An important signifier of Kejriwal’s unchallenged position in AAP came when party members, senior leaders and young volunteers alike started using the term “high command”. The phrase, identified with a party culture AAP publicly shunned, gradually but surely entered the party’s lexicon, giving a glimpse into its protected inner workings.
The recent TV advertisement put out by the Aam Aadmi Party, exalting its leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s many virtues, startled many. Those who watch out for media trends could not get over just how many times the advertisement ran on every channel in its full 190-second glory, without a single cut. Many were justifiably outraged at the depiction of a stereotypically middle class homemaker, who stays on her feet all day, cooks lauki, feeds her husband, worries about bills, without a minute of respite, all the while looking to Kejriwal as her personal messiah.It is this hero-worship of Arvind Kejriwal that has become the talking point. The ad talks not so much about the AAP-led Delhi government has done for the city and for this woman, but what Kejriwal, ‘her’ Kejriwal has achieved. It shows her hopes, standing in, presumably, for hopes of the aam aadmi across Delhi, pinned on one man; her anger at forces rallying against him that will not let Kejriwal work. In this ad, put out by AAP, Kejriwal has become both the party and the sarkar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This streak of megalomania is nothing new for the CM, he has been facing such accusations and displaying such tendencies for a while now. They mostly surfaced during and post the infighting and subsequent split in AAP, which saw the expulsion of former comrades and friends Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha. It sharply divided the party into those who had any doubts, any modicum of dissent, and those who were loyal. It is this loyal band of men who rallied closely around Kejriwal as accusations of being a dictator, the supreme leader, conducting a “Stalinist purge” flew thick and fast from the ousted camp, sections of the media and rival political parties.In fact, when Bhushan and Yadav kicked off their separate political-cum-social outfit, the Swaraj Abhiyan, they made it a point to publicly announce they would have collective leadership, instead of a one-man rule. Theirs would be true Swaraj, unlike the party run by the man they accused of having violated AAP’s founding principle.An important signifier of Kejriwal’s unchallenged position in AAP came when party members, senior leaders and young volunteers alike started using the term “high command”. The phrase, identified with a party culture AAP publicly shunned, gradually but surely entered the party’s lexicon, giving a glimpse into its protected inner workings.Most memorably, at AAP leader Ashutosh’s book launch, journalist Rajdeep Sardesai who shared the stage with Kejriwal, tried to get him to admit many time to being dictatorial, comparing him with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, another supreme leader in the country who faces similar charges.Arvind Kejriwal is most certainly a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps without this powerful personality, that brooks no dissent, the party would not have achieved its unprecedented success. Perhaps for one with such sheer scale of ambition, it becomes necessary.Those who have observed him from his India Against Corruption days have often credited him with being the driving force back then too.If he is now putting out ads glorifying his name, then he definitely has a very receptive audience base. During the Delhi polls, the name on every voter’s lips was that of Kejriwal, not their local candidate, not any other in the party. Now, months later, little has changed, and Arvind Kejriwal still seems very much the city’s hero.
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