Arvind Kejriwal is at it again. The chief minister of Delhi refuses to let go the controversy surrounding the educational qualification of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After it came to light that Modi has a BA degree, Kejriwal has claimed that the degree is fake and it belongs to one Narendra Kumar Mahavir Prasad Modi and not Narendra Damodardas Modi, who came to power with an overwhelming majority in 2014.
The '3 Idiots' moment of Kejriwal-Modi tussle
Now, this '3 Idiots' moment of the latest controversy counts little apart from keeping Kejriwal in the limelight. Just like the confusion over a Gujarati named Ranchhoddas Shamaldas Chanchad in the 2009 Aamir Khan-starrer, the real-life confusion over another Gujarati called Modi is no less attractive for the media and its manipulator like Arvind Kejriwal. [Sorry Mr Kejriwal, you cannot call India's PM a 'psychopath']
But the question is: How does Modi's formal educational qualification matter? The PM is not just any other member or minister who can be cornered by just playing the qualification card. Before anything else, Modi is known to be an administrator who has led a progressive state like Gujarat for 13 years. [Media asked not to touch Modi degree row: Arvind Kejriwal]
He is neither a prime minister by accident nor has been nominated by a superior power centre. He is perhaps the first regional leader of the country to have single-handedly influenced the outcome of a national election.
Trying to expose Modi on grounds of educational qualification, hence, makes little sense.
Why this meaningless move makes a lot of sense for Kejriwal
But for Kejriwal, this senseless move makes a lot of sense. The AAP leader has renewed his old battle with Modi for two reasons.
One, a recent survey has said that still 74 per cent people back Modi as the prime minister. With three years to go for the next Lok Sabha election which Kejriwal is eyeing like a hawk, this is not a great news. Secondly, the administrator in Kejriwal met a disappointment after his much-acclaimed odd-even formula hit a wall. This certainly left Kejriwal's ego bruised and he had every reason to believe that he fell behind Modi in the race to the 2019 general polls.
The AAP chief, hence, put the focus on Modi's educational qualification. This is an issue that Kejriwal has capitalised on in the past as well. His own party had also seen people with dubious educational qualifications. This is something that connects well with India's moralistic middle-class and Kejriwal is no fool not to understand that.
But this weapon is far too weak to unsettle Modi; Did Manmohan's degrees come to any use?
But hoping to unsettle Modi with that weapon is perhaps too ambitious. It's not just Modi's proven record as an administrator that shields him against such charge. The fact that he is the immediate successor to Manmohan Singh, who perhaps has an educational qualification unparalleled among the current breed of politicians but mattered little as an administrator, makes Modi invincible against the latest charge. Formal education has very little to do with administrative prowess.
Kejriwal's tirade against Modi is for his own personal benefit
However, it is also expected that Kejriwal will continue with his tirade against Modi for his own benefit. Being a leader with a limited reach but unlimited ambition, Kejriwal's only way forward is by chasing Modi and ride on the latter's popularity.
The AAP leader had started his political career as a crusader against corruption but after the goof-up after 49 days in 2013-14, tactically transformed himself into crusader against Modi.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, he even contested against Modi from Varanasi, proving the extent of risk he was ready to take just to enhance his political career for he had nothing else to offer to the people.