Monobina Gupta is right, Kejriwal shouldn’t be expected to fight an ideological battle. In fact, no electoral politician should be expected to fight ideological battles—at least not overtly and definitely not within a few months before the elections.

Electoral politics is the winning stroke of an ideological war, not a space for fighting ideological battles. Electoral politics is the fruit that grows on the tree of public opinion, shaped by ideological winds and nurtured by the hard work of ideological evangelists on the ground.

Political science knows that a politician moves towards the median voter; not a voter towards median politicians.

An ideological struggle is a long struggle that is fought on the ground, invisible from overt politics. It might get support from the political parties. RSS did that brilliantly. Pre-independence Congress did that masterfully. Wise politicians encourage and legitimize such organizing away from public gaze, but do not bring them to their speeches and poll campaigns until the public opinion is ready to be reaped for electoral gains.

We, the citizens—the perpetual opposition, should not look up to electoral politicians to fight our battles. Kejriwal won’t save us, the Gandhis won’t save us, Didi won’t save us and Behen ji won’t save us. We have to fight for ourselves, for our unity in diversity, for our fraternity that focuses on commonalities rather than differences. We have to stand for the weak and the poor who have been oppressed and fight for a more just and equal society.

And we are doing that. Shaheen Bagh is fighting the long ideological war. The Wire is doing its part. Omar Khalid, Shehla Rashid, Chandrashekhar Azad, Kanahiya Kumar, and many others are doing that. We are fighting and we will turn the ideological tables.

Once we have tilted the ideological scales, then the Kejriwal’s and Gandhi’s will roll like the proverbial “thali ke baingan”. Until then, keep fighting. Keep educating.

Vikas Dhiman is a researcher in Machine Learning and Robotics. He diligently follows Indian and US politics. He has volunteered for the Aam Aadmi Party in the past but is no longer affiliated with any political party. Contact: dhiman@umich.edu


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