Skip to main content

Kejriwal-Modi meeting in 2010: "Reason" behind secularists' lukewarm response towards AAP in Gujarat?

By Rajiv Shah
Does Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal have soft-corner for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi? Though AAP’s unit in Gujarat vehemently denies this, the question is being widely debated among political circles and senior Gujarat activists, who have known Kejriwal ever since he was more of a right to information (RTI) activist about five years ago. The confusion is particularly worst confounded because they are privy to a little-known fact about Kejriwal – he had a two-and-a-half-hour long meeting, which, they recall, took place with Modi in 2010.
Informed sources have told Counterview that Kejriwal was “desperate” to have a meeting with Modi as part of his effort to gather support for India Against Corruption, which he wanted to form with Anna Hazare as the main face. “He contacted a few social activists in Gujarat for a tie up with Modi, but he failed, as the activists did not want to identify themselves with Modi. Then he tried it through his own channels in Delhi, via BJP leader Rajnath Singh, and succeeded in getting an appointment. The meeting was quite amicable”, the sources said, adding, “The meeting took place after he got disillusioned with RTI campaign.”
Following the meeting, Kejriwal told his “contacts” in Gujarat that Modi had offered his “all-out support” to Anna’s anti-corruption movement. “Thereafter, some BJP supporters joined the movement, which could not have happened without Modi’s nod. Kejriwal seemed quite impressed with Modi then and he felt that allegations against corruption of Congress leaders in Delhi could not be strong enough without Modi’s support”, the sources pointed out.
The sources said, the suspicion of Kejriwal’s “softness” to Modi is one reason why the AAP in Gujarat, which is led by senior social activist Sukhdev Patel, and has under its wings well-known anti-Modi campaigner, danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, is unable to rope in large sections of social activists who have spoken out against Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 communal riots. “This is because AAP has not clarified on major contentious issues, including 2002 riots, Modi’s role, efforts by the corporate sector to corner huge tracts of land for its gains, and so on”, an AAP insider said, adding, “This has caused confusion even in AAP ranks, too.”
The only time Kejriwal criticized Modi, suggest these AAP insiders, was ahead of the December 2012 assembly elections, when he called a press conference to say that if UPA government in Delhi was “Ambanis’ dukaan” (shop), the Modi government in Gujarat was “Adanis’ dukaan”. He cited various instances of corporate tieup of Modi with Adanis to show how this was so. “Thereafter, he has not spoken once”, says Sanjiv Bhatt, the IPS officer who was suspended from the service for taking up cudgels against Modi. Bhatt’s refusal to join AAP and criticism against Kejriwal on social networks is said to stem from this factor.
The suspicion about Kejriwal’s “softness” to Modi has come, say observers, at a time when the recent list of AAP’s most corrupt politicians “underplayed” Modi’s name, and AAP added Modi’s and Sonia Gandhi’s name as an afterthought. Many wonder why this has happened. Of course, AAP officially denies this, with its Gujarat branch spokesperson saying “Kejriwal named Modi along with Rahul”, wondering why did the media underplayed the reference to Modi is “difficult to understand”, adding, it “looks suspicious.”

Activists form Javab instead of joining AAP

Meanwhile, secular-minded social activists in Gujarat have regrouped under a new formation called Javab. Formed in January third week under the support of Delhi-based anti-Modi crusader Shabnam Hashmi, a statement issued by Javab, and signed by several dozen activists, talked of the “imminent danger of communalism” in the country in case Modi becomes PM. “The portends are dark already. As we inch closer to the elections, the fa├žade of development talk is forgotten and an unabashed Hindutva agenda begins to unfold. Uttar Pradesh is the best illustration of this”, it said.
“The fate of the avowedly communal political force, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is tied to its electoral fortunes in the state of UP. The arrival of Amit Shah last year as the BJP’s UP in charge coincided with the heralding of the old style communal propaganda. These are again – as earlier – matched by their real ability to foment violence, engineer riots, and drive vulnerable minority groups out of their homes and villages. Muzafarnagar burnt. But the entire belt of Western Uttar Pradesh remains on edge, the traditional unity between Jats and Muslims fractured because of cynical political calculations”, the statement reads.
“The manner in which activists have been targeted by registration of vindictive FIRs for pursuing the legal process in the case of 2002 pogrom; the muzzling of all dissent, provides a glimpse into the authoritarian vision of this communal force. Indeed, the very existence of liberal, democratic and secular consciousness seems to be under assault”, it pointed out, adding, “Activists, academics, artists, writers and social workers are coming together to form a National Platform for Secularism called Janvadi Vichar Andolan Bharat (JAVAB) with the twin agendas of countering communal forces in the forthcoming elections and advocating for a truly inclusive society, politics and economics.”
“This Platform will be guided by the sensibilities forged in our collective struggles for dignity of dalits, the rights of Adivasis and other marginalised communities (pastoralists, fisherfolk, landless wage labour, informal and casual labourers), gender justice, the battles of the working class, increasingly fissured and invisibilized; mobilizations for a more equitable and sustainable development, environmental movements, as well as the democratic aspirations of peoples everywhere in the country”, it underlined.

Comments

TRENDING

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.