The Aam Aadmi Party invoked Mahatma Gandhi’s memory and inclusive approach to target BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, as both parties reached out to voters in and around Gurgaon on Thursday.
The AAP used pictures published by HT in December 1947 showing Gandhi’s visit to a Gurgaon village and his pitch for communal harmony at a time when the country was bleeding through Partition.
The battle lines were drawn early, as Modi headed for Gurgaon and AAP leader Yogendra Yadav for Ghasera village about 40km away.
Ghasera in Mewat district is a part of Gurgaon constituency from where Yadav is contesting the Lok Sabha polls.
The AAP strategy that played out on social media was simple: question Gujarat chief minister Modi’s secular credentials.
Modi has to contend with criticism due to the 2002 communal riots in his state under his watch. He has been increasingly pushing an inclusive agenda, but the riots are seen as his weak spot.
Yadav duly promoted his campaign on Twitter, posting: “AAP rally in Ghasera & Modi rally in Gurgaon - great occasion to revisit which India we seek, Gandhiji's or Modi's (sic).”
Tagged to this tweet was HT’s photo of Gandhi’s 1947 visit during which he had urged the Indian government to protect Muslims.
Before Yadav’s rally, the AAP Media Cell invitation stated, “… People from all across Mewat will gather in village Ghasera and will bring soil from their villages to send out a message to Shri Narendra Modi that our motherland belongs to all and not just to people of one faith or one ideology.”
Here are pictures and story of Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to a Gurgaon village, from HT December 21, 1947 edition.