Here are some more suggestions on how to tackle Kejriwal, but before that how not to tackle him.
1. Narendra Modi shouldn’t directly engage with him, never punch below your weight. Once Modi directly addresses Kejriwal he will be treated on par with Modi by media and from that point onwards Media will compulsorily contrast any any coverage of Modi will become
2. BJP leaders should always be engage with Kejriwal respectfully, and observe the decorum.
This needs explanation. Personally I have nothing but distaste for Kejriwal, the man is a rank opportunist, the way he has dealt with BJP since start of India Against Corruption has been nothing short of utterly dishonest, boorish, and uncouth. I can understand if some BJP leaders are tempted to pay the populist charlatan in the same coin. However as tempting as the prospect may be, BJP must eschew it, in fact it should pass this throughout its chain of leaders and cadres, any engagement with Kejriwal must not cross the bounds of civil discourse.
Why is that ? Glad you asked!
In any fight Arvind Kejriwal will be the underdog, as far as optics go plebeians don’t appreciate top dog pummeling underdog, there is a further glitch, BJP is part of political class. At present, middle class is downright hostile to political class, blaming it, not without some justification for present catastrophe.
Kejriwal has shrewdly positioned himself at champion of “aam aadmi”. In what should concern any BJP well wisher, the middle class supporter doesn’t just support Kejriwal he identifies with him. any ill advised comment against him by any BJP leader will be perceived by Kejriwal supporter as assault on him, an aam aadmi, by the all powerful political machinery.
Kejriwal is aware of this, which is why he will continue with his utterly disgraceful passive aggressive act to provoke some BJP leader into making some kind of personal remarks, after which Kejriwal can bask in the glory of martyrdom, a hero having to undergo personal humiliation for sake of public.
This is all the more reason why BJP should not fall in Kejriwal’s trap
So what should BJP do then.
To summarize previous graph, Kejriwal is covered by deflector shield, before BJP can take him down it must destroy the shield. As I suggested in previous post BJP should relentlessly subject Kejriwal to intense scrutiny, however the focus of scrutiny shouldn’t be on personal honesty and integrity of Kejriwal which will be counter-productive, but on a. his competence to govern and his ability to seize of the issues b. honesty of rest of the the AAP members c. his judgement
To give an example, when criticizing Kejriwal’s many flip flops, BJP shouldn’t question his honesty, but his judgement and competence, further more BJP must emphasize the cost in terms of money, time as well as governance to public caused by theatrics of Kejriwal and his party
Above all BJP must eschew the temptation to reply in kind, it must not resort to histrionics or any kind of action that can be seen as gimmicky, instead all its criticism, arguments and policy pronouncement must be calm, dispassionate and well reasoned. Above all, BJP should try its utmost to impress upon public that its criticism of Kejriwal is not opportunistic, but a result of concern for public well being.
Above discussion doesn’t mean Kejriwal can’t be paid back in the same coin, only that BJP can’t be involved with that. It is possible to out-Kejriwal Kejriwal by organizing otherwise apolitical section of people behind specific emotional hot button issues.
For instance, it shouldn’t be difficult to start a agitation against Kejriwal’s remarks on Batla encounter or Bhushan’s stand on Kashmir or Naxalism, it will hurt Kejriwal’s credibility even more if those directly involved with issue were to participate in the agitation. Similarly agitation can be started wrt even policy issues. Only condition to this is BJP’s fingerprints shouldn’t be visible on this.
The above two pronged attack can damage the positive public image of Kejriwal through attrition enabling BJP to go in for kill.
One point missed in above discussion was the role of social media, so far BJP supporters have been very strong in social media, however their monopoly has been challenged by Kejriwal supporters. Although role of social media is exaggerated, it does play a important role both for BJP and AAP.
My observation so far has been that majority of AAP supporters are as uncouth and deluded as Kejriwal. Nature of the platform and the behavior by AAP supporters tempts BJP supporters to reply in kind. I confess, I am guilty of this too. However, if we want to persuade Kejriwal supporter to see the reality of AAP, we must control our urges, we must not make any personal attacks on interlocutor, further as far as possible we should try to refrain from making personal attacks on Kejriwal.
I am not sure if this is practically possible, I am pretty convinced it will not be possible in my case.