Off record conversation between Arvind Kejriwal and Punya Prasun Bajpai has gone viral on social media. This conversation happened during and after a live interview on 15th of February, a day after Kejriwal resigned as Delhi Chief Minister. It shows Arvind Kejriwal saying that he deliberately refrained from stating that he was completely against privatization and companies as this would alienate the middle class. It is followed by his request to play-up certain parts of the video where he praises freedom fighter Bhagat Singh and brings out the coincidence that Bhagat Singh was sentenced to Death on the same day as he resigned as Chief Minister of Delhi.
All political parties have joined the band wagon, labelling this the biggest expose of Aam Aadmi Party. They feel that Arvind Kejriwal has been caught in the middle of the faux pas. While he was busy pointing fingers at other political parties and their nexus with paid media and distributing character certificates to different media houses, he has been caught red handed manipulating the media himself.
I can’t fathom out the entire din and chaos over this 80-90 seconds video. This is the video in question, in case you have not watched it already.
How is it an expose?? What has been exposed in it at all; that the interviewer and the interviewee talk off the record as well!!! This entire episode is being blown out of proportion. For a moment, even if I concede that it is an expose, there are only two parties to this: the interviewer and the interviewee. As far as the interviewer is concerned, the media house has clarified that the entire interview footage was played live without down playing or emphasizing on any particular segment. For the interviewee, I didn’t find any of his comment or request illegitimate. He is a politician and there is no crime in talking about vote bank. Had he talked about any specific caste or religion based vote bank, we could have charged him of being hypocritical. He has praised Bhagat Singh during the interview and he wants it to be highlighted and I find no wrong in this.
There is a silver lining to this picture. AAP has set high standards of probity. While we are used to corruption cases against other political parties or them endorsing tainted candidates or fuelling communalism, a slight deviation from the Aam Aadmi Party sends shock waves in political circles. In the present case probity has not been compromised at all and there is nothing to worry about. All it suggests is that political rivals have run out of issues against AAP and are hanging onto anything and everything. Aam Aadmi Party stands out as the only ray of hope amidst hopelessness and its worth supporting this political experiment. Even if this experiment fails, it’s worth going down trying than having this regret that we didn’t try at all.