AAP shuns ultra right or ultra left approach

AAP shuns ultra right or ultra left approach

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters hold a poster of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal as they celebrate party's victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, at party office in New Delhi, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Having won Delhi for the third consecutive time, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi is eschewing a confrontationist relationship with Centre and focusing on middle space politics, shunning ultra right and ultra left in the same breadth.

Unlike his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren of JMM or H D Kumamrswamy of Karnataka earlier, Kejriwal has eschewed from making his Sunday oath taking a flamboyant event of Opposition unity, choosing not to invite Opposition Chief Ministers or other political leaders outside Delhi.

At the same it has also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Sunday swearing in after winning a highly-polarised election, which saw the BJP calling Kerjiwal a terrorist and AAP leaders accusing the BJP top brass of trying to use Shaheen Bagh for electoral gains.

At the same time, AAP refrained from backing the protests at Shaheen Bagh or making any controversial anti CAA statements and instead accused the BJP of keeping Shaheen Bagh issue alive for electoral gains.

 While opposing the BJP, AAP was cautious not to be seen anti Hindutva or in opposition to national narrative of BJP. On Friday, senior AAP leader Gopal Rai spoke about “positive nationalism” practiced by AAP. “BJP’s nationalism is based on hatred, AAP’s nationalism is based on love,” said Rai.

This could be reflection of an attempt to come out with an alternative narrative, which is not seen as opposing the nationalist pitch while opposing the BJP. Delhi elections in which Shaheen Bagh remained the focal point, neither the BJP launched a vitriolic campaign against it that could convince Delhi voters, nor Congress, whose many leaders openly supported the protests, could convince the voters. Also unlike Congress, which was blamed by the BJP for stalling the court on early decision on Ram temple, AAP did not have any such historical baggage. Like BJP workers, the chant of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ was also very common among AAP workers and its meetings.

For the first time during, Kejriwal in the middle of the election campaign also projected himself as Hanuman Bhakt, somewhat like what Rahul Gandhi had done months back during Madhya Pradesh with his Shiv Bhakt posters coming up in Bhopal in September last year.

As BJP mounted a massive attack on Arvind Kerjiwal over his recital of Hanuman Chalisa on a television channel in the midst of polls, AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj said "Lord Ram has put his ardent devotee, Hanuman, on duty" to support his party.

After results of Delhi an election in the middle of which the BJP announced setting up of a trust for the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, Kejriwal visited a local Hanuman Mandir.

The success of AAP through this middle space politics, could lead to a churn in strategy of many parties as a narrative with a mix of development politics, which does not essentially confront nationalist pitch but take care of Hindu sentiments.

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