Today Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Chief Arvind Kejriwal ended his 4-day tour of Gujarat with a rally and a road show in Ahmedabad. Though he did not have prior permission, the rally continued to be peaceful except for a brief interruption by the police. During the day, he paid a visit to Sabarmati Ashram. Was it Sabarmati that woke Gandhi’s non violence traits in him, making him quote, “Forgive the violence, there was no need to protest at the BJP office.”
When there are many political parties, there are bound to be varied views, numerous accusations and difference of opinions. In an interaction, an interesting volley of questions and answers were thrown back and forth between BJP member Amit Shah and AAP member Manish Shisodia.
Here is an edited transcript as to how the dialogue might have taken place. A few characters may find their way into the dialogue but it was necessary to keep them to get the flow right.
Arvind Kejriwal: The debt of the state of Gujarat has increased manifold during Modi’s regime. Where is the development? What is your economic model, Modi?
Amit Shah: If there has been no development in Gujarat, then Kejriwal, you should contest Modi from Gujarat.
Manish Shisodia: (Shouting) I would want Kejriwal to stand up against Modi from anywhere, even in Gujarat. But first you guys decide where Modi would contest from.
Amit Shah: The decision will soon be taken. But you guys have been bought by the Congress because Congress cannot afford a direct contest with BJP.
Manish Shisodia: (Still very angry) My party has fought Congress for two years, now when the time for change has come, you people want to cash in on the situation.
Digvijay Singh: (Out of nowhere) There are serious charges against the ministers in the Gujarat government.
Amit Shah: What! Your Rahul Gandhi only recently shook hands with Ashok Chavan who is mired in Adarsh controversy.
Digviay Singh: (Quiet)
Manish Shisodia: (Unperturbed by the interruption) Modi says he has developed Gujarat, but the reality is something else. My visit has opened my eyes. Several educational institutions are in bad shape without basic amenities. Why did you not allow Kejriwal to meet Modi?
Amit Shah: (Still glaring at Digvijay Singh, turns to Shisodia) I am answerable only to people of Gujarat and I don’t think I should be answering you. Nevertheless you people should have taken prior appointment.
Digvijay Singh: (Still sulking) AAP is raising only those issues which we had raised earlier. Then the media did not cover us.
Well, if the channel had given them more time, they could have gone on and on.
The word-war is not restricted to rallies and channels. Suddenly the social media has become a battle ground for BJP and AAP supporters. Hash tags like #NaxalAAP and #ViolentBJP are dividing the Twitter community – the election has already begun on Twitter. And AAP leader Meera Sanyal may be cursing the day she praised the development in Gujarat on Twitter. Awe struck by the progress in Gujarat, she had praised the roads, the sky, the birds, the IT hub, the villages, continuous supply of electricity. She was certainly impressed. Now she has to counter all these praises as she fights the elections from South Mumbai as an AAP candidate. Wah re politics!
Meanwhile, ‘weapon’ ink found another target to splash upon – AAP leader Yogendra Yadav. At a rally, someone splashed ink on his face. He said he did not know the motive and neither was he embarrassed at the incident.
Now, can we move from AAP to some other news. AAP certainly has a way of being in the news all the time.
Disappointed at not being offered the Lok Sabha ticket, Senior Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Ram Kripal resigned from the party. The ticket was given to Misa Bharti, daughter of RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. Kripal accused the party of being devoted to ‘family justice’ instead of ‘social justice.’
Meanwhile, Lok Janshakti Party has released their first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag Paswan feature in the list. The BJP has declared its second list of candidates. Out of 52 nominees, 20 were from Karnataka and the others from West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala and Orissa. Former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and former journalist Chandan Mitra feature in the list. Yeddyurappa must be a happy man today. Remember reports of him in 2011, where he smashed the then BJP president Venkaiah Naidu’s laptop when he was asked to step down as Karnataka Chief Minister. Anyway, coming back to the nominations, what about Modi? No news. He still awaits his nomination.
While he waits, the US has hinted that they would welcome Modi as the Prime Minister and may even lift the ban on his travelling to the US which was imposed after the 2002 riots. Well, wonder what Kejriwal will have to say about this – “Modi is not a terrorist?”
Whatever he says, stay tuned with us as we summarise the happenings of each day.