Why mainstream media is responsible for the Kejriwal fiasco
Source :News Bharati English   Date :08-May-2017

The Sunday on May 7th turned out to be a truly hot for the media. It was a denouncement many observers like me were waiting for. We knew that Kejriwal was a media created phenomenon who is not just unscrupulously ambitious but politically and ethically corrupt person. Media also knew it. New charges of financial corruption were not really surprising. It was but the next step for him.

Then, why did media keep supporting Kejriwal? A few are still carrying on last ditch battle on his behalf. It doesn’t matter whether he comes out of this muck unscathed or drowned in it. This is the end of the road for Kejriwal and AAP in their ambitious plans for power.If observers like me could see through Arvind Kejriwal’s megalomania and naked thirst for power, why media with its entire intelligence gathering couldn’t see what was apparent based on facts in public domain?  

I, therefore, charge main stream media (MSM) for deliberately obfuscating facts about Arvind Kejriwal in an urge to project him as an alternative to PM Modi.  That this projection of a glorified mayor of a city state like Delhi, or between a giant and a pigmy was itself ridiculous is another matter. But, being blindsided about his follies and critical failings in his character has led media to another avoidable failure in inglorious personality building exercise.

Let me put forward a few known facts out again to buttress my submission –

  1. This apparently honest IRS official never got transferred from comfortable Delhi for nearly 20 years. His IRS wife posted in Ghaziabad also never got transferred. Give me one example of an honest IRS or any IAS officer who wouldn’t have been transferred at least 6 times if not more in this period?
  2. There is a letter in public domain allegedly from Sonia Gandhi that recommended stay on his transfer. Since it is on Social Media and I don’t have resources to check its authenticity. But, there surely were powers that let him enjoy his term in Delhi undisturbed. He was one of the few hundred fortunate ones with right connections in Lutyen’s Delhi. These connections don’t work without some moral cost.
  3. All his so called social services were at the cost of exchequer during this period with long leaves and absence from his desk.
  4. He received highly desirable Magsaysay Award within a very short time of his establishing his NGO - for working for RTI, though he was not the prime mover of RTI movement. There were Aruna Roy and Dr Jaiprakash Narayan of Loksatta. But he tried to corner all the accolades, duly backed by many in the media.
  5. Ask any other Indian Magsaysay Award in India. They will vouch for their hard work before they got these awards. Was Ford Foundation behind this early recognition? Media should have found out.
  6. It is known within Lutyen’s Delhi circles and journalist fraternity that Arvind’s ambition to be duly rewarded in public life for RTI but failed. He then picked up IAC platform as the atmosphere was ripe with scores of scams bursting forth and exposed by media, people like Dr. Swamy and RTI warriors.
  7. To bolster his image, he roped in Anna Hazare. Crafty Arvind knew that without the backing of a known face he will not get the much-needed push to his ambition in public life, so he brought gullible Anna to Delhi, who is a highly respected name. This was his master stroke and media, in search of ‘non-Sanghi’ leader to counter the rising crescendo in favour of nationalist forces, lapped up the idea. Media found someone whom they could probably manipulate and project and not be beholden to other regional casteist satraps.
  8. Many journalists who covered Kejriwal’s indefinite fast in Delhi had come to know about his duplicity and crafty image management. I have heard personal anecdotes from senior editors and anchors about his image build up exercise. But, media kept quiet.
  9. After professing to never join politics and his supposed guide Anna advising against it, Arvind went on to establish his political party AAP realising that time was ripe for next leap. But, media rather than questioning his U-turn, went berserk, projecting him as the answer to Modi. There is no problem in projecting anybody against anybody. But, for left influenced media to do so with all the background information available, it was sad. It was built on plain animosity to nationalist forces represented by BJP and Modi at that time.
  10. After Delhi Assembly elections, he again took an oath that he will never seek help from Congress but took its help to form his first ministry. He then junked Congress at right time with flimsy excuses and people fell for his stunts ably misled by media.
  11. Seven out of six of his cabinet ministers have corruption charges against them. 21 MLAs are on the verge of disqualification for ‘Office of Profit’ case. How was he any different (at a much lower level) from Manmohan Singh who presided over a corrupt cabinet quietly?
  12. Arvind’s disagreements with his teammates always resulted in senior members being thrown out, disgraced. Nearly all the founding members have been thrown out. These expulsions used to be just a few minutes news for all TV channels and small columns in newspapers for a day.
  13. TV Channels invited his buddies on every topic under the Sun in debates. It was strange to see voluble upstarts of a local party talking about national issues or criticising others as the whitest of all knights out to demolish existing system – without any alternative in sight.
  14. All his months in power in Delhi were lost in tamasha, hate politics, insulting Prime Minister of the nation with no work and no responsibility. Media still backed him. Not all had benefited from his largesse of posts in various education institutions’ managing boards. Some were obliged with crores of advertisements.
  15. Arvind Kejriwal’s open support to anti-nationals, Maoists, Urban Naxals, Separatists of Kashmir; and getting support from pro-Khalistani forces in Punjab didn’t disturb the mainstream media. But for alert Social Media, his shenanigans would have gone unnoticed.
  16. His defeat in Punjab was engineered by alert voters who realised his games and duplicitous way of working or we would have seen Punjab burning like Kashmir today.

Wise readers understand that paper cut-outs of any size cannot really make a great leader out of a morally, ethically corrupt leader with no vision for the society and nation but only blind ambition for self.

I feel strong empathy for ex-AAP workers, and founder members that worked selflessly for AAP and gave whatever they could to Arvind Kejriwal to see a change in society and bring in reforms but were failed by their leader.

I belong to a generation that had put faith in the phalanx of great opposition leaders who had spent their lifetimes working selflessly for the society. We had sacrificed for democracy and anti-corruption drive in 1975-77 like current generation volunteers of AAP. But, we were not driven by media that didn’t have today’s reach and was subservient to Indira Gandhi in Emergency. It got no chance to project opposition.  But JP movement and fight for democracy strongly backed by RSS had become people’s movement and defeated dictatorial Indira Gandhi. 

We too felt betrayed by petty politics of the leaders once they gained power. It was a cathartic moment. But, many of us having faith in the non-political way of reforming society and system could still rise again and return to social work. Some others diverted into other movements and kept working for the society.  Many went back to normal life, with cynicism for politics.

Unfortunately for this generation, media with all the power of communication did not play its role objectively. Therefore, I blame the mainstream media (MSM) for this Arvind Kejriwal fiasco. It was an avoidable disaster that our nation can ill afford at this historical juncture when its people are ready to break out of years of tyranny of poor governance, self-pity and make their mark in history.

I hope that our media has learnt its lessons and will be more realistic, alert and non-partisan in coming times.