Nobody of their proper thoughts may have imagined that the 22 vows spelt out by B R Ambedkar after embracing Buddhism in 1956 may value a Dalit a seat within the council of ministers 66 years later; that too when there’s a rush to applicable the architect of the Structure.
However that’s the destiny that befell Aam Aadmi Get together’s (AAP) Rajendra Gautam within the first week of October.
A minister within the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi authorities, Gautam needed to resign after the BJP whipped up a marketing campaign round his presence at an occasion the place Dalits renounced Hinduism to hitch Buddhism.
Movies purportedly displaying Gautam ridiculing Hindu deities had been shared on social media by the saffron celebration.
The row got here as a bolt from the blue for the AAP, which is trying to make inroads in poll-bound Gujarat by a high-decibel marketing campaign led by its supremo, Kejriwal.
Kejriwal made the celebration equipment ship a curt message to the media: “Delhi CM and AAP Nationwide Convener Arvind Kejriwal is extraordinarily displeased with minister Rajendra Pal Gautam”.
The die was solid and Gautam was gone. AAP’s motion towards Gautam – for repeating the vows of Ambedkar – comes even because the celebration’s authorities deftly performs the Dalit card every time it fits it.
Putting in the pictures of Ambedkar in Delhi authorities places of work, a two-hour musical on the Dalit icon and Kejriwal inviting a Dalit household to his residence being the outstanding examples.
No tears had been shed for Gautam within the AAP. Many within the celebration say Gautam needed to go as a result of Kejriwal was going through backlash in Gujarat.
The AAP supremo was referred to as anti-Hindu and posters of Kejriwal with a cranium cap emerged within the state. The celebration didn’t wish to antagonise higher castes for Dalits who type a miniscule 7% within the state and have some impression in round a dozen Meeting seats.
In different phrases, Gautam turned collateral harm within the ballot battle for a celebration that’s alien to ideology and places a premium on election victories.
“All programmes of the AAP are tilted in the direction of the BJP. In a means, the BJP is far more clear however the AAP is like an iceberg. The AAP is a mirror picture of the BJP,” Ashok Bharti, Chairman of Nationwide Confederation of Dalit and Adivasi Organisations, instructed DH.
Many have arrived at an identical evaluation. Just lately, Cambridge College professor Shruti Kapila, a perceptive chronicler of Indian politics, termed the AAP a “lazy and guilt-free model of the BJP” in her column for a information web site.
For the reason that India Towards Corruption motion birthed the AAP, the celebration has cultivated a strategic silence on among the most burning problems with the day, permitting it to wade by the murky waters of the nation’s politics with its handy welfarism.
AAP leaders declare that they can’t fall into the BJP lure in an election state and are assured that they might clarify it to the Dalit constituency later.
However right here’s a query: would the celebration sacrifice Gautam if Punjab or Delhi elections had been not far away?
In Punjab, Dalits represent 31.9% of the inhabitants whereas in Delhi, the determine is round 15% – in each instances, a decisive issue on the subject of vote.
“Displaying images of Ambedkar are good. However what did they do for Dalits? Didn’t they promise to make a Dalit Deputy Chief Minister in Punjab?” asks Bharti.
With an “ideology-less” framework, Kejriwal tries to challenge that the AAP indulges in “politics of labor” — like a startup offering providers diligently — and doesn’t get slowed down with ideology.
However Deputy CM Manish Sisodia proclaims himself a proud Rajput whereas one other of Kejriwal’s shut aide Atishi decides to dispose of her surname Marlena – a mixture of Marx and Lenin – fearing that she could also be mistaken for a Christian. Unusually, some posters in her constituency show her surname as Singh, an assertion of caste identification.
Whereas the middle-class could also be taken in by Kejriwal, a few of his former colleagues, who don’t wish to be recognized, level out that it is just election and energy that issues for the celebration.
If an election has made Kejriwal and the AAP sacrifice a Dalit chief, Muslims within the nationwide capital obtained nothing besides resounding silence at key instances regardless of having voted overwhelmingly for the AAP.
Kejriwal chanted Hanuman Chalisa on reside TV forward of Delhi election however remained silent when riots broke out in north-east Delhi every week into his victory; he remained mum on anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh at the same time as BJP leaders tried to bait him into saying one thing.
By now, Kejriwal is aware of that an ideological stand is probably not wanted. Nonetheless, this presents an issue as one can’t transfer forward in politics with mere welfarism (decrease electrical energy and water payments) as a ballot plank.
For now, although, Kejriwal is comfy along with his experiment. Whether or not this USP is a masterstroke or a path to political oblivion stays to be seen.