Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal has undergone a huge transformation since he was elected as the Chief Minister of Delhi in 2016. His devotion towards RamBhakt Hanuman, which was apparent from his recitation of the Hanuman Chalisa on national television a few days prior to the 2020 Assembly Elections, is not the only change that has manifested in the politician. Since Narendra Modi’s reelection as Prime Minister, Arvind Kejriwal has not attempted to insult him even once through his account on Twitter.
In fact, the only time Arvind Kejriwal has mentioned Narendra Modi’s name on Twitter since the 23rd of May, 2019 apart from the congratulatory message was during the run-up to the Delhi elections when he hit out at Pakistani Minister Choudhary Fawad Hussain for his comments on the Prime Minister.
नरेंद्र मोदी जी भारत के प्रधानमंत्री है। मेरे भी प्रधानमंत्री है। दिल्ली का चुनाव भारत का आंतरिक मसला है और हमें आतंकवाद के सबसे बड़े प्रायोजकों का हस्तक्षेप बर्दाश्त नहीं। पाकिस्तान जितनी कोशिश कर ले, इस देश की एकता पर प्रहार नहीं कर सकता। https://t.co/E2Rl65nWSK
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 31, 2020
Such behaviour is a far cry from the time when Arvind Kejriwal had called Narendra Modi a coward and a psychopath on the social media platform in December 2015.
Even during the run-up to the Lok Sabha Elections when every regional leader aspired to sit on the Prime Minister’s chair, Arvind Kejriwal had launched vicious attacks on Narendra Modi. However, when all of it fell flat and Narendra Modi was re-elected to power with an even greater majority than in 2014, the AAP supremo made a calculated effort to disassociated himself anti-Modi rhetoric.
In effect, during the Delhi Assembly elections, Arvind Kejriwal did all that he could to avoid a direct confrontation with Narendra Modi because he realized it isn’t a battle he could win. After his suggestion that Pakistan and Imran Khan were helping Narendra Modi win the Lok Sabha Elections and that Narendra Modi represented Nathuram Godse’s ideology did not work and the Delhi electorate gifted Narendra Modi more than 55% of its votes, Arvind Kejriwal was smart enough to recognize that personal attacks against the Prime Minister was a losing strategy for Assembly Elections and immediately changed track.
Along with that, Arvind Kejriwal has refrained from attacking the BJP on national narratives and stuck to campaigning on entirely local issues. While the BJP campaigned on Shaheen Bagh and nationalism, Arvind Kejriwal refrained from associating himself with the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and allowed the BJP to win the battle on narrative uncontested. He did so because he was perfectly aware that he would lose spectacularly if he played the game on BJP’s points.
It is for this reason that even Radical Muslims are mighty upset with Arvind Kejriwal and feel betrayed for his lack of support towards the crowd at Shaheen Bagh and Jamia. He left it for Amanatullah Khan to ensure that the possibility of a vote split among the Muslim community between the AAP and Congress did not materialize while he went around chanting the Hanuman Chalisa and demonstrating his Hanuman Bhakti. The Radical Muslims were also angry when Arvind Kejriwal recited the Hanuman Chalisa on national television but he paid them no heed.
Arvind Kejriwal played the game smartly and the Delhi electorate has rewarded him with a massive victory in the Delhi elections. He has also cemented his places as the leader of a regional party along the lines of Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal and Akhilesh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh but within a much smaller territory which has significantly less autonomy.