The recent Delhi Elections 2020 saw a landslide victory for the Aam Admi Party (AAP). In the context of the on-going protests, Kejriwal returning for another term was seen as a win of democracy over the politics of the BJP. However, this election was a loss for the BJP, but it wasn’t a loss for Hindutva politics. The AAP might not be the same as BJP, but it isn’t too different either.
Lack of Anti-Hindutva Stance
It is important to mention that until winning the elections, Kejriwal had not released any statement on the on-going protests. He had also not spoken anything on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). In fact, he had argued that had he been given more power, he would have gotten the Shaheen Bagh area cleared and free for transport movement in no time. Moreover, the party has also never voiced its opinion on the police brutality in the campuses of Delhi, and even in residential areas.
Over the last few years, Delhi has been very development-oriented policies owing to AAP. The party has always isolated itself from the religious lines and emphasised on its slogan of ‘politics of work’. However, in times like these, it is as important to take a stand against socio-political discrimination as it is to advocate for infrastructural development.
IN CONTRADICTION TO THE HINDU-BRAHMIN-MALE VOICES THAT THE BJP REPRESENTS, THE AAP IS ASSUMED TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ‘COMMON PUBLIC’, “AAM AADMI”, AS THE PARTY NAME SUGGESTS. HOWEVER, NOT ONLY ARE THE PARTY MEMBERS UPPER-CASTE, THEY ARE ALSO ALL MEN.
Although this could be justified as a tactic to get support from voters who would ideally vote for BJP in the centre, but would prefer AAP for Delhi due to its ‘development’ oriented politics, we still do expect that Kejriwal and his ministers become an active participant in the anti-CAA protests organised in different parts of Delhi, for the very reason that both the state sponsored police brutalities and counter protests against them are happening right in the heart of where his party rules. Further, their idea of ‘development’ still limits itself to education, infrastructure and employment, seen as apolitical categories ready for reform.
However, if people are subjected to communal politics and violence in their everyday, these categories can have no or very little impact on the lives of the marginalised. Hence, reform and development needs to be viewed from a political lens of empowerment by the eradication of communal oppression.
Farce of Inclusivity
In contradiction to the Hindu-Brahmin-male voices that the BJP represents, the AAP is assumed to be representative of the ‘common public’, “Aam Aadmi”, as the party name suggests. However, not only are the party members upper-caste, they are also all men.
Nine women contested the elections from AAP, and out of them eight won. Even after this, there is not even a single woman in Kejriwal’s cabinet, not even Atishi Marlena, the accomplished woman who revolutionised Delhi’s education system. Such decisions, for whatever reason it may be, tells us how upper caste men limit women from representing themselves in positions of power and thereby, reinforcing brahminical-patriarchal misogyny.
Normalization of Hindu Nationalism
Kejriwal’s politics for Delhi Elections is a mellowed down version of the same thing that BJP propagates. His politics might not be containing the divisiveness of the BJP, but it does something very crucial- normalization of Hindu nationalism. As Kejriwal celebrated his victory, his presence was met with chants of “Jai Shree Ram”, the same chant that echoed right before women in an university in Delhi were harassed. Kejriwal visited a temple right after that and thanked Lord Hanuman.
AS KEJRIWAL CELEBRATED HIS VICTORY in delhi elections, HIS PRESENCE WAS MET WITH CHANTS OF “JAI SHREE RAM”, THE SAME CHANT THAT ECHOED RIGHT BEFORE WOMEN IN A UNIVERSITY IN DELHI WERE HARASSED. KEJRIWAL VISITED A TEMPLE RIGHT AFTER THAT AND THANKED LORD HANUMAN.
The ease with which the Hindu religion has permeated into the domain of politics in India is alarming. This ease can not be seen for any other religion. It’s only Hindu political leaders who tap into their religious identities and express their devotion to cash in on a large vote bank. In this domain, the AAP is no less than the BJP.
AAP’s win is a grim reminder that Hindutva still surrounds us. It’s a reminder that we lack a strong opposition that can mobilise against this kind of politics of hate; this kind of politics of Hindu nationalism. It’s a reminder that the victory of democracy and secularism is still far-away. It’s a reminder that the reasons to get on the streets and protest are now more than ever.
Featured Image Source: Hindustan Times