Chandigarh, July 8: Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convener has finally decided to go in for damage control exercise by visiting the Golden Temple on July 18 to pay obeisance for the atonement of the blasphemy and blunder committed on July 3 on the release of party’s youth manifesto at Amritsar. The party has been under fire for the use of the picture of the shrine with election symbol broom on the cover of this first election related document that aimed at selling dreams to the youth. The Punjabis are used to such mirages.
What constituted blasphemy was equating this manifesto with Guru Granth Sahib, Bible and other scriptures by former journalist turned politician Ashish Khetan. Punjab Dialogue team that prepared this manifesto has three former journalists turned politicians, this being their first adventure in this field.
According to a party spokesman, Kejriwal would visit the shrine to perform Seva. Devotees take turns to perform Seva that includes cleaning utensils, serving langar and washing the floors. The Seva has its larger meaning as its objective is to make a person humble and kill arrogance. It is also for atonement of certain violations of the Sikh code of conduct and acts of blasphemy. Forgiveness is one of the basics of the Sikh Panth, provided one prays for it.
There are lessons for AAP to learn as the party is being dictated by people from outside Punjab who treat this state like any other without giving much space to function to the local leadership. This is the reason that the party committed two big blunders. The youth manifesto has been lost in the din of the Panthic political churning. This damage has to be seen in the context of youth being the main support base of AAP in Punjab. It would be difficult for the party to bring this manifesto under focus again.
This controversy hit AAP at the time when it was already in the eye of the storm in the case of sacrilege of Quran in Malerkotla as its MLA Naresh Yadav has been named by one of the accused. Yadav has already appeared before the police.
The party would have to go in for major course correction in the background of self-created controversies and atonement of the blunders by Kejriwal alone would not undo the damage. The party might have now realized that the Panthic pitch is too slippery.
Here is the leader who talked of alternative politics but now has been dictated by the Panthic discourse take recourse to what is called normal politics. Rest is marketing. It is the marketing strategy that can be different and that is the skill of every sales person rather than claiming it to be alternative model of politics. AAP stands thoroughly exposed on this issue.
This is the pitch on which state Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh and the Akalis are the masters of the game. AAP has now to compete on the pitch of others and that is the first damage. One has to draw the adversary to fight on your terms. Now both Badal and Amarinder are dictating the course so far as Kejriwal’s visit to Amritsar is concerned.
AAP that has been flying high riding the anti-incumbency that the party took as its support base for granted. This again betrays the lack of understanding of Punjabi psyche. Political discourse here has the tendency to change from event to event. This is the reason that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has failed to mobilise people on the issue of SYL Canal. AAP too now stands grounded and the party might have to take a re-start but for that, the party would have to understand the deeper nuances and complexities of the political matrix here.