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What App, Mr Kejriwal?

Sutanu Guru takes a brief look at the colourful political career of Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal

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You can be sure that both theatrics and hysterics will not be too far behind when it comes to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party. The latest is Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai resigning from his post due to “health reasons”. There are allegations of a scam related to premium app based bus services against Mr Rai. Of course, he continues to hold other portfolios even as he faces a possible investigation cum interrogation from the Anti Corruption Bureau. This comes soon after President Pranab Mukherjee refused to pass a bill that retrospectively allowed 21 MLAS of AAP to hold an “office of profit” as parliamentary secretaries.

These 21 MLAS might lose their membership if the Election Commission deems eventually that they have violated constitutional norms. Typical of AAP, they have tried very hard to play the victim card to the hilt. For Arvind Kejriwal and his fans, it seems Prime Minister Narendra Modi is so afraid and jealous of them that he spends most of his working hours plotting and planning to stop Kejriwal from doing good for Delhi.

Now all politicians face scrutiny as well as criticism. Perhaps the most critiqued political leader in recent times has been Narendra Modi. Many of the criticisms have some validity; many also are pure play prejudice against an outsider who has captured Lutyens Delhi. One of the key allegations against Modi, leveled by many mainstream journalists is that he has failed to curb corruption at grassroots level.

The second more serious charge is that he encourages a fascist and authoritarian agenda against freedom of speech. Enough has been said about Modi. What is surprising how most most “liberal” media professionals fail to generate outrage when AAP or Kejriwal do what Modi is accused of. Without being judgmental, here is a brief list of what Kejriwal has said and done since he emerged as an anti corruption crusader:

• In January 2014, the then Law minister of Delhi Somnath Bharti allegedly led a mob that assaulted and abused African nationals. Arvind Kejriwal sat on a dharna and threatened to disrupt Republic Day celebrations. Many senior party leaders openly ridiculed journalists on camera of being paid stooges of Ambani, Adani and others. There was muted criticism.

• During the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign, Arvind Kejriwal addressed a group in the city of Nagpur where he openly proclaimed that many journalists will be put behind bars when he and his party come to power. Some journalists actually asked for introspection instead of falling down like a ton of bricks on Kejriwal.

• Within a month or so of Kejriwal becoming chief minister of Delhi with a massive mandate, a farmer from Rajasthan allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree at Jantar Mantar in Delhi even as Kejriwal was addressing some protest rally. It took more than 48 hours of condemnation before Kejriwal said a half hearted sorry even as he accused the media of hounding him at the behest of Ambanis, Adanis etc.

• Soon after that, mint was revealed that his Law Minister Jitendar Tomar might have used forged and fake degrees. Even as the cops pursued the case, Kejriwal and the entire leadership of the AAP thundered that Tomar is being framed because the real target is Kejriwal. Again, the media was abused and accused of working at the behest of vested interests. Not a word of apology came when it was more or less compulsively proved that Tomar had indeed forged his degrees.

• A little before all this, Kejriwal had thrown out two “trusted” colleagues and founder members of AAP Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav. A sting operation revealed that he had no hesitation in using uncalled for language against them

There are many, many other similar examples. The reader must interpret like the author: is the liberal media establishment too soft on the Delhi Chief Minister?