From Hanuman Chalisa To ‘Jai Shree Ram’: How Arvind Kejriwal Is Battling 'Anti-Hindu' Allegations – Outlook India

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Updated: 09 Oct 2022 12:09 pm
The recent flexing of Kejriwal's Hindu identity came in the backdrop of the controversy where one of his ministers Rajendra Pal Gautam was seen in a video of mass conversion pledging to leave Hinduism. 
When it comes to flaunting Hindutva credentials, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has never been a backbencher. Amidst the controversy over Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam’s presence at a conversion event, Kejriwal chanted ‘Jai Shree Ram’ at his Vadodara rally in Gujarat.  
Taking a dig at all of those who were terming him anti-Hindu, the Delhi CM roared that he was born in Janmashtami and God had sent him to finish the descendants of evil ‘Kans’. The purported ‘Tiranga Yatra’ of Kejriwal in the poll-bound state of Gujarat was earlier disrupted by a few BJP supporters who showed black flag to the AAP supremo during his roadshow and chanted ‘Modi, Modi’.  
The show in Vadodara though was scheduled at 4.30 pm, it got delayed by two hours due to a minor confrontation between AAP and BJP workers. Some posters of the AAP were also torn. Referring to the scuffles and the posters that were held against him, Kejriwal fumed, “They insult God and his devotees and indulge in hooliganism and violence.” 
“They are saying bad things about me. I don't care. But they hate me and are so blind in their hatred that they are even insulting the Gods,” he added.  
Several posters with messages like ‘I consider Hindu religion as madness’ and ‘anti-Hindu Kejriwal go back’ with the picture of the Delhi CM were found criticising him for his silence of Gautam’s patronage to conversion.  
In response, Kejriwal said, “The words used in these posters were against God. They have insulted God. Whosoever is behind these posters have become so blind in their hatred for me that they did not even spare God and used abusive words against Him.”  
This is not the first time Kejriwal was found flexing his Hindu identity. Earlier, when he came to the power for the second time in Delhi, the first thing he did was reciting Hanuman Chalisa. Known as a devotee of lord Hanuman, he never stepped back from gaining competitive advantage showing his devotee side.  
Last year in November, Kejriwal Government took a decision to offer free visit to Ayodhya for the senior citizens. Under his free pilgrimage scheme namely ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’, the senior citizen of Delhi needs not to pay a single penny for visiting the Ram Lala in Ayodhya.  
In his Gujarat rally, Kejriwal also flexed this decision and told the votaries that if his party comes to power in the state, the same scheme will be extended to them as well. Adopting typically Kejriwal style of communicating through Q & A, the Delhi CM asked, “Lord Shri Ram's temple in Ayodhya will get ready next year. Who all want to visit the temple? All of you want to do so. But the trip, stay, food and lodging is very costly, isn't it? And if you take your entire family, then it costs a lot.”  
Kejriwal also furthered his promises saying that his government would provide Rs. 40 every day to the people for upkeeping cows. All these references from Ayodhya to cow, the political analysts think, are part of the broader motive of Kejriwal to cut into the Hindu vote banks of the BJP in Gujarat.  
While Kejriwal is in his three days’ visit to the state for wooing the voters, PM Modi will also step into the state today itself. It is Modi’s second visit to Gujarat with 10 days.  
On October 7, a controversy cropped up as the Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam was found in a video attending a mass conversion event where 10,000 people pledged to leave Hinduism and embraced Buddhism. The video as shared by Gautam himself on Twitter mentioned that more than 10,000 people pledged to join Buddhism and work for making India free from casteism and untouchability.  
The video also found Gautam also taking the pledge along with the others saying, “I will never hold Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh as gods and worship them. I will neither hold Ram and Krishna as God nor worship them ever. I will not believe in or worship Gauri, Ganpati or any other deity of the Hindu religion.”  
The video had put Gautam into a difficult political crisis before the Gujarat Assembly elections where the party is trying its fate. In face of severe criticisms from BJP, though Gautam clarified his position and apologised saying “apology with folded hands from all those who have been hurt in any way by this propaganda by the BJP,” the ice didn't melt.  
While Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta led a delegation to file a police complaint against Guatam, MP Manoj Tewari demanded immediate sacking of the Minister. Accusing the party of promoting mass conversions, West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma tweeted, “Every day news of conversions comes from AAP-ruled Punjab. Similarly, Kejriwal's minister Rajendra Pal is now conducting a mass conversion of people in Delhi.”  
In this context, the political observers believe that Kejriwal will be further vocal about his Hindutva credential and will not leave a single stone unturned to amend the crisis. Notably, one has to remember that during Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protests when his deputy Manish Sisodia in an interview obliquely stood by the protesters, AAP immediately distanced themselves in fesr of losing the Hindu votes.

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