After a Big Win in Delhi, is Kejriwal the New Face of Opposition?
After fighting the Delhi elections with the 'Ache Beeten 5 Saal, Lage Raho Kejriwal' catchphrase, what will be the next slogan for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)?
Perhaps it can opt for: 'Delhi Model Layenge, Desh Mein Failayenge'
After Kejriwal's bumper win in the Delhi dangal, the katha jor garam in the political corridors is:
This is an obvious and crucial question. Obvious, because since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition has been looking for a strong leader to fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A leader who will, like PM Modi, be heard all across the nation – from Jammu to Chennai, from Kolkata to Mumbai. A leader who is not limited to a certain region and who can defeat the BJP's poll machinery with a similar zeal and strategy. Kejriwal's name figures in the list of leaders who fit the criteria.
Given AAP's third win in Delhi, it looks like Kejriwal tops this list.
However, despite the BJP losing Assembly elections back-to-back, PM modi tops the chart in terms of nationwide popularity. Unlike the BJP, the AAP doesn't enjoy a traditional backing in the form of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). So, why do people view Kejriwal as a leader who can look PM Modi in the eye?
1. Governance Model
In 2014, Modi introduced the 'minimum government, maximum governance policy,' which kept losing relevance with each passing year. But with free electricity and water supply, affordable education and mohalla clinics, under AAP, Delhiites, got 'direct benefit'.
In his poll campaigns, Kejriwal successfully conveyed his 'vikas model' to the people of Delhi. Katha jor garam is, will other non-BJP states succeed in adopting this governance model, to keep the BJP at bay?
2. Centrist Politics
Kejriwal's stand on Shaheen Bagh protests and his decision to recite the 'Hanuman Chalisa' on national television has portrayed him as a centrist leader.
Essentially, Kejriwal countered the BJP's nationalism with soft nationalism, where you remain a favourite of the Hindus, without upsetting minorities. Though Modi continues to rule the hearts of Hindus, Kejriwal's governance bonus with Hanuman Chalisa makes him loved by Hindus too.
3. Political Footprint
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, BSP supremo Mayawati, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and DMK chief MK Stalin – they are are all popular leaders in their respective states, but the AAP's footprint crosses the Delhi border.
Kejriwal has made his mark in Punjab. The AAP has fought elections in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh too. Though Delhi is a Union Territory, it is very crucial because it's the national capital. When Kejriwal formed the AAP in 2012, from Kerala to Tamil Nadu to Kashmir, people were willing to join him.
4. Careful Campaigning
If political pundits are to be believed, the BJP has the skill to sell ice to an Eskimo, but Kejriwal was seen deftly combating the saffron party’s strategy in Delhi. Kejriwal managed to counter every move of the BJP.
The Delhi elections may have come to an end with the results being declared, but the game has just begun.
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