1. Arvind Kejriwal a dangerous idea: No establishment will let him survive

Arvind Kejriwal a dangerous idea: No establishment will let him survive

The wag has a point. The 2017 Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, we are being persistently reminded, were won by the BJP handsomely because of a single factor: a Modi wave. Fair enough. But the BJP won the two previous Delhi municipal elections also. Who generated the waves then?

By: | Published: April 29, 2017 1:09 PM
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (PTI)

The wag has a point. The 2017 Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, we are being persistently reminded, were won by the BJP handsomely because of a single factor: a Modi wave. Fair enough. But the BJP won the two previous Delhi municipal elections also. Who generated the waves then?

The anchors were hopping on their seats in orgasmic ecstasy. “Kejriwal routed, Kejriwal routed.” One of them, his mouth protruding like he was about to burst a gole-guppa, thrust his three fingers forward in a gesture of uncontrollable excitement. “Kejriwal is coming third; Kejriwal is third.”

As it turned out Kejriwal was not third. He came second with 48 seats. Third was the Congress with 30 seats. The BJP, of course, was way ahead of both with 181 of the 270 seats contested.

Terms like “routed”, “swept away”, “finished”, “buried”, “destroyed”, “crushed”, “smashed” were used for Kejriwal with such relish that one wondered what words would be pulled out from the Thesaurus for the Congress which had actually come third.

Moreover, how can Kejriwal and AAP be “swept away” from the MCD where they never were. Yes, the Congress was annihilated, but the TV anchors seemed uncomfortable with that reality. They would register that detail in tones of unbelievable politeness.

This visceral hatred for Kejriwal in the media remains something of a puzzle for me. Having been a pen pusher and TV anchor for decades, I cannot for the life of me understand “hatred” as an ingredient in a journalist’s make-up. In journalism, as in diplomacy, the cardinal principal always was to keep one’s balance.

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The high decibel, partisan hysteria which is the staple at all prime time discussions these days takes one’s breath away: the anchor shouts at inconvenient panelists and hands lollipops to BJP spokespersons.

I hesitate to lay all the blame at the door of journalists who man today’s media. They operate in a particular system of media ownership: he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Circumstances were not dissimilar a few decades ago. A proprietor in the classical mould, Ramnath Goenka, for instance, had abiding political interests. He, along with the RSS’ Nanaji Deshmukh, was one of the architects of what came to be known as JP’s Bihar movement. Subsequently he had a proprietary interest in the Morarji Desai-led Janata government. But keeping these facts in mind, the paper’s policy was enunciated by the powerful editor S. Mulgaonkar. There was credibility in the filtration process. The presentation was plausible.

It is not for a moment suggested that Kejriwal is God’s gift to Indian politics, but he has been quite unambiguous in his opposition to corporate power, xenophobia, communalism and a general militarism. Surely this should be to his credit.

Little wonder none of this registers with the media which came into being in the wake of economic liberalisation and accelerated globalisation. It was designed to carry advertising which the neo liberal economic policies would boost. A media in the image of Rupert Murdoch became a vogue. This Murdochised media was placed supinely in the service of crony capitalism which revelled in the two-party systems. Whichever party came on top was owned by corporates.

I have personal knowledge of even the mainstream Left having its hands in the same till. Rampaging corruption enveloped regimes in Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, the US, Indonesia, India, Pakistan — any country boasting of an electoral democracy.

A suffocated electorate began to break out of the two-party straitjacket. The Left surfaced in countries where economic issues dominated — Syriza and Podemos, both Communist parties, in Greece and Spain, for instance. Islamophobia and anti-immigrant xenophobia were fuelled in societies fearful of the biggest migration in history from West Asia and North Africa following America’s 9/11 wars. Marine Le Pen is the direct consequence of such fears.

The post-Soviet global establishment, with the US as its central column, weakened considerably after the 2008 economic meltdown. But it is resilient enough to fight and contain the two extremities. The formula is simple: where possible, a right-of-centre formation should be supported. But in a situation where extreme left is in competition with the extreme right, it is the Right which will obtain the vote of confidence. In other words, xenophobia and racism are preferable to anti-austerity politics.

In the recent French campaign, the Communist Jean-Luc Mélenchon surged ahead of most other candidates. Supposing the run-off on May 7 were between Le Pen and Mélenchon, the establishment would have thrown its full weight behind Le Pen. She would have won. But Emmanuel Macron is a crafty candidate of the establishment in disguise: his En Marche! (March ahead) party is brand new and yet as a former banker he is nothing if not the establishment.

Kejriwal’s strength and weakness derive from the same fact. He is truly anti-establishment. It was extremely audacious of him to stand on that kind of a platform. The result is there for all to see. He stunned the nation winning 67 of 70 seats in the 2015 Delhi elections. He stood out all the more because his extraordinary success came within months of Modi’s victory. He alarmed the establishment, Modi, BJP, Congress, Lt. Governor, Police Commissioner and, above all, the corporate media. Kejriwal, unchecked, was a dangerous idea. He had to be waylaid at every turn. He must be politically exterminated.

Providing free water and cheap electricity, Mohalla Clinics to Delhi’s poor, despite his hands having been tied behind his back, is no mean achievement. A fearful Congress and the Akali-BJP combine ganged up against him in Punjab but he came second, ahead of the Akali-BJP.

True, he does not have the please-all-skills of a Macron. It, therefore, remains something of a pity that a duplicitous outreach in multiple directions has to be placed in the category of a virtue for success in today’s politics.

  1. R
    Ram Saroj
    Jun 30, 2017 at 3:38 pm
    In today's business of politics ,it is not shameless to be with the powerful.That also applies to the media.Those who oppose the BJP are either anti-national or not fit to be in India!Fascistic tendencies are on the rise.This happens every time in the world where the Right-wing dominates the political arena. It's reversal will have to await a reversal of PM Modi's fortunes.
    Reply
    1. S
      Santhanam
      May 12, 2017 at 12:12 pm
      I do not know where the writer was when the media danced two years back with him on their head. After hijacking the anti corruption movement he thought , nothing needs to be done for ensuring probity in public life andmere modi baiting will be sufficient to stay relevant and get minority votes. Minorities which voted en bloc to him now to a major extent deserted him. He is now mired in the very same whirlpool of corruption and nepotism. He is the MK of north, with no qualms to resort.to anything to stay in power. ault on opponents, with penchant for unabashed self promotion, he is the only living politician to excel MK in all departments. Hope Delhi people will save themselves from him.
      Reply
      1. G
        Girishkumar
        May 3, 2017 at 3:20 pm
        Dear Unnamed Pen Pusher-TV Anchor, one starts out somewhat flabbergasted to read you writing about the media's "visceral hatred" for Kejriwal and their " ic ecstacy" at his defeat in the MCD election. When one travels down and gets to the "Murdochised media" and "crony capitalists", one begins to understand the whys and the hows of your own high-minded and distinctly non-visceral at ude. One begins to understand your pain at the media turning their back on a self proclaimed 'movement' they themselves had helped create and hype. The AAP came at a time when there was a discernible gap in the political spectrum which it should have filled by means of responsible action based on a genuinely centrist stance and not with the kind of leftist balderdash that has been discredited in actual practice all over the world. Instead what we got was strident postures, relentless yelling at the Central Govt, brazen profligacy and corrupt leaders. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
        Reply
        1. P
          PK
          May 1, 2017 at 4:50 pm
          As usual, the chaddi gang in on full form against the people who liked the article which is really good and sensible. But as usual the gang is derived of logic and just want to propagate their hate propa a and show bhakti to their masters.
          Reply
          1. P
            Pulikkottil
            May 1, 2017 at 1:37 pm
            India Needs him. He has direction. His aim is right. But he is raw. and refuses to take beaten track . Honesty cannot be defeated. But his followers are jittery.
            Reply
            1. R
              rajiv
              May 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm
              who says india needs him . so sorry buddy ,but i am telling you this person has no vision. distracked , making people fool on fake promises . he is biggest cheaper politician in indian history.he supporting naxalis , antynationalist this kind of aim he has.
              Reply
            2. A
              Ayu Ayuni
              Apr 30, 2017 at 9:46 pm
              Watch Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Full Movies Online Free HD watch now >>> BIT.LY/2pjct5O>>> BIT.LY/2qlzC6j Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Official Teaser Trailer #1 (2017) - Prabhas Arka Media Works Movie HD When Mahendra, the son of Bahubali, learns about his heritage, he begins to look for answers. His story is juxtaposed with past events that unfolded in the Mahishmati Kingdom.
              Reply
              1. R
                Rajendra G.
                Apr 30, 2017 at 9:15 pm
                Whoever has written this article, has got enough sense which will not be visible to persons with aberration.
                Reply
                1. A
                  ajar
                  Apr 30, 2017 at 8:41 pm
                  Diverting funds meant for development into freebies is not something which this invented but was a norm till 20 years ago when all parties used to follow the same formula to fool the people and keep them in poverty forever.Fortunately we got rid of this menace for last few but now thanks to these guys they have again proved that how these can of formulas can be used to win elections.Irony is that this guy got elected in the capital of India where there is a great need to make city develop to international standards but forget about international Mr AK has been successful to push city back by atleast 10 years.We can not expect any extraordinary development initiative from him but even as basic things as roads and other basic infrastructure are a casualty.Even as robust organization as Delhi Metro which always was way ahead of its schedule is way behind its schedule due to ignorance and delay of funds from him.
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Astra
                    Apr 30, 2017 at 1:55 pm
                    The article is by a very reputed Saeed Naqvi. Its a pity the trolls criticising it have to earn a living this way.
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Archit Shukla
                      Apr 30, 2017 at 11:25 am
                      What a read! Hez not a dangerous idea, Indians are fools to understand anything that has logic. Cow goat issues are the priority of people and not development
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        satis
                        Apr 29, 2017 at 7:59 pm
                        where did FE get this disgusting aap wormin to write this piece?
                        Reply
                        1. K
                          K.MENON
                          Apr 29, 2017 at 3:24 pm
                          A truly disgusting puff piece on Kejriwal. The author, who lacks the courage to even put his/her name to this dross, may want to take note that people have comprehensively​ rejected Kejri's b of politics in successive elections and his corruption ridden administration in Delhi is quickly unravelling. He is nothing but a media creation which the likes of you rather wistfully hoped would trounce Modi, hence your frustration at his imminent political demise.
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            Archit Shukla
                            Apr 30, 2017 at 11:22 am
                            Haha! Not a single case of corruption is proved by the powerful central Govt. Yet uneducated people like u will write anything for the sake of expressing opinions
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              rajiv
                              May 1, 2017 at 3:14 pm
                              single case ha ha ha , do you remmember ration card case , sanjay misra , satyendra jain, buddy AAP is finished now, it was like bubble .
                          2. J
                            Jay
                            Apr 29, 2017 at 2:25 pm
                            Wow. What an attempt to rewrite recent history! This author says: "This visceral hatred for Kejriwal in the media remains something of a puzzle for me. Having been a pen pusher and TV anchor for decades, I cannot for the life of me understand “hatred” as an ingredient in a journalist’s make-up. In journalism, as in diplomacy, the cardinal prin l always was to keep one’s balance." What poppy ! He is either blind and deaf or suffers from amnesia. The Indian English media literally swooned at the prospect of a Phoenix-like emergence of a new political animal called Arvind Kejriwal. They were driven - 99 of the English so-called "secular" media - by the hope that the BJP ("saffron party" as they prefer to contemptuously refer it) was soon vanquished and the Delhi intellectuals, media elites congregating at the usual watering s, orted leftists, activists, the Congress, Communists, and Left academics could go back to being societal leeches. It was not to be.
                            Reply
                            1. N
                              Neel
                              Apr 29, 2017 at 2:24 pm
                              You have truely undermined the will of the people in this article. Looks like you follow the principle of media who pays the piper calls the tune.
                              Reply
                              1. D
                                DA0218
                                Apr 29, 2017 at 1:38 pm
                                Writer seem to be an AAPTARD himself, an educated . AK is an Antinational who doesn't believe in Indian Cons ution. He is just a media creation.
                                Reply
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