In India, education matters a lot, particularly as a measure of the social status. If you lack a degree, it is expected that the urban, middle-class will even refuse to look at you. The stories that some great people did well in life despite having little or no formal education serve as examples of brilliance but that brilliance is more admired and less preferred by us Indians. [Dear Kejriwal, how does Modi's educational qualification matter?]
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which will be put to test early next year in Punjab, knows it very well. And it has cleverly made education a strategy to score some brownie points by targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's educational certificates. AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is refusing to let go the issue because he aspires to expose Modi in the eyes of that snobbish urban middle-class.
He wants to make sure that Modi's 'chaiwala identity' doesn't continue to earn him more sympathy and votes. In a nutshell, through this relentless pursuit to expose Modi's 'lack of education and the pretension', Kejriwal has sounded the bugle for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. He just wants to be the PM's main challenger. [BJP gives proof of Modi's degree; seeks Kejriwal's apology]
Kejriwal---A man of limited reach but unlimited ambition
Politics is played more in the mind than in the media and being a manipulator of the media, Kejriwal knows it is important to beat the BJP in the mind game first. The AAP supremo religiously targets Modi for as long as Modi's popularity will dominate India's politics, Kejriwal himself will remain afloat. He is a man of limited reach but unlimited ambition and thus his entire political capital rests on Modi.
Kejriwal made the move on degree after taking into consideration several aspects.
After odd-even formula failed to deliver, Kejriwal as an administrator has taken a hit
First, after his odd-even formula hit a wall, Kejriwal now needs something to divert the attention from on him as an administrator, particularly ahead of the election in Punjab where the AAP will look to dethrone the SAD-BJP regime. It is always good to target Modi, just as he had done after failing to survive as the chief minister of Delhi for more than 49 days in his first stint in 2013-14. He went after the same Modi and contested the Lok Sabha election against him from Varanasi.
A sure defeat was never in the calculation but Kejriwal showed that he believes in adventurism and is never afraid to take risks. The plan had paid off in a way in 2015 when he became the CM of Delhi again after humbling Modi's BJP as the latter went too much after him, targeting him as "AK49".
Exposing Modi to reduce his stature is important for an urban party like AAP
Secondly, the AAP has a genuine problem with the BJP since like the latter, it is also mainly an urban-centric party. Defeating the Congress in the urban pockets is easier but it is much more difficult to take the BJP's place, at least till Modi---the darling of the middle class---is there.
Kejriwal's latest effort is hence to 'expose' the prime minister as a man who 'misled' his supporters on his educational qualification---a vital one to gain recognition in today's India. With no other big leader in the race who can ignite the imagination of the influential middle-class today, Kejriwal's desperate efforts to see Modi's decline is no surprise.
Kejriwal praised Modi a few days ago over the water train; that was too a politically motivated act
Thirdly, the same Kejriwal had a few months ago praised the Modi government to send a water train to the drought-affected Latur region in Maharashtra. He also said that the people of Delhi are ready to send 10 lakh litres to Lature everyday for the next two months (which is twice the volume sent in the water train). This praise was nothing but a political one-upmanship by Kejriwal.
Kejriwal wants to show that he has a heart bigger than anybody else
He not only raised the volume to show his 'bigger heart' than that of Modi's BJP but also to send across the message that his government was the first to rush in with help and that despite its own state having water shortage issues.
So, in case the AAP comes to power in other states, just imagine with what humanitarian alacrity will it work. By targeting the drought-affected Latur, Kejriwal also put focus on the farming community as well, not just in Maharashtra where it had tried to make dents in the past but could not, but also in the poll-bound Punjab where agriculture is big.