The Aam Aadmi Party members chase controversies or is it other way around? Hardly a day passes without the AAP and controversies finding their mention in the same sentence. Arvind Kejriwal's obsession with grandstanding has become something of a folklore. And many observers are of the opinion that without courting controversies both the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal would not have come this far.
Today, Arvind Kejriwal dominated the headlines because a rickshaw driver slapped him. Arvind Kejriwal's reaction was exactly how a seasoned politician's reaction should be. He tried to play up this slap from an auto rickshaw driver as a ploy employed by his detractors to finish him off politically while predicting more such attacks on him in future. What a way to arouse sympathy with the help of a cry baby act!
If Arvind Kejriwal likes to bask in the glory of controversies, another member of the AAP Kumar Vishwas manages to keep the interest in him alive by issuing shocking statements. Kumar Vishwas is fighting this Lok Sabha election from Amethi and the face-off was supposed to be between him and Rahul Gandhi - the sitting Amethi MP and the Congress vice-president. But the BJP has fielded its one of the familiar faces Smiriti Irani to take on both Rahul Gandhi and Kumar Vishwas in Amethi.
This move of the BJP seems to have caught Kumar Vishwas off guard. Smriti Irani is a popular TV face whose huge popularity among the middle class housewives across the country is a given. Suddenly the Amethi contest has acquired a new perspective with the arrival of Smriti Irani on the scene. Though Kumar Vishwas has been campaigning in Amethi relentlessly, his campaign has peaked a bit too early and has lost that novelty factor just ahead of the polls. This is precisely why Kumar Vishwas is under tremendous pressure to do something that brings the spotlight back on him.
It is out of sheer frustration that he is issuing statements singing praises of the BJP and the RSS. He would like to support the BJP and not the Congress. He admires the RSS because he loves its discipline and according to him, it is only the Congress that finds the RSS communal for electoral gains. This statement has created quite a flutter coming as it does before the crucial polls. The lack of any ideological mooring in the DNA of the AAP has made it the fodder of opponent's criticism with the party becoming an umbrella for people with diverse ideologies. As if this was not enough, Kumar Vishwas has opened a whole new Pandora's box creating fresh doubts in the AAP's observers mind.
To divide the votes among the communal lines, Kumar Vishwas has played a clever hand by showing his respect for the BJP and the RSS just when Amethi is about to go to the polls. Though it has upset the Muslim supporters of the AAP and they have demanded that Kumar Vishwas be expelled from the party, it is not going to have any impact. It is a battle for one of the prestigious Lok Sabha seats of the country and such gimmicks are expected to arouse awe and shock amongst the voters.
That said poor Kumar Vishwas is up against two formidable opponents and is naturally finding himself between the Devil and Deep Sea. His party chief Arvind Kejriwal has bitten more than he can chew by challenging the might of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi. He has no time to help Kumar Vishwas in Amethi. Kumar Vishwas is a lonely man and he is waging a lone battle against two high profile leaders in Amethi.
In this backdrop what this statement from Kumar Vishwas can potentially mean is the dissent is brewing and the cracks are appearing within the AAP. Arvind Kejriwal is unable to keep his flock together and regular physical attacks on him also indicate that the AAP has fallen out from the grace and it no longer enjoys the popular support that it did as recently as four months ago. Kumar Vishwas has demonstrated that in politics nothing is permanent. If the party high command ill treats you, there are always other options available. All it takes to explore other options is praise the opponents and the tongues will start wagging.