How Arvind Kejriwal’s appeal to vote for anyone but BJP lacks agenda, strengthens Modi

By: | Updated: November 27, 2017 1:05 PM

Gujarat election 2017: A day before PM Narendra Modi's election rallies in Gujarat, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to people of the state to vote for anyone but BJP in the upcoming polls.

gujarat elections 2017, gujarat election, arvind kejriwal, aap, bjp, congress, pakistan, isiAAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a convention to mark the party’s 5th Foundation Day at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Gujarat election 2017: A day before PM Narendra Modi’s election rallies in Gujarat, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to people of the state to vote for anyone but BJP in the upcoming polls. Speaking at an event to mark the fifth anniversary of AAP at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, Kejriwal launched a scathing attack on BJP, accusing the party of being more corrupt than Congress and appealed to people of Gujarat to vote for any political party other than the ruling BJP.

While AAP is also expected to contest from some constituencies of the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly, Kejriwal’s appeal to vote for any party other than BJP was surprising for at least two reasons: First, Kejriwal didn’t appeal people to vote for AAP candidates and, in a way, conceded their defeat in advance. Second, Kejriwal indirectly appealed people to vote for the principal opposition party in the state – Congress. There is no proof yet to suggest that backchannel talks are taking place between AAP and Congress, more so in view of the 2019 General Elections which Kejriwal has predicted to be as Narendra Modi versus people of India.

For now, as far as Gujarat elections are concerned, it is apparent that Kejriwal is sympathetic towards Congress and, hence, using his own appeal as a politician to see a BJP defeat in PM Modi’s home state. However, a question arises here. Can Kejriwal’s scathing attack on BJP really affect the saffron party’s chances?

In last three years, Kejriwal’s allegations against BJP haven’t dent the saffron party’s poll prowess. In fact, the BJP has grown in strength and if opinion polls are to be considered, the saffron party is headed for another win in the state, but maybe with a truncated majority.

Leadership and a clear agenda are among top factors that affect voting behavior in India. Kejriwal’s appeal to voters to defeat BJP also doesn’t give people a solid agenda they can follow, or a leadership they should pursue with hope. Right now in Gujarat, only BJP has a clear leadership in form of CM Vijay Rupani, who has behind him the weight of PM Narendra Modi. As far as the opposition Congress is concerned, there is still no clarity on who would be the CM if it comes to power.

The Delhi CM also seems unsure of which party he is trying to help. On Sunday, Kejriwal also alleged the BJP succeeded in “polarising” the country in three years and realised the goal of Pakistan. “The country is going through a difficult time. The BJP is trying to divide the country by pitting Hindus against Muslims and Muslims against Hindus. What could be the biggest dream of Pakistan other than seeing India divided?” Kejriwal was quoted as saying by PTI.

“What Pakistan and ISI could not do in 70 years, the BJP has done in three years,” Kejriwal further said, adding people trying to create this divide were “ISI agents and traitors disguising as nationalists”. With the benefit of hindsight from the last three years, we now know that attacks on BJP’s nationalist credentials by the opposition have only further polarised voters in favour of the saffron party.

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