It may well turn out to be the lull before the storm. A truce was called between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and poet-politician Kumar Vishwas on May 3 but it may not long last. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was occasionally called a right man in the wrong party. Similarly, sooner than later Kumar Vishwas is likely to part ways with Kejriwal because he too is a misfit in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
While coming down heavily on the humiliating assault by the local youth on the security forces in Kashmir, Kumar Vishwas released a video on April 14 critiqued personality cult in the political parties. He criticised BJP, Congress and AAP for revolving around Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal respectively.
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; Dr Kumar Vishvas (@DrKumarVishwas) April 14, 2017
Coming shortly after AAP's drubbing in the Punjab and Goa Assembly elections, it was seen as a direct attack on Kejriwal.
A war of words followed in AAP. Party MLA Amanatullah attacked Kumar Vishwas. He demanded action against the MLA, saying he would have been expelled had he spoken against Kejriwal or Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. A split in AAP looked imminent forcing the leaders to call truce.
A photograph purportedly clicked during AAP's Political Affairs Committee meeting on April 3 told the tale. While all other leaders were seen smiling, the only serious and frowning face was that of Kumar Vishwas.
In any case, it was not the first time that Kumar Vishwas has criticised Arvind Kejriwal. He had done it even after AAP's near dismal show in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when the party had won just four of the 400-odd seats it had contested.
In fact, Kumar Vishwas' views generally are at variance with that of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP.
1. PRAISE FOR PM NARENDRA MODI
Kumar Vishwas and Arvind Kejriwal are diametrically opposite to each other in the manner in which they treat PM Modi. The Delhi CM has spared no opportunity to hot out hard at the PM and has used foul language such as "coward and psychopath" to address him.
On the other hand, Kumar Vishwas believes a PM is a rival till elections. But after elections, a PM is for the whole nation. Everyone has the right to praise the PM for his or her good work and the right to condemn him or her for any step which was not in the interest of the nation.
So far since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Kumar Vishwas has not used any filthy language for PM Modi.
On the contrary, he has admired Modi's foreign policies and lauded his response to the Jammu and Kashmir floods and spending of Diwali amongst the security forces.
2. MODI VS MANMOHAN
As usual, Arvind Kejriwal has been highly critical of PM Modi. But Kumar Vishwas has been on record to say that Narendra Modi is a better prime minister than his predecessor Manmohan Singh and that India was coming out of policy paralysis. Vishwas believes that Modi should be given a chance.
3. SURGICAL STRIKES
A large part of the nation lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Army's surgical strikes against terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on September 29. The public sentiment was also in favour of the military exercise against the neighbouring country. However, Arvind Kejriwal demanded its proof. The Delhi CM was widely criticized in the country for his move. Conversely, he was praised in Pakistan.
As against his own leader, Kumar Vishwas sang paeans on the country's security forces. He also criticised Kejriwal for demanding proof of the surgical strikes. He unequivocally said Kejriwal' stand on the issue was wrong.
The Delhi chief minister has been running a campaign against the EVMs, calling them tamper-prone. He has alleged that EVMs were hacked in the recently held Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Arvind Kejriwal has gone to the extent of casting aspersions on the Election Commission, calling it biased. He claimed that the EVM's software can be hacked and demanded handing over EVMs for 72 hours to prove his charge.
Exit polls for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections held last month predicted victory for BJP in all the three corporations. Arvind Kejriwal got furious at the exit polls and said he would launch a movement against EVMs if the actual results also went against AAP.
However, taking an opposite stand, Kumar Vishwas feels it wrong to blame EVMs for AAP's losses. Instead of finding fault with the EVMs, he wants AAP leaders to indulge in introspection and do away with the company of yes men.
Arvind Kejriwal was among the few Opposition leaders who had launched an aggressive campaign against PM Modi's demonetisation move. Along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he had demanded roll back of the initiative. He and Mamata had warned of a revolt if the Centre did not withdraw demonetisation.
However, Kumar Vishwas did not protest demonetisation. At best, he posted a humorous video caricaturing PM Modi and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani.
; Dr Kumar Vishvas (@DrKumarVishwas) December 9, 2016
On many occasions, Vajpayee's views were not in line with that of his party. He had praised the then prime minister Indira Gandhi after the 1971 Bangladesh War and called her "Ma Durga". Some leaders of BJP's rivals referred to Vajpayee as the "right man in the wrong party". However, Vajpayee never quit BJP. He never even threatened to do so.
Kumar Vishwas' stand is similar to that of Vajpayee. He too eulogises the prime minister who is his own party chief's bête noire. His nationalistic tone and tenor are not reflected in the stand taken by Kejriwal or other party leaders.
However, Kumar Vishwas is no Vajpayee. He has already threatened to quit once. The truce seems temporary. The fault lines between him and Kejriwal remain and they may broaden and deepen any time. Amanatullah has been suspended to placate Kumar Vishwas but no timeframe has been given for the inquiry to be completed against him.
Moreover, by making Kumar Vishwas in charge of Rajasthan elections, an attempt has been made to erode his popularity. AAP hardly has any base in the western state which goes to polls in 2018. An AAP loss will make Kumar Vishwas' position untenable.
But Kumar Vishwas' disillusionment with AAP may come much before the 2018 Assembly elections.
WHAT NEXT FOR KUMAR VISHWAS
Which political party will Kumar Vishwas join if he quits AAP?
He may quit politics. But if he doesn't, he is unlikely to join hands with former AAP colleagues Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. The latter is as vociferous in criticising PM Modi as Kejriwal. His views on Kashmir and security forces also do not find resonance with those of Kumar Vishwas.
Congress will also be no destination for the poet-politician. He too, like PM Modi, believes in a Congress-mukt Bharat. For him, Congress has introduced corruption, nepotism, dynasty, casteism and parachute-dropping in Indian polity.
Being an avowed nationalistic, Kumar Vishwas' views match with those of ruling BJP. Hence, in most likelihood, he will join BJP.