You know politicians in India are getting desperate when those who find ‘Jai Shri Ram’ communal are suddenly out and about asserting their Hindu identity. On Tuesday, while addressing a rally in Nandigram, where the sitting chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has decided to contest the upcoming assembly elections, started reciting the Chandi Paath.
Political strategist Prashant Kishor is helping Mamata Banerjee fight the elections in West Bengal and it appears that he has also run out of tricks to convince the voters. As like always, he has resorted to getting the politician-clients to assert their Hindu identity.
The TMC is going to release its manifesto on the Maha Shivratri. She is also expected to hold a puja in the morning on 11th March in Nandigram ahead of releasing the manifesto. Apparently, she is being projected as ‘Shiv Bhakt’ to oppose the BJP’s ‘Ram Bhakt’ image.
Now, where have we seen this before?
Ahead of voting in February 2020 Delhi Assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had visited the Hanuman Temple at Delhi’s Connaught Place to seek blessings.
CP के प्राचीन हनुमान मंदिर जाकर हनुमान जी का आशीर्वाद लिया। देश और दिल्ली की तरक़्क़ी के लिए प्रार्थना की। भगवान जी ने कहा – “अच्छा काम कर रहे हो। इसी तरह लोगों की सेवा करते रहो। फल मुझ पर छोड़ दो। सब अच्छा होगा।”— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 7, 2020
Before that, he was found reciting the Hanuman Chalisa on national television.
क्या आपने हनुमान चालीसा सुना है? जरूर सुनिए। मन को बहुत शांति मिलती है pic.twitter.com/niyUOxCEFu— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 3, 2020
Kejriwal, too, had hired Prashant Kishor to help him win elections.
Hence, it really doesn’t come much as a surprise that Mamata Banerjee, another one of his clients broke into an impromptu Chandi Paath while addressing a rally.
Ahead of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017, Rahul Gandhi, who was then a client of Prashant Kishor, went on temple runs. During 2017 Gujarat assembly elections, the then Congress President Rahul Gandhi went to visit the Somnath temple but inadvertently registered his name under the non-Hindu column. By the way, his great grandfather was not too happy with restoration of Somnath temple. Nehru, as Prime Minister, saw the restoration as ‘Hindi Revivalism’.
Rahul Gandhi then continued his temple runs though the years, almost always ahead of elections and as part of his election campaign trail. This lasted up to 2019 general elections, where Congress face humiliating defeat despite the assertion of ‘Hindu identity’.
However, after the humiliating defeats, Congress cut off the professional relationship with Kishor because, well, even the best salesman sometimes can’t quite sell the defunct product.
But Kishor, perhaps, should change some of his strategies. You see, while temple politics may not have helped Rahul Gandhi, it may actually end up harming Mamata Banerjee. That that may not go down too well.
Maybe it is time to put on the creative hat, eh?