Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, on May 3rd alleged that the media has a conspiracy "to finish off AAP". At a recent event for the launch of a news website, Kejriwal endorsed the idea of public trials of the media.
"Public trials can be done. Say, there are 8-10 fixed places in Delhi where the public comes and it is told such and such channel had shown such a thing and it was false. Such public trials can be started," he said at the event, according to a Firstpost report.
His comments came after the media and several opposition leaders attacked the Law Minister, Jitendra Singh Tomar for possessing a fake law degree. Kejriwal defended him saying, " I have no relation with Tomar nor is he my friend. Why will I save him. As soon as allegations were [were] raised, I wrote to him seeking an explanation."
Kejriwal claimed there is a conspiracy against Tomar and he will continue to defend him.
An Aam Aadmi Party rally| Source: demotix.com
The Aam Aadmi Party has been under immense scrutiny for their recent rally held at Jantar Mantar. The rally garnered a great deal of attention because of the suicide of a farmer, Gajendra Singh at the event.
The Delhi police have claimed AAP supporters instigated the man to commit this extreme act. They also claim the party tried to delay the postmortem of the farmer. These charges have been refuted by the party, with the District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar saying, " Why would we want to delay the post-mortem? In fact when we reached the hospital, police refused to recognise our authority. They didn't even reveal the name of the farmer to us. I don't know why they are saying this".
Kejriwal and his party have been severely criticised about the event, as they continued the rally even after Gajendra Singh hung himself. For this Kejriwal says, "h ad we announced anything, a stampede could have occurred because of the large crowd," the chief minister said, adding that "police would have saved him if they knew it. When his body was brought down he was living. We should have stopped the programme then".
However, he also claimed that they were unable to see Gajendra Singh from the stage where they sat.
Before the Tomar and Singh incidents, the AAP was in the news due to the Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan debacle. This is all to say that AAP has had its fair share of media spankings. They have been in the news for more negative stories in the recent past than ever before. Resulting in internal turmoil, disillusioned public and a lack of governance.
Kejriwal blames this on the media. He claims, "a very large section of the media has accepted 'supari' for finishing of AAP". It is rather convenient, that in the midst of all this internal disruption, Kejriwal believes someone has put a hit out on his party.
"J ust as AAP had exposed politicians, we will expose the media. We won't tolerate blackmailing. Media is with corporates but 'janata' is with us. Some media houses are conspiring against AAP," he said .
The inconvenient truth
The problem here is, Kejriwal has forgotten the immense support he got from the media during his early days. The AAP would have never reached where it is without the support of the media. Other politicians have quickly picked up on this. BJP spokesperson and member of Press Council of India, Meenakshi Lekhi said, " Just as Delhi's voters are wondering who they have voted for, I am sure the media is also wondering who they have promoted. Those who live by the media will be exposed by the media."
Source: Indian Express
Congress leader Manish Tewari said, " As long as the media kept singing paens of the Aam Aadmi Party, they were very virtuous. The moment they started critique, they have become a devil for Mr Kejriwal and his party. Therefore, Mr Kejriwal should, once and for all, decide whether the media is an angel or a demon and he should not change his stand depending upon the coverage of the day, of his party and the government."
This seems to fall into a pattern with Kejriwal - his inability to take criticism. He hears dissent, he calls it conspiracy. It happened with Yadav and Bhushan, it happened with Anand Kumar, and now it is happening with the media.
In the hands of the public
The Aam Aadmi Party stands as the representative of the public, for the common man, and for the underprivileged. One of its major philosophies is that the public should hold the power. In theory this is a great idea, democracy equals power in the hands of the people. They have the power to elect governments and bring them down.
Aam Aadmi Party during dharna | Source: NDTV
However, in practice, power to the people can be dangerous. Kejriwal's version of this is heading down the dangerous path. He has mentioned a number of times that the public should take certain decision into their own hands. He has encouraged vigilantism by telling the people to become the police and investigate corruption of their own free will. He has asked the public to become inspectors and spy on police and bureaucrats. He has now asked them to become the judiciary and hold public trials against the media.
He has referred to himself as an anarchist and asked the public to support his dharnas, sit-ins and protests. He has ignored police direction and advised the people to do the same. It is all well and good to fight for something one believes in, however, sending the public down a wayward track will only bring harm to them and lead to disappointment.