The Aam Aadmi Party Candidate Shazia Ilmi has a tendency to trip up just at the wrong time. Ahead of the Delhi Assembly election in November last year, she was caught on tape accepting funds for her party without issuing the receipt to the donor. Delhi was about to go to the polls when this sting operation surfaced. Even though the Aam Aadmi Party cried foul and alleged that the tapes were doctored, the damage was done and Shazia Ilmi lost the Delhi Assembly election by no fewer than 326 votes.
She is contesting this Lok Sabha election from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh on AAP's ticket. Ghaziabad has already gone to the polls on April 10 along with Delhi. And at this crucial juncture when Varanasi is yet to go to polls, a video has started doing rounds on the social media showing Shazia Ilmi in a campaign mode. In the said video she is urging Muslims to be communal and vote for the Aam Aadmi Party.
It is yet unknown when this video was shot but nonetheless it has tremendous potential to damage and derail Arvind Kejriwal's fight against the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. In this long season of the Lok Sabha elections, the mask of AAP has finally slipped and the kind of secular politics it likes to practice is out there in the open for all to see.
Shazia Ilmi is the prominent Muslim face of AAP. And when she asks for the votes along communal lines from her co-religionists, nothing can be more tragic than this. She asks Muslims to be communal in this election for their own good. The political parties are ready to give their Muslim candidates a chance. They give them tickets too, to fight the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
But as this video featuring Shazia Ilmi has shown, the Muslim leaders cannot rise above the prejudiced thinking of communal versus secular. They want to put everything under the same bracket of communalism and secularism and as a result, they start practicing the kind of politics that raises eyebrows.
Shazia Ilmi was a classic example of an educated Muslim woman in politics out to change the perception about Muslim women India. But look at the damage she has done by practising this kind of politics of communalism. If this is not a terrible let-down, what is?
Having said this, Arvind Kejriwal - AAP Convenor - is already feeling the heat for taking on Narendra Modi in Varanasi. Varanasi does not appear to be in a mood to entertain the theatrics of Arvind Kejriwal which is not surprising given his penchant for grandstanding. This video featuring Shazia Ilmi who is allegedly extolling the virtues of communalism can further have negative impact on Arvind Kejriwal's campaign. No longer can he claim to have his monopoly on the underdog status that he likes to flaunt. Though the Aam Aadmi Party has not completed two years in politics, its leaders are behaving like the seasoned politicians who come across as determined to go any length for the sake of votes.
Shazia Ilmi lost the Delhi assembly election in November last year by a narrow margin. But AAP could win 27 seats and form the government as well. Shazia Ilmi could wriggle herself out of the mess relatively unharmed because both she and her party were new at that time. AAP too threw its weight behind Shazia Ilmi and allowed her to go on to fight the assembly elections.
At present, AAP is no longer the flavour of the season it once was. Arvind Kejriwal's halo too is on the wane. He has earned the sobriquet of Bhagoda Kejriwal and there is a deficit of trust in people's hearts as far as AAP is concerned. Keeping this backdrop in mind, it will be interesting to see how AAP and Shazia Ilmi control the damage caused by this video as the Lok Sabha elections enter this decisive phase. Looks like Shazia Ilmi has shot herself in the foot and the time has come to write her political obituary.