The Aam Aadmi Party’s victory certainly makes a dent in the image of the BJP in 2020. There are celebrations by opponents of the national party but there are also critiques on offer by those who would like AAP to be more committed to the goal of transforming politics as opposed to just succeeding at it. Commentary has also followed Arvind Kejriwal invoking Bharat Mata on victory day and reciting the Hanuman Chalisa in a TV interview. To paraphrase a TV studio debate, Kejriwal is now Modi-lite and AAP offers us “non-toxic” Hindutva. According to this version, although Kejriwal and AAP defeated the BJP, the BJP won anyhow and Narendra Modi of course always wins, in this instance by transforming Kejriwal!
First, the sheer lack of knowledge about the history of AAP is on display here. At a time when Modi was still in Gujarat, Kejriwal was leading a mass movement in Delhi whose main iconography was a large image of Bharat Mata. He was then accused of being an RSS agent (a question this writer asked him at the time). AAP was born out of the social churn that began in many parts of India with what is now known as the Anna Movement in 2011. Essentially an anti-corruption movement it would decimate the Congress, then in power at the Centre. It was the brainchild of Kejriwal who brought together figures such as Gandhian Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev plus Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (both now staunch backers of the BJP) to kick-start the movement.