Thursday, January 16, 2014

AAP's deification is farcial

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference. 
In the recent Delhi Assembly election that was held parallel to Assembly elections in four other States, the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged as the second largest party in the Assembly, by winning 28 of the 70 seats. The BJP emerged as the single largest entity with the largest vote share too. However, they fell short of majority by mere three seats.
As per the writing on NDTV, the venerable Siddharth Varadarajan had this to say:
“Ordinarily, the BJP would have tried to split both the Congress and the AAP contingents in the Delhi Assembly and moved heaven and earth to form the Government with its 32 seats.”
Yes, he is pretty sure that the BJP would have all the above but for the “mood of the electorate and its revulsion for corruption in politics.
Pardon me, if I am missing something, but the BJP emerged as the single largest party in an election that astute analysts classify as a vote for anti-corruption - “The mood of the electorate is revulsion for corruption.”
Does this mean that the electorate saw the BJP as less corrupt than the AAP? And if so, why are the commentators so reluctant to accept this fact? How can Delhi verdict be remotely classified as a vote for the AAP’s policies, when it is clear that this is a split verdict?
The AAP, then decided to accept the Congress’s support in forming the Government, the very same party against which they fought the elections. But, of course, astute commentators will not find fault with it, because this is technically not ‘horse-trading’. According to the AAP’s own estimates, about 1.5 – 2 lakh people approved of their forming the Government with Congress’s support. What a massive figure? A whopping two lakh out of a 1.5 crore people in Delhi okayed the formation, and the astute commentators see this as a new beginning! After throwing this logic at the people, the AAP went on to form the Government in Delhi.
The deification doesn’t stop here. The Editor-in-Chief of CNN-IBN, Rajdeep Sardesai had this to say:
“Agree with the decision or not, at least the AAP has forced us to discuss water pricing on prime time. That’s a step forward! “
What is this decision that has enlightened Rajdeep Sardesai so much? The AAP has promised 700 litres of free water to all the residents of Delhi. In tune with it, after forming the Government, the Chief Minister announced that all the houses with metres will get 20,000 litres of water free every month. Anything more than that, they have to pay for the full usage
Giving freebies is bad economics – you don’t need a PhD to understand that. However, AAP which claimed to be different from all the other parties followed the same tactic of announcing a freebie. Only this time – they gave water for free, 20,000 litres per month amounts to about 34 buckets of water per family per day. What exact purpose is the AAP serving by giving so much water free for the poor, middleclass and the rich alike?
But, hey! Be happy that the enlightened individuals at the Delhi-based CNN-IBN studios feel that water pricing made it to ‘Prime Time’! And then, The Hindu published this cartoon today-
The cartoon shows Arvind Kejriwal making giant strides on bijli, paani whilst Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi merely watch. This is duplicity at its best. It is a well known fact by now that the Modi Government has provided 24×7 supply of electricity to all rural households in Gujarat. How can such a massive achievement be compared to AAP’s decision to cut 50 per cent tariff for households using 400 units or less?
The strides made in water management in Gujarat under Narendra Modi’s leadership are also well known. How are these achievements even comparable to giving 20,000 litres of water for free? But what is surprising is that the cartoon comes just one day after The Hindupublished an article explaining why the idea of 20,000 litres of water for free is a bad one!
Every single day, we are treated to some news about how simple Arvind Kejriwal is, wow! He commuted by metro; he got sworn in at Ramlila Maidan; he formed a small Cabinet; he kept his promise, even though 95 per cent of the things that he is doing are already being done by various Chief Ministers representing various political parties. The Delhi-based media is so blind and oblivious that it regards what Arvind Kejriwal is doing as ‘freshness’!
The AAP winning 28 seats is a significant achievement. But this deification of the AAP and the simultaneous vilification of the BJP is getting nauseating. Remember, they came second, and have agreed to form a Government with the support of the very party they fought so stridently against.

Tailpiece: After Sadanand Dhume made a twitter comment asking whether dodgy policy decisions should be applauded by media just because they make news, the harbinger of civil discourse Rajdeep Sardesai retorted back saying, “With due respect to you, I would say that it is a stupid and inane comment. Corruption is the staple diet of news, water is not.”


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