The Political Narratives that Define the 2020 Delhi Election


With the elections around the corner, Delhi has been witnessing different political narratives, mainly of the AAP and the BJP. The recent affairs in Delhi manifest the rising rivalry having two dimensions – politics of identity and politics of performance.

Ever since the CAA has been rolled out, Delhi has been turning into the epicentre of soaring voices against the controversial act passed by the center. And with less than a week left for the elections, various political personalities have been giving statements on the issue of the disturbing law and order situation in the city. While those from the state party AAP chose to be civil about it, leaders from BJP may repent about their hate speeches and inflammatory remarks both on the protestors as well as on AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.

An Unconventional Strategy

Not revealing the Chief Ministerial face for Delhi is a standalone move of the BJP to distract the voters from their actual strategy, a strategy of Hindutva-versus-others. Even though it does not justify their hate speeches, it is something that is keeping them proactive and significant. Along with the question of ‘Kejriwal versus Who?’ a closer look at this vast difference between two political ideologies leads us to another an important question of ‘Kejriwal versus What Kind?’

The Political War of Words

Remarks made by the eminent senior party leaders of the BJP such as Lok Sabha MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma and Union Minister Anurag Thakur are making headlines and pulling crowds for all the wrong reasons.

Last week, MP Parvesh Verma launched a blistering attack on the anti-CAA protestors at Shaheen Bagh, calling them ‘rapists’ and ‘murderers’. He said, “They will enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them… There is time today, Modiji and Amit Shah won’t come to save you tomorrow.” Making his anti-community stand clearer than ever, Parvesh Verma went on to say that the unfortunate incidents of persecution of Kashmiri Pandits could be repeated as the anti-CAA protestors at Shaheen Bagh could enter homes, rape, and kill women.

Anti-minority slogans such as ‘Desh Ke Gaddaaron Ko…Goli Maaro Saalon Ko’ was raised at a rally held by Union Minister Anurag Thakur in Rithala. He intensified his voice with a loud ‘Desh Ke Gaddaron Ko’, the audience responding with ‘Goli Maaro Saalon Ko’ was the tip of the iceberg.

With the communally charged statements of its leaders, the coherent strategy of the BJP, of polarisation and incitement has come at the forefront. The face of the BJP election campaign in Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in one of his rallies that people should press the BJP button on the EVM so hard, that the current is felt in Shaheen Bagh.

A different level of Hate Speech

The inciteful actions and statements of the senior leaders have been replicated by BJP’s junior leaders time and again. BJP leader Kapil Mishra exemplified the Delhi Assembly elections as a conflict between India and Pakistan, saying, “It’s going to be India versus Pakistan on February 8 in Delhi. ‘Mini Pakistans’ have been created in many places in Delhi. Shaheen Bagh is being replicated at various places.”

Addressing a public meeting in Delhi, Yogi Adityanath labelled the protestors at Shaheen Bagh as terrorists. He also said that the ancestors of the protestors at Shaheen Bagh
divided India. Transcending from ‘Acche Din’ and ‘Shreshth Bharat’ to ‘Hum’ versus ‘Woh’, the divisive politics and polarising attitude is the only election blueprint of the BJP, at a time when the real issues of discussion in Delhi should be development, economy, and welfare.

On the political war of words, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned in accusing the Kejriwal government of spearheading the protests in the national capital. We heard Yogi Adityanath saying that the Kejriwal government is supplying ‘biryani’ to the protestors at Shaheen Bagh and that the AAP Convener has been taking the aid of Pakistan to mould
the elections in his favour. A few days back, MP Parvesh Verma labelled Arvind Kejriwal a ‘terrorist’. He later clarified that he wanted to call Kejriwal a ‘Naxalite’, which didn’t help.

The AAP Way 

On the contrary, the election byline of the AAP has been projected on the lines of addressing issues like education, health, transport, women’s security. The party has been speaking outright about the idea of good governance. Several leaders of the party have asked for votes based on the past and the future implementation of these ideas.

AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal has time and again talked about local issues that have amplified the party’s connection with the people. Detailed debates and discussions have transitioned into a recitation of ‘Hanuman Chalisa’. Despite provocation from all ends, his approach towards the Shaheen Bagh issue has also been neutral. This style of positive campaigning is giving AAP an edge over the party which has rendered a
‘nationalist’ narrative to a state election.

The responses of the AAP leaders, however, have been carefully inclined towards asking the public about the credibility of the claims and remarks made by BJP leaders, rather than an unthoughtful and inconsiderate attack on them.

The results of the elections on 11th February will provide an insight into which political narrative has more weightage. The elections will be a testimony to the people of Delhi at a time when the political environment is heated due to several other issues in the periphery.

(Views expressed are strictly personal.)

 - Written by Mansha Vij

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The Political Narratives that Define the 2020 Delhi Election The Political Narratives that Define the 2020 Delhi Election Reviewed by EMN on February 06, 2020 Rating: 5

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