Media ‘Menace’ For AAP
It seems by the time the general elections are over, the number of journalists branded as biased (and worse) might be far more than ever before. As it is the division of the media between those who are alleged to be pro-BJP, neutrals and anti-BJP, that is anti-Narendra Modi, it is in this election distinctly, which is more marked than that in the earlier ones.
One of the reasons is obvious. Modi has self-propelled himself on the centre stage and has been in the news because of his massive rallies, over 100 so far, and has too strong a personality which with his exceptionally excellent public oration, he cannot be just ignored. His picture in public mind of both of those who like him and those who loathe him is so vividly etched that all of them want to know what he is doing or saying.
On the other end of the spectrum is Arvind Kejriwal. A recent entrant in Indian politics he has, notwithstanding 49 inglorious days of his flop rule in Delhi, developed an ego that seems to vest in him the authority to judge anyone and everyone unasked. He considers every other politician corrupt and when he wants to condemn someone he brands him/her of taking money.
But he has not lost the sense of self-preservation. Before the Delhi Assembly polls, he used to condemn Congress as corrupt. But once he accepted its support to form the Delhi government he has scrupulously been silent about the Congress or UPA. All the CWG, Adarsh, Coalgate and many other scams have all been put by him in his select memory and now he remembers Ambanis and Adnanis.
He refrains from talking about other leaders and parties like BSP, SP, AIADMK or BJD.
For Kejriwal, there is only one devil incarnate in Indian politics—Narendra Modi. If he knew black magic, Modi would have been dead. But unfortunately he does not know it. So he has made “Finish Modi” his single obsession. He needs the media to be a collaborator in his Finish Modi operation.
Here he has some access. Largely a creation of the media, Kejriwal has shrewdly cultivated some of them, according to insiders. He is in close enough terms with these “friends” to ‘help’ them with ‘editing’ and advise them to highlight some part of the news report or underplay or ignore them.
Others in the media with whom he could not establish this kind of bonhomie are the ‘biased’ ones—some he thinks are paid ones. And these journalists judged to accept cash or favours in kind by Keriwal would be thrown into jails, once he comes to power. So he has said with the proviso that an inquiry would be held before the incarceration—possibly the kind of referendum he holds from time to time to ‘elicit’ people’s views. So there is little to doubt that the Kejriwal-condemned journalists would go to jail and for quite some time they might have to cool there heals in the cellar. He has denied making such remarks, but it is said there is video evidence. He would possibly put it to a conspiracy between Ambanis, Adnanis and Modi. Well this is neither here or there.
We have to admire him that after Mrs Gandhi jailed Kuldip Nayar decades ago, we have a politician who has dared to imprison not one but many jurnos behind bar. He must have forgotten—or put it in his selective memory—the punishment people gave to Mrs Gandhi. She and her son lost and her party almost destroyed.
Kejriwal has nothing to fear. He has not so eligibles for election nor has he a party worth the name. His is a one-man party—the one man being himself. Others are the usual collection of agitators and the kind whom Lenin termed “useful idiots”.
Where are the Bhushans, Sisodias and others, only Kejriwal is hopping from one place to another in what he terms campaigning. In fact these meetings are used to castigate his pet hate-obsession, Modi. The redemption has begun. The media is paying back. Suddenly there is a surfeit of reports damaging AAP and Kejriwal—reports of CIA links, NGO funding, reports that most candidates of his are like him have NGO links and intense inquiry about foreign donations. Scrutiny of candidates has begun too, there is one candidate, very respectable and educated, who campaigned for the release of Ghulam Nabi Sai.
Kejriwal has been a hero of middle class romanticism—a knight on a shining white horse racing to rid of political corruption. He rode on to the Delhi Chief Minister’s gaddi on a sun-filled December 29 afternoon.
But soon after he jumped out of that gaddi somersaulting towards the Prime Minister’s chamber in South Block.
The middle class dream is over and the whole media which cheered him on that December 29 has now been divided between those who are “honest”and help him and the “paid” ones who do not support him blindly.
It is these so-called paid ones who would be the honest ones who would present Kejriwal to the voter shorn of his fading aura of a politician fit enough for a democracy.
Congress Leaders Show ‘Withdrawal’ Symptom
Congress leaders of yore were doughty fighters. Even after Emergency was lifted by Mrs Gandhi and sensing anti-Congress wave, no leader shied of fighting the election. But almost all of them were routed.
But when the next election was announced within three years after, all these vanquished warriors were battle-ready. One can call them brave-hearted or brainless, but they proved to be true foot soldiers. None deserted the Gandhis—and Sanjay.
Mrs Gandhi won the 1980 election with large majority. The MPs swarmed the lawns of 1, Akbar Road, prompting Mrs Gandhi to say to the Newsweek’s special correspondent: “They all are here because of me.”
It is different now. Ministers and MPs do not have much faith in the present mother-son duo, unlike in the mother and son duo of 1980, that they could get them elected. Thus many have told the bosses that they do not want to contest. Others, the senior ones, are trying for Rajya Sabha berth.
One minister from Andhra Pradesh was candid, “I don’t want to fight because I do not wish to have the word defeated or lost included in my portfolio. And I am sure I would lose.”
He explained that one, the wave was anti-Congress and secondly neither Soniaji nor Rahul Gandhi had the stamina and prowess to counter the anti-Congress and pro-Modi waves.
It is possible that the Congress leadership would have to find some old loyalists to fill in the numbers.
What is bad is that despite Rahul Gandhi’s bravado that the Congress would get over 200 seats and form the UPA-3, not only other parties give no credence to his claim, but even her own partymen do not believe him. How fortunes change? One were Indira Gandhi and Sanjay who pulled up their party from ashes to power and the other presently are Sonia Gandhi and Rahul who are helplessly watching their party crumbling from the top to bottom.
The Dissent Within
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) top leadership in Delhi was riven within even when elections had been announced. The leaders who were frustrated in their no-holds-barred attempt to derail plans to make Narendra Modi a prime minister nominee were livid but could not vent their fury because of RSS pressure. So quite a few of them have been picking some issue or the other to criticize Modi and company.
It is said LK Advani is now fully supportive of Modi, at least his speeches show that. Only Sushma Swaraj had criticised publicly admission of a politician. But she quietened after Arun Jaitley stated that no differences be aired publicly.
It is all quiet in the anti-Modi element in top BJP leadership. But like Cassius a few ex-dissenters have angry look.