How revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh becomes central to the AAP narrative as he pursues his national dream | India News

NEW DELHI: Days after taking office as chief minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann said on Tuesday that March 23, the wedding day of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, would be declared a public holiday every year.
Around the same time, 250km away in the nation’s capital, Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, whom Mann calls his elder brother, also made a major announcement. Kejriwal has announced that the next Delhi government school to prepare students for the armed forces will be named after Bhagat Singh. The school will be housed on a 14-acre campus in Jharoda Kalan.
The two announcements were by no means a coincidence. After consolidating in Delhi and now in control of Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) creates its own iconology in which the revolutionary freedom fighter of Punjab is at the centre.
The language of Inquilab:
The AAP’s election campaigns, including the hugely successful ones in Delhi and Punjab, were rooted in a call to change corrupt systems. The AAP likes to present itself as an outsider in the political system that attacks the traditional parties to clean up the establishment. He calls his policy a revolution and Bhagat Singh, who took power from the British, proves to be a fitting icon.
Appeal to young people
Bhagat Singh holds strong appeal among all sections of society, but he is strongest among young people. Bhagat Singh has immediate takers among rural people, especially in northern India, as the freedom fighter also belonged to the same section. The AAP has actively involved young people in its attempt to build itself across the states. In fact, some of the Punjab cabinet ministers, including Harjot Bains, are in their early thirties and have joined the party as volunteers.

Patel from BJP, Nehru-Gandhi from Congress
While the AAP has given pride of place to Bhagat Singh, the BJP and Congress have long had their heroes. Besides RSS icons like Veer Savarkar and Nanaji Deshmukh, the BJP has long claimed the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country’s first interior minister. The fact that Patel belonged to Congress did not dampen the enthusiasm of the BJP. Patel is credited with unifying the country by bringing together the princely states and this holds great appeal for the nationalist narrative of the BJP. For its part, the Congress also has an elaborate anthem of heroes and Mahatma Gandhi and the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, are at the very top.
Anna Hazare’s Country Road
The yellow turbans Mann and his MPs wear were on full display during the first massive protest Kejriwal launched at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. However, Anna Hazare was the face of the anti-corruption protest that caused the then UPA government to back down. However, Hazare was often referred to as a Gandhian. The veteran has also used fasting as a way to successfully make a political point. The paths of Gandhi and Bhagat Singh were different. Gandhi practiced non-violence but Bhagat Singh favored armed revolution. Gandhi was a regular at prayer, Bhagat Singh questioned religious beliefs.
In the AAP pantheon, Bhagat Singh is central. However, Gandhi is also there. It is learned that Chief Minister Kejriwal keeps a picture of Gandhi in his office.

BR Ambedkar; others
While the victory in Punjab has brought Bhagat Singh’s contributions to center stage, the AAP also has other icons in its pantheon. Most notable is Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Shortly after taking office, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann announced that pictures of Bhagat Singh and BR Ambedkar would adorn the walls of government offices. Some Punjab leaders have raised questions about the photos of Maharaja Ranjit Singh being displayed prominently ahead of the AAP takeover.
Meanwhile, in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal has endorsed a musical piece on Ambedkar’s life.
Among others, Gandhi is another important figure to whom the leaders of the AAP regularly pay tribute.

Thelma J. Longworth