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Thursday, September 29, 2022

English Mainstream Media Supports the Fling of a Megalomaniac

No other word describes Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, as aptly as megalomaniac. The general definition of the word is – an obsessive desire for power. If you look at him you will see an ordinary Bharatiya with simple clothes and a pair of inexpensive slippers. The facade may persuade you to accept him as anything but megalomaniac; yet obsession for power resides in the head, it does not conform to any moral standard. Kejriwal has a very fertile head and has his own code of ethics.

Kejriwal broke each and every word he promised to his voters. Once he had said he would never contest an election, yet he did. He had also promised that he would remain an ‘aam admi’ despite being in power. Still, there are around him just as many trappings and frills of power as any other politician. The litany of broken promises would be exhaustive though.

Like any other politician, Kejriwal is not alone in the long list of unfaithful politicians. But in one respect he surpasses all. His hobby of monkey business has no equal. Bharat has rarely seen a politician with such an insatiable want of mischief-mongering.

The latest episode of his monkey business involves the so-called ‘couch protest’ he led from Raj Niwas, Delhi Lt. Governor’s residence. He and his three cabinet colleagues went to meet the Lt. Governor but refused to leave the visitors room until all their demands were conceded. They refused to talk to the Lt. Governor; insisting on the fulfilment of demands as a pre-condition for the talks. They remained there for nine days.

Kejriwal has a host of demands. He says the central government doesn’t like his government, therefore, he is not allowed to work. He alleges that his bureaucracy refuses to follow orders and that they have stopped work at the behest of the central government. He wants complete autonomy, which he says is not possible unless Delhi is declared as a full state as like any other state of Bharat. In course of time, the ‘couch protest’ escalated into a fast.

The ‘couch protesters’ and their party were not alone in the tussle of power. There were horde of journalists who saw a point in Kejriwal’s argument; they approved his ‘couch protest’ and asked the central government to back down. But there was nothing for the central government to back down, because, to begin with, the central government did not give any reason for the flare up.

The flare up came from Kejriwal. In February this year, the Delhi Chief Secretary, the senior-most IAS officer serving the state,  had alleged that he was beaten up at Kejriwal’s official residence in the presence of the Chief Minister. Kejriwal witnessed the attack and he did not intervene to stop the assault. The civil servants were upset. If the top most bureaucrat was not safe, they argued, how could they work in such a hostile environment.

Yet, the media bought all the arguments of Kejriwal. For this excess also, the media had a reason. Kejriwal was targeting the Modi government, therefore all those in media who think Bharat has entered a dark age after Narendra Modi became the prime minister, lapped it up.

None of them thought it fit to verify Kejriwal’s allegations. A ventriloquist’s job is to mimic, and these journalists mimicked the allegations in order to put the central government in bad light.

None of these journalists went to the Delhi secretariat to find out whether bureaucrats were on strike. It seems they were not interested to find out. They didn’t even put the ‘couch protest’ under the usual media scrutiny.

When the media came up with one-sided coverage and called civil servants non-cooperative, the hapless bureaucrats called the media to give their side of the story. They said they were not on strike but they fear bullying from the elected representatives; despite their reservations, the Kejriwal government did nothing to allay their fear. If the chief secretary could be beaten, the bureaucrats argued, they did not feel safe. Yet, to show their protest, they only observed five minutes silence before starting their work.

Some retired bureaucrats came out in Kejriwal’s support pointing out that civil servants cannot stop work, and if they do it is violating the constitution. However, these retired bureaucrats did not reprimand Kejriwal for beating his top official. They did not even bother to acknowledge that civil servants were working in fear. They chose to believe every word of Kejriwal.

Amidst all this, four chief ministers arrived in Delhi to offer their support to Kejriwal. They were not allowed to meet him in the LG’s residence. The media called the denial of permission undemocratic and dictatorial. Even the basic knowledge of protocol would have indicated that the permission was not possible.

Raj Niwas is an official residence of the highest functionary of the state. One needs to have an appointment and cannot barge in to the residence, only to run him down. It is an established protocol that even a minister needs to have an appointment to meet the chief minister.

The same rule was applied when Kejriwal’s family came to meet him. They were politely sent back. But a picture of theirs, seated in a car with seat belt strap across the shoulder, sadness writ large on the faces, immediately showed up on social media. Yet again, the central government was accused of lacking in sympathy and humanity.

The place of the protest helped the protesters. It helped them to show as if they were under house arrest and any contact with family or party was denied. The protesters clicked their photos and put them on social media. In the meantime, two fasting ministers fell ill and were shifted to hospital.

The sympathetic media once again avoided asking simple questions. For instance,

  • How and who came to take the fasting minister’s blood/urine samples?
  • How come the couch protesters managed to get clean set of clothes?
  • Nowhere in their self-clicked pictures had they got a beard, despite fasting for nine days.
  • One report also suggests that one of the ministers actually gained weight!
  • The two fasting ministers who were admitted to a hospital recovered in a jiffy when the protest was withdrawn. They showed up in the best of health in a press conference immediately after the protest was over.

The ‘couch protest’ showed the moniker side of Kejriwal. For nine days, he dominated the media and managed to make himself the victim & gain sympathy.

While calling off the protest, Kejriwal had agreed to talk to the civil servants in a view to allay their fear and apprehension. It was his duty to protect his officers and provide a healthy working environment. Instead, as is his wont, he went back on his words within hours of the settlement.

He did not invite the civil servants for talks. He addressed a conference of his party where he repeated the allegations and dubbed his so-called fast a success. Before going to the party function, he carefully put a picture on social media in which he was seen having tea with his family at his residence.

He next showed up at an Eid Milan programme to dine with a host of politicians. Then came the news that Kejriwal would go on leave for 10 days to Bengaluru to overcome the health complications the fast had caused. It was clear that he did not intend to meet the civil servants, and he kept up the stalemate to exploit it in future. His worst is yet to come.

That the media allows themselves to be used for the cynical programme of Kejriwal is actually an indictment of the way they are trying to manufacture what they call narratives, which only add to already existing tensions. Thus it reaffirms that it is the intellectuals and not the politicians who are the real problem.

-Arvind Singh

(Featured Image Source)

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