AHEAD OF last year’s Delhi assembly polls, music composer Vishal Dadlani had walked the streets campaigning for Aam Aadmi Party candidates, the ‘Paanch saal Kejriwal’ slogan composed by him blaring on loudspeakers as he promised Delhi would be a safer city for women if Arvind Kejriwal was given yet another chance. Drawn to the India Against Corruption movement, Dadlani had stuck with its leaders, particularly Kejriwal through his ups and downs.
Until Saturday. Dadlani has decided to “quit all active political work/affiliation” over a comment he had made on Jain religious leader Tarun Sagar, following his address to the Haryana assembly, where he had likened the man-woman relationship to dharma and politics and stressed the need for the man to discipline the woman. Dadlani lashed out on social media and ridiculed the monk on his attire, or lack of it, prompting Kejriwal and party colleague Satyendar Jain to snub him.
His comments also led to at least two police complaints. Ambala Cantt police registered an FIR against Dadlani as well as Congress member Tehseen Poonawalla after one Puneet Arora lodged a complaint accusing them of hurting religious sentiments of the Jain community with their tweets. Police said the the cyber cell will follow up on the FIR, lodged under various sections including 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion). In Mumbai, members of the Jain community filed a similar complaint against Dadlani and Poonawalla. Chembur police said they are seeking legal opinion whether it warrants a case under 153-A.
Dadlani did apologise to AAP members, as well as Twitter followers who took exception to his views, but also stressed his stand against “mixing religion and politics”. But Kejriwal chose to distance himself from the remarks at a time the party is looking for a foothold in Gujarat, a state with a sizeable Jain population and heading for elections.
So far, Dadlani seemed to have taken on the role of Kejriwal’s propagandist on Twitter, where he has 1.78 million followers, a base no AAP leader apart from Kejriwal could have matched. Dadlani took on PM Narendra Modi, the BJP and the RSS, although he always maintained he was never a member of AAP.
Dadlani had initially differed over the transformation of the anti-corruption movement into a political party, but soon came on board. He became one of the few “star campaigners” of the party in all its elections.
A top AAP leader insists that the difference of opinion is on Dadlani’s comment on the monk’s attire, something for which the musician has already apologised. If the difference is also on political correctness, AAP has not spelt it out — even if that means dropping a good friend.
With ENS inputs from Mumbai & Chandigarh