Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which is already under attack from within and outside, is facing a new quandary from one of its supporters – a non-profit group from US – that has issued an advertisement in a community newspaper appealing the Muslim voters to support the AAP.
The ad that appeared in the 1-15 February issue of Milli Gazette is doing the rounds on the internet. While the party has denied issuing any such ad on the social media, the advertisement appeared on Milli Gazette’s Facebook page has put the Aam Aadmi Party in a spot.
The ad issued by the Association of Indian Muslims of America reads: “An Appeal to Indian Muslim citizens and voters to support Aam Aadmi Party to remove the ills of: corruption, influence peddling, abuse of religion and caste, money power, denial of justice, police brutality, from the society at large in the country. These ills have resulted from gross abuses by most political parties. The majority of Muslims being deprived people are hurt more than others from these ills. Hence, Muslims in large numbers should support AAP that is comprised of good people, and that is trying to cleanse the national political and governance system. We appeal to all to campaign for AAP, raise funds for them and vote for AAP candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections.”
Apart from the party symbol ‘Jhaadu’, the ad carries the headshot of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal along with the relevant contact information including the phone numbers and email ids – urging the minority voters to ‘Join the Revolution’ – a description perhaps taken from AAP’s official website.
Incidentally, it gives an impression that Kejriwal’s party, through the ad, is trying to woo minority voters, the sort of thing the party had come to eradicate in the first place.
As a result, a lot of people have been fooled by the ad – given the party symbol and description it carried – a few going ahead and criticising the party.
A Facebook user Maitryee Shukla commented on the photo of the ad saying: “Please, no! Not another party appealing on the basis of religion. We had it enough. I have better expectations from AAP. Everyone wants to remove corruption, influence peddling, abuse of religion and caste etc..(sic)”
Another comment by Satya Prakash Sharma questioned AAP for restricting its appeal to the Muslims. “Why the appeal is going to Muslims, it may be appealed to all Indians,” he commented on the photo.
Sudhir Pai, another Facebook user tagged AAP as communal as he wrote: “AAP is communal …. Instead of Muslim … It could have appealed to all Indians …. Shame on u AAP (sic)”
However, the AAP has ruled out issuing any advertisement to seek support from any minority community. When contacted, AAP’s media coordinator Deepak Bajpai said: “The party completely dissociates from any such publicity. We have not issued any ad seeking support from Muslim citizens neither did we authorise any non-profit organisation to publish the advertisement on our behalf.”
This is not the first time that any supporter of a political leader or party has taken his sychphancy to virtual platforms. Recently, a Modi fan had posted a video with a recording of actor Amitabh Bachchan with stills of the Gujarat Chief Minister, putting him in a fix. With Lok Sabha elections drawing closer, political parties and leaders have been putting social media sites to good use to woo voters. But, sometimes a wrong act by their supporters can prove to be a fodder for their rivals!