Why I believe Punjab should be afraid of Arvind Kejriwal

Hemender Sharma
Hemender SharmaOct 17, 2016 | 08:23

Why I believe Punjab should be afraid of Arvind Kejriwal

A few days before August 16, 2011 — when Anna Hazare launched his second and historic fast for the Janlokpal Bill at New Delhi's Ramlila Maidan — a close friend and an ex-RSS Pracharak came to my office in Bhopal. I worked for CNN-IBN at the time and wrote several articles for its blog in the build up to the Janlokpal campaign. I was openly routing for Anna Hazare and the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement.


My pracharak friend had specially come to congratulate me for my work and this came as a surprise to me. Upon a little prodding, he told me about a secret meeting in Ujjain, attended by top Sangh strategists. The RSS had decided to fully back Anna Hazare and his campaign during this meeting. “The idea is to fully discredit the ruling UPA government by building a campaign against corruption and later reap the benefits in the general elections in the absence of any other alternative before the people of the country,” he said.

But why were the RSS and its affiliates not using their own banner? Why was the BJP being kept out of it? My friend offered a neat argument. “During the last elections, Advaniji tried to make an issue out of corruption. He even went on a nationwide yatra on the issue of black money stuffed in foreign banks, but there was a trust deficit. People took the BJP as no different from the Congress as there were several corruption scams in BJP-ruled states. We had our own Bellary brothers. So the need is to first completely discredit the UPA on corruption without presenting ourselves as champions against corruption,” he said.

As Anna Hazare’s campaign progressed, the symbolism was difficult to miss.  Photo credit: AP

I argued that the brain behind the IAC campaign was Arvind Kejriwal, who I thought was a smart man and wouldn’t let the RSS hijack the movement. Also, there was Prashant Bhushan, and the country was then searching for an alternative to both the BJP and the Congress. My friend laughed and we moved on.

As Anna’s campaign progressed, the symbolism was difficult to miss. The background of the main stage on which Anna sat, surrounded by his now defunct team, had Bharat Mata crying for help.

RSS leaders like Ram Madhav and Tarun Vijay were welcomed. RSS cadres without their khaki shorts too had come in large numbers. In subsequent articles, I detailed how the RSS had infiltrated its cadres into key positions as convenors of various state units of the India Against Corruption campaign.

Narendra Modi had not joined the movement, but Anna Hazare did say in one of his interviews that he was impressed by the work done by the Gujarat chief minister.

The Aam Aadmi Party was born; Anna Hazare went on with his flip-flops. Arvind Kejriwal formed the government in Delhi and hoping to conquer India, he abandoned Delhi within 56 days. In the 2014 general elections, the Congress was decimated, and the AAP’s initial surge was blocked following Kejriwals’s Delhi theatrics. The rest is history. Then came the Delhi elections in 2015. The anti-BJP and anti-Modi votes, close to 69 per cent in the general elections, got together in Delhi. Everyone pitched for AAP. Even hardcore Congress loyalists moved. “Bhai saab aap ko vote de to dain lekin barbad ho jayega. BJP ko fayeda ho jayega,” a Congress supporter said to his own party's candidate in front of me.


And Arvind Kejriwal thought and believed it was "Paanch saal kejriwal" that worked. The Delhi victory got to his head and anyone who could question him was shown the door. Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were hauled up by bouncers. Kejriwal was caught on tape using foul language against them. He did everything that he pretended to stand against.

And now he wants to become the Punjab chief minister by entering through the back door. There are serious allegations that he has been bribed by Khalistanis. This can be dangerous in a border state. In the days to come, Punjab needs to be wary of Arvind Kejriwal.

Last updated: October 17, 2016 | 08:23
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