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How and why AAP joined the ‘surgical strikes’ celebration without praising Modi

Jatin Gandhi, New Delhi:  Minutes after the DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh announced the Indian Army had struck

terrorist launch pads along the LoC, Delhi chief minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal tweeted support for the action. His choice of words was, however, careful.
“Bharat Mata Ki Jai, the entire country is with the Indian Army,” he tweeted in Hindi, just moments before he was scheduled to address a press conference from his official residence: 6 Flagstaff Road in Delhi’s Civil Lines.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 29, 2016
The reason why Kejriwal had chosen not to address the press in the middle of a working day from his office was because he intended to speak not as the Delhi chief minister but the party’s national chief, sources in his office said. He would likely target the Narendra Modi-led political establishment.
Kejriwal’s conference, originally scheduled for 1pm, was quickly postponed to 5pm on Thursday as reactions began pouring in to the government’s decision to order strikes, marking a paradigm shift in dealing with cross-border terror. Two hours later, it stood cancelled.
The AAP did not issue a formal statement on the strikes nor was it called for the all-party meeting at North Block. Instead, party leaders took to twitter praising the army action but without praising PM Modi or the union government.“There is no opposition today. India is One. Let Indian army create history and entire Nation stands behind them firmly,” Kejriwal’s cabinet colleague Kapil Mishra tweeted. And Kejriwal retweeted it.
Mishra even took a swipe at Pakistan, but like Kejriwal, he also did not laud the government.
Dear Pakistani terrorists, you don’t need to cross LOC for getting killed. Army has started home delivery. Special festive season offer
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishraAAP) September 29, 2016
The reason, AAP insiders say, is that Kejriwal is expected to carry out an expose on “a top leader in the political establishment” in Friday’s special session of the Delhi assembly. The party has planned its political course of action in the days to come on the basis of its expose.
Despite not having the numbers in Parliament that the main opposition party Congress has, the AAP is trying hard to displace the grand old party as the chief opposition voice in the public sphere.
The party could not be seen as praising Modi at a time when it is working on building a political narrative that rests on being anti-Modi. But it could not have missed out on the nationalist fervour that had also engulfed other opposition parties.

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