Arvind Kejriwal – A Guide to Grabbing Delhi
The elections are over and the result is that Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has managed to grab power at Delhi. The internet is full of “top ten reasons” but most of them point towards mistakes of BJP. While that cannot be ruled out, these are few other reasons how Arvind Kejriwal managed to grab Delhi.
Delhi is a Congress hotspot evident from the fact that Sheila Dixit ruled Delhi for 15 years. Hence, it is natural that Delhi selects Arvind Kejriwal as her successor.
BJP vote share has almost been the same when compared to the previous elections. The mistakes of BJP has only prevented BJP from getting more votes and has not helped AAP Win. The win of AAP should be attributed to these reasons:
1) Ground work – almost one year of secret ground level work :
The media had been kept away deliberately and things happened secretly. Nobody were aware that Arvind Kejriwal and his coterie were working to make it big in the elections. He had a team of dedicated foot soldiers who pumped up the required energy. Though Arvind Kejriwal had no vision in particular, the energy of these foot soldiers ensured AAP’s presence is felt. Secondly, these foot soldiers made sure that BJP and Modi are subtly abused – but away from Media glare. As they were connecting with people of low economic growth and lower education – they were assured that there would not be any scrutiny of their claims. Which means, the volunteers were free to spread information that could be far from truth – and this would not be verified. There were AAP volunteers attempting to connect to people at Metro station, Railway station and other such public places. And this was happening for months together – something which BJP or anybody else failed to notice.This connection coupled by subtle abuses at center and open apologies for Arvind Kejriwal’s infamous resignation – made sure that Arvind Kejriwal’s “Bhagoda” image is diluted.
2) Unification of BJP’s Opposition Parties :
Though this is virtually a death of democracy, it did help halt BJPs winning spree. Arvind Kejriwal’s closeness to Congress party came in handy during the elections. Congress not only knew that it would manage to get only a finger full of seats but also knew that it could effectively cut into AAP’s vote share. Hence Congress downplayed its election campaign. The campaign were deliberately weak and there are rumors that Congress had actually encouraged people to vote for AAP during personal campaigns. BSP’s campaign was unusually weak as Mayawati feared that Dalit votes could cut AAP’s vote share. Hence BSP did not campaign with its usual rigor. Mamta Bannerjee announced to her supporters to vote for AAP at Delhi. MIM – which usually manages to get few seats at Delhi’s muslim majority locations – withdrew its candidature and requested Muslims to vote for Kejriwal’s AAP. This ensured that AAP gets a great chunk of Muslim vote share. CPI and leftist parties too asked their supporters to vote for AAP. The elections looked like a fight between a single party – BJP vs a combination of oppositions – Congress + MIM + BSP + Mamta Bannerjee + CPI + MIM + AAP. Though BJP managed to increase their vote share in spite of this, AAP got a lions share of the vote base of other parties.
Had this secret coalition been announced before, it would have made many voters go with BJP as they would have felt that AAP has a pact with Congress and others. So this coalition remained unofficial.
3) Misquoting PM Modi’s Schemes and Confusing People :
Arvind Kejriwal is in a way lucky that his second largest vote bank (after Minorities) comprises of uneducated individuals. Kejriwal termed PMs Jan Dhan Yojana as Fake. But when Bank account were being opened people were actually happy. They were even more happy because Narendra Modi had instituted an insurance cover of 1 lakh per bank account opened through Jan Dhan Yojana. Kejriwal saw this as a threat and immediately declared that Modi has cheated people because people will get their Rs.1 Lakh only after their death and hence the bank account would be useless. People then trusted Kejriwal. In a way Kejriwal utilized the weakness (lack of education) of such people to his favor. This negative campaign coupled with the innocence of this section of people resulted in widespread hatred against Modi’s development plans there by paving way for Kejriwal’s communist agenda to take over. Kejriwal’s take on this was extremely convincing even for educated but uninformed youth that they sold themselves out to this negative marketing.
BJPs Jagdish Mukhi was never announced as a CM candidate by BJP. But Kejriwal “felt” that he would be the CM candidate and plastered his photos by wording derogatory remarks against Mr. Mukhi and made sure that such banners are pasted in public transportation systems. Mukhi himself got confused and started believing that he could be a CM candidate. This created a lot of infighting within BJP – which worked in AAPs favor.
There are several instances where Kejriwal successfully misquoted many such schemes initiated by Narendra Modi government – this made him a big hit – especially with his vote bank.
4) The Slogan “Modi For PM, Kejriwal for CM” :
It seems inevitable that Narendra Modi has to be invoked for any election victory. During the previous Lok Sabha elections, Arvind Kejriwal’s vehement opposition to Narendra Modi was a reason for people to vote against AAP. This time Arvind Kejirwal learnt that mistake and realized that Narendra Modi is a much taller figure and cannot be compared to him. The campaign was centered around the slogan “Modi for PM, Kejriwal for CM”. As Delhi is a localized election, this attracted many soft supporters of Modi who eventually voted Kejriwal as the Chief Minister of Delhi. Even few “die-hard” supporters of Modi have voted for Kejriwal at Delhi – impressed with this slogan and his realization about Narendra Modi. Looks like Modi is still the winner.
5) Most of Foreign funded Media threw their weight behind Arvind Kejriwal :
Media – touted to be the fourth pillar of Democracy – made sure that Arvind Kejriwal gets all the limelight he needs, starting from a month before elections. By repeatedly telecasting personalized events about Arvind Kejriwal, Media made sure that he becomes an household name at Delhi. At a point of time Media was reporting a live commentary of Kejriwal’s day to day affairs which helped in his identification. At the same time, Media indirectly mocked at Modi government on trivial issues such as Modi’s Republic Day dress and so on – which caught people’s attention (whom otherwise would be oblivious to such trivial events). Media tried to make a hero out of Arvind Kejriwal – and tried to overlook Modi government’s genuine attempts at developing India. This bias on Media helped to sway many first time voters in favor of Arvind Kejriwal. Most first time voters have an inherent excitement at their new found eligibility to elect their representative. Media made sure it channelized this excitement in favor of Arvind Kejriwal.
The reality is that Delhi is not even a state election. But Media ensured that this Delhi Election – 2015 is viewed on par with Lok Sabha elections of 2014. Media made sure that voice of Arvind Kejriwal is heard. Arvind Kejriwal was even given enough liberty to ensure that sections he dislikes were edited out and sections that he felt would impact AAP, were repeatedly telecast. Due to media support, serious revelations such as #HawalaAtMidnight were made into a practical joke. Media ensured that such revelations do not reach the people as it should have been.
In the whole of January, during every interview of Arvind Kejriwal – few reporters would question Arvind Kejriwal on his vision for development of Delhi or his promise to the people of Delhi – there by helping him reach the voters. Kejriwal never had to face any embarrassing questions. But while interviewing Kiran Bedi, media made sure that embarrassing questions were put forth. This technique of negative campaigning created a negative perspective on Kiran Bedi while enriching Kejriwal at the cost of Media ethics.
6) Effective Marketing of the words ‘Corruption’ and ‘Honest’ :
Arvind Kejriwal’s marketing of the word corruption added the much needed weaponry to fight elections. Though Arvind Kejriwal did not include Anna Hazare’s Janlokpal bill in his manifesto, people were made to believe that he is a crusader. It was pretty much late when it was revealed that AAP has received billions of money in mysterious funding (#HawalaAtMidnight) which is an evidence of corruption and is far from honesty. The delay in such revelations did not give the necessary reasoning time in the minds of fence-sitters – who eventually succumbed to AAP’s effective marketing of the word ‘Corruption’.
AAP marketed that they would reveal the names of donors in their website. Innocent people could easily succumb to such resolutions and made to believe that this would improve transparency. #HawalaAtMidnight revealed that many of these donors are “virtual” or non-existent. But this strategy works on the pretense that people would not care to verify the transactions and would happy seeing a web page full of names. AAP made this strategy their USP and advertised their party based on this “transparency”.
7) The amazing technique of vicious allegations :
The technique used by AAP is pretty interesting. This technique involves a bit of name-calling and more of shaming without any relevant proofs or knowledge. The strategy takes full advantage of people’s naivety and effectively manipulates their emotions into believing that everyone else is corrupt.
Consider this example: Assume that Mr XY is honest politician who works for the benefit of Country. Assume that Mr. AK is pretty new to the scene and people in general are not aware of the kind of person that AK really is, but tends to believe him. But Mr.AK is well versed in the technique of vicious allegations. A few weeks before elections, Mr.AK alleges that Mr. XY is involved in a huge corruption. Because AK has media support, media ensures that the allegation is made into a news and reaches people on a scandalous proportion. Naturally, Mr.XY will get defensive about this and would threaten to sue Mr.AK. At this point, Mr.XY would be subject to severe trauma due to such baseless allegation – that his spirit is demoralized and his capacity to campaign for his party gets diminished. This is AK’s first step to victory. By the time Mr.XY files a case against AK or by the time Mr.XY seeks AK’s apology, Media will make sure that the damage is done. Because according to AK, when alleged, the onus lies on Mr.XY to prove it otherwise.
Mr.AK could have gone to court to substantiate his claims if he felt Mr.XY is genuinely corrupt. But the technique works by circumventing logic, legalities and reasoning. People – the electorate – would certainly be confused at all this and as a safer game, would tend to avoid voting for Mr.XY. Mr. AK succeeds here in getting that vote.
To make things more simple, by this technique, I can call you – the reader – a murderer (sorry, no offense meant, just an example) and make sure that Media publishes this. Now according to this logic, the onus lies on you to prove that you are not a murderer. In the meantime, Media makes sure everyone gets to “know” that you are a murderer. Now, even if you could easily prove it otherwise, it is not going to help you as media had damaged your reputation already. Perceptions in the minds of people may take a long time to change when alleged this way.
8) Minority Appeasement and Caste Politics :
This is what Congress party – the ideological parent of AAP – once stood for. Congress has ensured that it had given an effective knowledge transfer to AAP before 2014 elections. In India you can be secular only when you wear an Islamic skullcap. Kejriwal spared no time in grabbing the nearest skullcap and wearing it over whenever he happens to visit a Muslim majority area. This ensured that he is seen as secular by minorities of India. Additionally, Kejriwal seems to have refused to sing the national song of India – the controversial “Vande Mataram” in a sincere attempt to woo Muslims. AAP’s senior member Prashant Bhushan’s claim that Kashmir needs to be given away – struck a chord even with overseas muslims – so much that Pakistan and Saudi Arabian newspapers were all praise for Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP. Additionally by tying up with Imam Bukhari of Delhi and by having private discussions with him – he won the confidence of good number of Minorities. By branding Batla House encounter as Fake (an operation where armed forces were rescued by killing terrorists) and promising to order investigations against that – Kejriwal managed to successfully hoodwink the minorities. Though Indian muslims could read Hindi in Devanagari, Kejriwal made sure that the words in AAP cap is written in Arabic script when visiting a muslim majority colony. Yogendra Yadav, a senior leader of AAP – goes to the extent of renaming himself as Saleem in an attempt to woo muslims. These activities motivated Indian Muslims to group with Kejriwal en masse.
Just weeks ahead of elections few Churches at Delhi were desecrated. Naturally media would point a finger a BJP when these kind of events occur and BJP knows it well. Logically, BJP would not even want to hear such a thing – especially during elections – as it could make Christians loose confidence on BJP. As congress is nowhere in this elections, such vandalizing acts would directly benefit AAP and all the parties AAP, BJP and Congress knows this well. While it is still unknown as to who did that and while it certainly is not an act initiated by BJP (or its affiliates), AAP gained the confidence of Christians as expected.
An exceedingly good majority of Christians and Muslims have traditionally voted for Congress. Because Congress deliberately under-campaigned and because of the strategy mentioned above, Congress gave away minority votes to AAP.
While this has not cast any dent on BJP’s vote share (The share of Minorities voting BJP is very small), it has given more votes to AAP.
Within 2 years, AAP has remarkably learnt the nuances of Caste Politics. By successfully twisting “Upadravi Gotra” and making it look like an insult at the whole community, AAP succeeded in getting a lion’s share of Baniya votes.
9) The Communist agenda – Offering Freebies :
This is a dangerous trend in politics and has the potential to destroy India’s economy. While on one hand Narendra Modi has made sure India is the fastest growing major economy. On the other hand, such offer of freebies would stall India’s progress if this trend is allowed to replicate. Kejriwal’s second major vote bank (after Minorities) are the adults who lack education and forms a part of the lower middle economical category of people. Modi’s development agenda sounded was pretty overwhelming and this section of people were attracted towards various offer of freebies. During door to door campaigns at slums which was happening secretly for an year, Kerjiwal is rumored to have promised a lot of freebies which has drawn people to him. Middle class were charmed by the offer of free current and free water. Students were attracted with the idea of free Wifi. On the outset, people overlook the conditions that apply.
10) Money Power – Tons of Cash :
There were enormous amount of cash at the disposal of AAP this time. It was quite visible across Delhi. Huge banners and lighted billboards on Arvind Kejriwal had become a common sight at Delhi. It is also been rumored that many AAP volunteers were paid money – like a salary – that were sourced through corporate donations. This ensured that volunteers were able to work full time – even leaving their jobs. It was rumored that college students were paid incentives and were effectively utilized for campaigns. There were areas in Delhi where AAP used children for campaigning – under a certain contract. These children were not aware that they were being used for AAP campaigns, but still AAP managed to elicit a positive public opinion which such hoardings. The grand campaign is a perfect evidence of how AAP has effectively utilized the vast amount of cash that was at its disposal during the elections.
11) Creating a frenzy by projecting AAP as “Revolution” / “Alternate Politics” :
AAP practices the same congress-style politics which comprises of Minority appeasement and caste politics – and such a thing is not “Revolutionary” in any way. But the way in which it was projected was so convincing to innocent uninformed youth that they were being led into believing that them supporting AAP would mean they are participating in a “Revolution”. This bunch of such innocent uninformed youth flock together all imprudently believing that they are a part of “Revolution” and canvas for the next bunch of such youth. This sort of canvassing ensured many innocent youth were drawn towards AAP.
I congratulate Mr.Arvind Kejriwal on becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi. I Hope Kejriwal works towards Narendra Modi’s vision for a developed India.