"Faith Is Good": Arvind Kejriwal On If His Hanuman Temple Visits Are Political Strategy

At NDTV Townhall, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was asked if his display of faith was putting him on the same track as other parties

New Delhi:

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal today said "everyone should visit temples and pray in any God they believe in", when asked about his demonstration of religious devotion, particularly his visits to Lord Hanuman's temples, as political strategy.

"Others do not go to Hanuman mandir. I say everyone should go. I tell kids too. When I was a child, I read the Hanuman Chalisa several times a day. Having faith, praying, believing in God, is very good," the Delhi Chief Minister said, to questions at the NDTV Townhall in New Delhi.

He was asked if his display of faith was putting him on the same track as other parties for votes, even though he had started out with more idealistic claims of focusing only on development. 

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the NDTV Townhall in New Delhi on Friday.

"People say 'you have gone astray', but I feel I have come back on track by going to Hanuman temples. What's wrong in reading Hanuman Chalisa? If you are depressed or not feeling too good about life, Hanuman Chalisa can help," he said.

He added, "Everyone should go to temples, pray to whichever God you believe in... some have faith in Hanuman-ji, some in Shiv-ji, or Lord Ram."

Lord Ram has been at the centre of the BJP's religio-political pitch besides its claims of development-focused politics. And the AAP has, over the past few years, been accused of using its own version of Hindutva — visibly amping up its devotion to Lord Hanuman, considered Lord Ram's most faithful follower. 

Recently, the AAP's stand against rehabilitation of Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar in Delhi was seen as another move to one-up the BJP in appealing to a right-wing Hindutva voter base. But the AAP has insisted that it was a matter of undocumented intruders. Faith is a personal matter, which does not colour AAP's politics, party leaders have said.

At the NDTV Townhall today, as Mr Kejriwal laid out his blueprint as he makes a pitch in PM Narendra Modi's Gujarat — where AAP hopes to end BJP rule in elections later this year — he listed education as the main agenda

"If you want negativity, corruption, blame games, you can vote for others like BJP and Congress. But if you want schools, hospitals, a better future for your kids, we can bring you that," he told the audience. 

The BJP and Congress insist that the AAP's Delhi model is "more propaganda than reality".

To the Congress allegation that AAP is "BJP's B-Team" which only wants to weaken the Opposition, he responded: "Frankly, you tell me... Do you need me to weaken the Congress? Isn't Rahul Gandhi sufficient?"

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