Is Kejriwal Modi's best friend?

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 13, 2014 03:21 hrs

On the face of it, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is the biggest threat to BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Some are already calling him the third option to be chosen over Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

He is the current darling of the mainstream media and toast of the Delhi cocktail circuit. Make no mistake about it. Kejriwal is a disruptor. But as with all disruptors you can’t really predict what and how they will disrupt.

A convoluted and curious look at how Kejriwal may be in fact indirectly helping Modi…

The strange Gadkari affair...

When Nitin Gadkari was re-elected as BJP President in 2012, then there was a serious chance that he would checkmate Modi’s rise in the BJP. It is no secret at that time that both patriarch LK Advani and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj harboured hopes to be PM.

If you remember the politics at that time, then Advani-Sushma and Gadkari were warming up to the fact that Modi should not be made a PM candidate at any cost. Gadkari himself was seen as a contender for the PM’s post.

The triumvirate had they got together would have been formidable indeed. All three harboured hopes to become PM but had a common goal of keeping Modi out so that any of them had a crack at it.

That’s why most analysts at that time were convinced that Modi would never be PM because he would never even pass the BJP leadership test.

Then Kejriwal decided to go after Gadkari.

He came out with the Purti group expose and kept going after Gadkari and the TV channels went on overdrive hounding the then BJP President. While the RSS and BJP desperately tried to hold on to Gadkari, it was a losing battle and Kejriwal delivered the knockout blow.

Gadkari’s replacement was Rajnath Singh who surprised everyone by backing Modi. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who had been wary of Modi till now, immediately saw which way the wind was blowing and jumped in.

So instead of the Advani-Gadkari-Sushma triumvirate that seemed imminent, we suddenly had a Modi-Rajnath-Bhagwat triumvirate!

That expose led to a chain of events which saw Modi being declared PM candidate. In chaos theory it is said that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can set off a tornado in Texas.

Well the flapping of the disrupter that is Kejriwal ended up unleashing the tornado called Modi. That’s the things with disrupters like Kejriwal, you never can predict how and what they will affect.

The mid-campaign kick…

In 2004, so overconfident was the BJP that they preponed elections by 6 months and launched their India Shining campaign. All that came to a cropper and the NDA was booted out of power.

In 2009, most opinion polls predicted that UPA would make marginal gains. A minority even said that NDA would make a comeback.

If you followed Advani’s campaign at that time then you would have seen it was one of sheer overconfidence. Advani attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directly even though the latter had emerged as a middle class hero after showing spine in the nuclear deal.

Advani also talked of corruption and black money stashed abroad even though at that time the populace was not much bothered about such things. That could be one of the things for the absolute drubbing that the NDA got in 2009.

The, you may have noticed that the BJP leaders were entering the third phase of overconfidence after the December 2013 Assembly results. The BJP scored 4-0 and all the leaders were strutting around as if they had won 2014 and nothing more was needed to be done.

Even Delhi seemed to be heading for re-election and the BJP would get a majority because the AAP didn’t seem to have resources to fight again in such a short time.

Then things moved fast. The Congress helped AAP come to power. AAP immediately dished out freebies. The mainstream media went totally gaga over Kejriwal. AAP went national and lakhs of people from all over India started joining the AAP.

Now this has delivered a good kick to the BJP and totally ended their over-confidence. But by all reports they appear to be going back to the drawing board.

Lok Sabha polls are at least 3 months away and that’s a long time when the AAP-media honeymoon may be over and their months of governance will be under the spotlight. The BJP on the other hand will tread with some caution and humility and that may actually help its cause.

Vote-cutter: Saffron or Congress?

Most political parties in India occupy Left politics with BJP being the only major party in the Right. When the Anna Hazare agitation broke out, it was clear that there was a great overlap between the anti-corruption supporters and BJP supporters.

So when Kejriwal formed the AAP, there was a great chance of millions of BJP voters migrating to the AAP. But Kejriwal did an extremely curious thing. Instead of occupying the Right or Centre Right, he went ahead and occupied the far Left space.

All their actions are also of Left parties: Cosying up to the Congress, pseudo secularism and practicing Kejrinomics which is eerily similar to Sonianomics. Explosive statements on Kashmir by Prashant Bhushan will further alienate the core BJP vote bank.

Veteran Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar openly implying a Congress-AAP bhai bhai will definitely not help Kejriwal’s cause.

While the Indian electorate is totally unpredictable and has defied pollsters for some time now, there’s every chance that the AAP will get more Congress and CPM voters rather than BJP ones.

It is anyone’s guess whether in the long run the Kejriwal disruption will help the Congress or the BJP! He is a butterfly whose flapping may unleash a tornado that will either topple the Modi wave or totally destroy the UPA!

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.