Executive Director, C Voter Foundation
When you make a claim, even if it is exaggerated, at least have the sense and decency to not presume that the ordinary Indians a complete fool who is capable of believing any nonsense. The latest claim coming from the circus that is Aam Aadmi Party is that the BJP has offered Rs 25 crores each in bribes to seven AAP MLAs of Delhi to leave the party. Now, there can be no doubt that the BJP is capable of toppling sate governments, whether through bribes or other means is beyond the remit of this author. He Congress-JD(S) alliance government was toppled as many MLAs simply quit the party and signed as MLAs. The same thing happened with the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh just before Covid forced a lockdown. And then, the Shiv Sena was vertically split in Mahasabha due to which the MVA government led by Udhaav Thackeray collapsed. So yes, if the BJP senses an opportunity and sees a chink in the opposition armour, it ruthlessly goes for the kill.
Yet, given all this recent history, the claims made by Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders are clearly laughable. The reason is plain simple common sense. What are the facts? in an assembly of 70 members in Delhi, AAP has 63 MLAs. The majority mark is 36. What are the other facts? To be able to split a party, two thirds of sitting MLAs have to beak away and formally announce that they are the real party. This has happened with the Shiv Sena and the NCP in Maharashtra and the disputes are still pending before the Supreme Court. If AAP has to split and the BJP topple Arvind Kejriwal as the Delhi chief minister, about 40 MLAs at the least will have to announce they have lost trust in Kejriwal and the faction they represent is the real AAP. Since these are the facts and the law, what would BJP gain by luring away just 7 MLAs at Rs 25 crore each? Even if the MLAs ensign, AAP will continue to have a massive majority. If they quit AAP and don’t resign, they will be disqualified as MLAs. So what nonsense are Kejriwal and his minions talking about?
As a sounding as the claims made by AAP are the manner in which most media platforms merely confine themselves to repotting the claims. There has been no attempt to provide context the way this author has done above. There has been no attempt to ask and insist that AAP at least provide the names of the seven MLAs who seem to have been contacted by the BJP with offers of bribes. There has been no attempt to ask AAP to present the seven MLAs before the media so that they can provide the details. One can’t blame the journalists for this. The media industry is going through an unprecedented crisis of both credibility and revenue. The later is existential. Most media platforms are hopelessly dependent on advertisements from governments for survival. And when it comes to advertisements, Kejriwal is a Grand Master. The only politician whose face is seen more often in V and newspapers other than Arvind Kejriwal is Narendra Modi. This author, and every media professional in Delhi knows that the moment a reporter files a story critical of the AAP government in Delhi, even if its based on facts and had data, she is promptly removed from What’s App groups of journalists covering AAP and barred from attending AAP press conferences.
Just one event highlights the yawning gap between the fanatic claims of Arvind Kejriwal and reality. In the heady days when he emerged as the “new hope”about a decade ago, Kejriwal made two promises. First, that he will lead a simple life and not “misuse” government facilities like other VIP politicians do. Second, he promised that he will take everybody along, including auto rickshaw drives and journalists along as stakeholders and decision makers in his version of paradise. All that has gone for a toss. Last year, some media outlets reported that the Delhi government has spent more than Rs 45 crores in refurbishing the official residence of chief minister Kejriwal. Not able to deny that such outrageous expenses have been incurred, AAP leaders resorted to their favourite tactics: it’s a conspiracy against Arvind and AAP who is as clean as Ma Ganga. One of the journalists who was involved in the story traveled to Punjab soon after on official assignment. She was arrested and sent to jail under the draconian SC/ST Act. She did get bail, but is is only evenly that the Punjab and Haryana quashed the case and rebuked the Punjab government.
What can one say about such a man, his party and his claims?
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.