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Monday, May 29, 2023

Latest AAP drama: Kejriwal claims he is under ‘house arrest’, Delhi Police denies

If there is one party in Bharat which thrives on protests and spit-and-scoot politics designed keeping TV news cycles in mind, it is AAP. So when Punjab farmers decided to lay siege to borders of Delhi demanding roll back of recent farm reforms introduced by the centre, the AAP government in the city-state was in a quandary.

Should they side with protestors who had jammed the city’s borders and had refused to move to designated protest sites in the national capital thus inconveniencing Delhites, or should they join hands with the protestors and other Opposition parties to target their favourite punching bag – Modi?

Of course, the fact that the Kejriwal-led Delhi government had notified one of the three new Central farm laws (the one which allows farm produce to be sold outside mandis), and was still ‘examining the remaining two’, did not enter into the equation.

AAP’s anytime-protest brand of politics has rarely bothered with maintaining consistency between their positions on policy issues, and their public posturing. Of course, most political parties exhibit U-turns depending on prevailing political winds, but they at least wait for some time to lapse or invent some rationale before making a flip flop. But with AAP, their U-turns occur in real time, and winning the daily perception battle is all the party cares for.

So, how does AAP side with the protestors while also implementing the central laws which it knows are in favour of Delhi farmers? By shifting the blame on the centre, of course! And it has truly adopted a unique tactic this time around. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has claimed he has been put under ‘house arrest’ by the Delhi Police, a charge which the police force (which reports to Union Home Ministry) has strongly denied, stating that the CM is free to move as he usually does!

Despite the hardships faced by lakhs of ordinary commuters during the Shaheen Bagh blockade, Kejriwal and his party have cheered the protestors massing at Delhi’s borders, denied permission to police to convert large stadiums into temporary protest sites, and instead offered free electricity, water and food to protestors who are demanding the right to amass near restricted areas like India Gate.

Let’s not forget the treatment meted to out-of-state labourers in the initial phase of the Covid-19 lockdown by the same AAP government – they were denied free rations and were instead forced out of Delhi through a rumour campaign that UP government had organised buses at Delhi-UP border to take them to their native villages! But the same government today is ready to foot the bill for lakhs of protestors!

In the anti-CAA Delhi riots that claimed over 50 lives, AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain has emerged as one of the key lynchpins of the riots and AAP MLAs like Amanatullah Khan, Haji Mohammed Yunus were at the forefront of inciting ordinary Muslims with incendiary speeches. AAP tried its best to spin conspiracy theories to save Tahir Hussain, and Kejriwal and his deputy Sisodia maintained a low profile throughout. To this day, they have completely escaped any hard questions over their party’s role in the riots from national media or Hindus who voted for them.

In fact, when Kejriwal decided to hold a public Laxmi-Ganesh puja during Diwali, there were some on the so-called RW too who claimed this Hindu symbolism as a victory of sorts.  Is that all it takes to forgive a man whose party leaders engineered the worst anti-Hindu rioting the national capital has seen in around 3 decades? How long will Kejriwal be allowed to get away with his gimmicks and incessant political posturing?

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