MUSLIMS (No Love Jihad, Ghar Vapsi, Lynchings etc). And this, though sad, is the best Muslims can expect in the current scenario in India. Wait for better times.

  14. The author need not worry. There is no way that AK is going to be an alternative. Running the relatively small municipality of Delhi doesn’t make him fit for anything other then appearing on national media.

  15. This is article is an oversimplification. Kejriwal isn’t merely aping Modi’s strategy, he is attempting to play Modi’s strategy right – not just hindutva and deskbhakti, but the two combined with actual good governance and development. Kejriwal has proven he can do the latter better than both Modi and yogi, and so all he needs to do is to show the majority that why go for 1 in 3, when they can get 3 in one (a marketing strategy that sells products really well in India)

  16. How is Deshbhakti wrong? Why deshbhakti should be prerogative of only BJP.
    Author should try loving this country for a change.

    • Alas! we dream. If she and her likes were capable of that our country would not be on fire every 2 years.

  17. Sri Lanka has banned BURQA and madrassa education.

    Will AK who is known for his support to anti CAA PROTESTORS and rioters in DELHI with biryani and mineral water implement the same policy like Sri Lanka to bring our brothers and sisters to a new dawn or will he play appeasement politics.

  18. Modi was CM for 12 yrs, so had experience of runing a state.AK’s experience in runing a municipality can’t help him. All PM’s except Nehru,GAndhis had experience of runing a state before they became a PM. A party which gets 20 seats in Surat munucipal elections and starts dreaming of capturing state can’t be taken seriously by any one.

  19. If you want to try and win a trophy, you got to play on the turf laid for the tournament. You can’t expect to lay your own different turf that suits you! Whether we like it or not, BJP has managed to lay stuff that suits it for the tournament. Others are being forced to play on it much against their grain and wish. Only way they can hope to change the turf is by coming to power.

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