Delhi Chief Minister seems to be making a shifting his position from ‘secularism’ to ‘soft Hindutva’, based on some of his recent actions. After angering the Islamists and ‘liberals’ by granting the approval to prosecute Umar Khalid under UAPA in the Delhi riots case, the CM is now aggressively promoting a puja he will hold on the occasion of Diwali.
Arvind Kejriwal has released a video, where he has informed that he and the members of his ministry will perform puja at the Akshardham temple in Delhi at 7.39 PM on 14th November. He informs that the Diwali puja along with the chants of mantra will be broadcast live on all major news channels, and he appeals the public to participate in the puja by watching the live stream.
The chief minister also said that when the 2 crore people will do the puja together on the evening on Saturday, magical waves will appear all around Delhi, and all visible and invisible forces will bless the people of Delhi. This puja will benefit all the residents of Delhi, the CM said.
Apart from posting the video message on social media, it is also being aggressively promoted on TV channels. Among other channels, the promotional video is also being shown on Republic TV, a channel hated by liberals. In fact, it seems the video is shown the most times on the channel, as it appears several times in an hour on Republic TV. For example, in the screenshots below, the video can be seen on Republic with a 10 minutes gap.
Not just this, the Delhi govt has also launched a telemarketing campaign to promote the Diwali puja. Several people on Twitter has informed that they received multiple phone calls with the audio of Kejriwal’s message, urging them to watch the live broadcast of the puja.
While it is common for politicians and ministers to host iftar parties, it is rare for them to hold puja with such public fanfare, especially for those politicians who are not linked with Hindutva ideology. Arvind Kejriwal has been a major politician from the liberal-secular camp, and therefore, this has been seen as an indicator of a major shift in his ideology.
Reacting to this apparent shift, BJP leader Tejasvi Surya said that this is the greatest shift in Indian politics that PM Modi has brought about. He opined that it is now the new normal, as nobody can afford to be anti-Hindu and be relevant in politics.
BJP MP Gautam Gambhir also mocked the Delhi CM for his appeal. He said that Kejriwal is blaming other states for pollution, and blaming pollution for increase in coronavirus cases. Taking a jibe at Kejriwal, Gambhir tweeted that everything will be resolved automatically, and people can watch the CM performing puja on TV.