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An open letter to the media

Posted by Shreyans Jain Friday, 24 January 2014 2 comments
Dear sir/ma’am

Through these columns, I wish to express my dissatisfaction with the way you are exploiting the power of media to lead a one-sided anti-Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) propaganda. I beg to differ with your brazen criticism of the AAP ideology and the way you have been exploiting your forums to chastise the functionaries of the AAP. As a responsible and law abiding citizen of India, I wish to discuss some of the contentious issues surrounding the AAP that have been blown out of proportion and that need to be understood with pragmatism.

Availability of 660 litres of fresh water for free and electricity at reduced tariff:
This has been the primary agenda of the AAP that has won the debutantes votes in large numbers. I fail to understand the rationale behind the hue and cry among the members of the Opposition as well as the media. Why is the fulfilment of this electoral promise being termed as distribution of freebies? Access to fresh water and electricity is a basic necessity to sustain a livelihood in a metropolitan city like Delhi. The AAP has clearly specified how it intends to earn revenue by cross-subsidising water and electricity. The burden of this subsidy is considerably small as compared to the burden caused to the exchequer by the ministers of other governments o useless activities like construction of memorials, erection of statues as a ‘symbol of unity’, distribution of laptops, mobile phones, household electronic appliances and other monetary inducements. If the media is really worried about the burgeoning deficit, why then may I ask, it does not lead campaigns against wastage of taxpayers’ money by corrupt ministers on the above mentioned activities? Why does the  of its candidates in elections but condemns unequivocally the AAP’s decision to bear the burden of additional subsidy which amounts to only a fraction of the allocated budget?

Provision of vehicle, accommodation and security to ministers:
As promised in its manifesto, the AAP has brought an end to the use of red beacons and weakened the VIP culture prevailing in Delhi. The media has wrongly portrayed the use of official vehicle by AAP ministers. The citizens should know that these vehicles are being used only for official purpose and not for any personal activity. Similarly the pressure built up by media and the Opposition that compelled the Chief Minister to decline the accommodation offered to him was unjust. As compared to the accommodation held by the ministers in other governments, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal was being offered a modest home equipped with basic amenities and an attached office. We want an accountable Chief Minister but we don’t want to facilitate the working of the Chief Minister Office! Perhaps he will lose his identity as an aam aadmi ! Sir/ma’am what about the acres of land that Mr. Robert Vadra and others of his ilk have grabbed in the guise of being an aam aadmi? Aren’t they supposed to be accountable to the public? The Delhi chief Minister has vehemently denied any security cover that has been offered repeatedly to him. Even when there is a threat to his life we seem to be apprehensive of his intentions. One wonders if ministers in other states are ever questioned for their cavalcade of SUVs and security personnel!

Self-vigilante acts of the ministers of the AAP:
Living up to their identity as servants of the citizens, the AAP ministers have been visiting government schools, offices, colleges, slum et cetera both in day and in night. Unfortunately, it seems that the media and the Opposition have colluded to term this as a political gimmick to gain public sympathy. That hundreds of downtrodden people were shifted to porta-cabins and relief camps went largely unnoticed but the death of one poor exposed their preparedness! Had media shown the same passion in stirring the conscience of people and ministers of other states, the riot victims would not have been languishing in rudimentary shelters in shivering cold.

Display of anarchy and confrontation with the Delhi Police:
For the last 15 years, Delhi was being ruled by the Congress Party. Had the then Chief Minister taken up the issue of control over Delhi Police to the ministry of Home Affairs vehemently, the law and order situation in the Capital would have been a lot better. Instead the citizens of Delhi have got accustomed to the corrupt ways in which every government department functions. That the AAP has instilled a fear in the hearts of corrupt sarkaari babus is not important for the media but what an equally corrupt minister from the Opposition has to say about the functioning of government is a watchdog discharging its duties faithfully! Yes, the sit-in and the agitation organised in Delhi was not the appropriate way of protesting but at the same time the calling off of the dharna was not a ‘facesaver’ either. As Mahatma Gandhi himself said in context of the Chamapran Movement, “Where the peasants are so crushed and fear-stricken, law courts are useless. The real relief for them is to be free from fear”. Similarly, if a minister attends to the complaints of aggrieved citizens, we see that his actions are condemned and there are demands for his resignation.

Use of unprofessional language
No doubt the AAP ministers have failed to keep a check on their choice of words on several occasions. They deserve criticism for their bloopers. But what about the cheap alliteration and personal jibes that the ministers of Opposition parties have been taking at the AAP? Aren’t terms like ‘yeda mantri’, ‘item-girl’, ‘clown’ offensive enough to lower their dignity? Don’t they need the same condemnation and outburst of criticism from the media?

 The political discourse of India is changing, so are the rules of the game of politics. The AAP is living well to the expectations of people. The media has been reminding people of the 18 point agenda of the Aam Aadmi Party nearly every day. Had the media shown the same enthusiasm in discussing the manifesto of previous dispensations, the walled city would have surely turned into a world city.


Tarun Bansal said...

A very nice article yar but it seems one sided or rather pro-AAP . I wished it was more objective in nature. You cannot justify the wrongdoings and irrational behaviour of Mr AK and his companions by comparing with the actions of corrupt people that they are better than them. Two wrongs doesn't make a Right .Instead of blaming media that has played a major role in surge of AAP and IAC movement reasons must be ascertained regarding policy paralysis AAP is facing at this juncture.A nation cannot be built through anarchy.
PS: I am neither supporter of AAP nor any political entity just an observer.

Shreyans Jain said...

Thankyou for the feedback Tarun Bansal. I will surely take your views into consideration.

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