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Kejriwal sowed, Modi reaped
Sunday April 27, 2014 6:33 PM, Dr Javed Jamil

This may not please Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters. This will also not please Congress. But the truth remains that willingly (as argued by his detractors) or unwillingly (as argued by independent analysts) he has benefited BJP in the current elections.

AAP

Another historical truth is that whenever BJP has risen high, it has always been on others'shoulders. Before Emergency, the erstwhile Jan Sangh had only nominal influence in Indian politics. Thanks to JP movement, it became part of Janata Party government with Vajpayee as Foreign Minister. Janata Party soon disintegrated and BJP emerged as a bigger party than Jana Sangh. But for next 10 years, it again could do nothing but sit in the Opposition.

Then VP Singh emerged on the national scene, and almost every non-Congress party rallied around him. BJP too did not miss to ride VP bandwagon. It supported V P Singh from outside but this support gave BJP a golden opportunity to embark upon its Hindutva Agenda with a renewed aggression. Advani rode the Rath which ultimately led to the fall of Janata Dal government. The demolition of Babri Masjid helped BJP consolidate its Hindu Vote Bank and they ultimately got their first Prime Minister in Vajpayee. But their government could not last more than 6 years. Congress bounced back with two successive victories in 2004 and 2009.

When Anna-Kejriwal movement against corruption stirred the nation, again BJP benefited from it most. As Kejriwal had no organizational infrastructure to take advantage, the anger against Congress was used by BJP to launch the biggest ever election campaign of Independent India with the help of corporate and communal forces. Kejriwal reaped only a tiny harvest; BJP snatched the rest.

It can be confidently expected that like on previous occasions, BJP will slip from the lending shoulders sooner than later. BJP does not have an inherent ideological capacity to build its own base; its agenda is too divisive to allow any consolidation of votes. In near future, BJP cannot be expected to give up its hate-Muslim politics. Till it recognizes that negativism pays only on the short term, it cannot hope to become a permanent influence in Indian politics. Benefiting from anti-incumbency against the government can remain its only hope of coming to power.

Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, will soon have to realize that they have much more common in them than with anyone else. Kejriwal will have to understand that Gandhi is not the typical inheritor of the Congress legacy. He has shown clear signs of shifting towards a people-friendly rather than elite-friendly approach, which has been a hallmark of Congress in the past. Both of them loathe communalism as a political tool. Both will soon find that the forces of Hindutva are their common enemy. Both will have to work towards a political scenario where they are each other's alternative rather than an alternative of BJP.

Once, India has two national secular alternatives, the divisive Hindutva politics will die forever. For now, neither AAP nor Congress can afford to be soft towards each other, but after May 16, they may have to work on a common strategy to keep the BJP out. This will give both of them an opportunity to consolidate their positions and be ready for next elections, which may not be far away. Which one of them communicates better with the people will determine their future. Kejriwal is already in agitation mode. Rahul too will have to learn to agitate if he has to survive. Remaining in power for too long has killed the political side of Congress and has largely turned it bureaucratic. Without connecting to the people, a politician cannot succeed even if its performance is not bad.

What I fear most in the post election scenario is the disintegration of AAP movement. Kejriwal is a dedicated young man who has shown exemplary valour against the forces that rule the roost. While it is true that he has made several tactical mistakes (like not fighting from Delhi also apart from Varansi), what is truer is that the corporate-communal nexus systematically destroyed him on the political front. In a great tribute to Machiavellian politics, his sacrifice of Chief Minstership was turned into "running away from responsibility".

At one time it appeared that AAP may end up winning at least 50 seats. Now it is doubtful if it would even win 5. The past experience has shown that if any new political party does not win enough seats, it soon loses whatever its support base is. It remains to be seen how he regains the lost momentum. The strengthening of AAP is essential for secular polity in the country. Its downfall will be a tragedy. Congress, AAP and Left parties are the only political groups today that can claim to have national outlook; all others are communal, casteist or regional.

The only redeeming feature of the elections has been that for the first time, the role of corporate world has come under scanner. Their sinister design has also been on massive display in how they have changed Modi into a brand. If Kejriwal can rejuvenate the fight against the monopolizing tactics of corporates and Rahul sticks to his people-friendly approach, we can hope for the emergence of a healthier, cleaner and more inclusive India.



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