Arvind Kejriwal getting desperate to win Delhi?
Notwithstanding their promise to usher in ‘clean politics’ in the country, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in its eagerness to win Delhi, appears to have no reservations in seeking support from all sorts of influential people, no matter how controversial they may be.
Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
New Delhi: Notwithstanding their promise to usher in ‘clean politics’ in the country, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in its eagerness to win Delhi, appears to have no reservations in seeking support from all sorts of influential people, no matter how controversial they may be.
Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, who has his eyes set on the Delhi throne, is facing the heat for meeting controversial Muslim cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan in Bareilly recently. Maulana Tauqeer heads a political outfit called the Ittehad-e-Millat Council and enjoys minister of state status in the Akhilesh Yadav government. He is believed to have a wide following among Sunni Muslims.
Tauqeer had in 2007 issued a fatwa against Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen for her views ion Islam and announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh on her head. The controversial cleric had also announced a Rs 1 crore bounty for killing former US president George W Bush.
He was arrested and jailed for allegedly making inflammatory speeches during communal riots in Bareilly in 2010 but was later released.
Sensing trouble, Kejriwal has downplayed the meeting and said that he has been visiting temples, mosques and meeting many people and had met the Maulana in Bareilly as he was a respectable person in the town.
“I had gone to the dargah to pray for a corruption free India and met Mualana Raza Saheb as he is a very respected man there. I met him and appealed him that everyone should come together to save the country as it is going through a sensitive phase,” Kejriwal said.
Expectedly, the BJP and the Congress have hit out at Kejriwal. The BJP accused the AAP chief of playing the ‘communal card’.
BJP leader Subramanium Swamy said, "It`s disgusting to think AAP will ask for the support of a man who once said a woman`s head should be chopped off because her beliefs don`t align with his own."
Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, “AAP is getting desperate and is rushing to all sorts of people.”
Delhi BJP leader Vijender Gupta said, "Kejriwal goes and meets a Maulana who speaks a language worse than terrorists. AAP have fallen to this level for votes."
The Congress has also slammed Kejriwal and dubbed AAP as the “B team of BJP”. Party spokesman Meem Afzal alleged that Kejriwal whose politics originated with the backing of the RSS was trying to make Muslims "a football" for electoral mileage.
Following the controversy, Kejriwal was quoted as saying that he was not aware of the charges against the Maulana.
Also, the cleric has reportedly told Kejriwal that he can never issue a fatwa as fatwa is issued by Mufti and he was a Maulana.
Maulana Tauqeer said that he appreciates Kejriwal for initiating the India Against Corruption movement and for making the effort to clean the system by getting into it.
Clearly, this was one controversy which AAP could have avoided considering the fact that it had the momentum in its favour as Delhi heads to polls on December 04. While its internal surveys have predicted that AAP will form the next government, other independent surveys have been more conservative in their estimates and said that the party will win close to 20 seats in the 70-member assembly.
With 20 seats, Kejriwal would turn out to be the kingmaker. However, as he has already announced that his party would support neither the BJP nor the Congress, the city state may be heading for a hung house – giving the AAP more time to win Delhi on its own.
However, Kejriwal seems to be in a hurry.