Journalists fawning on PMs have already set a shameful precedence

Mr Ashok K Singh, allow me to respond to your article entitled :

Kejriwal trolling journalists sets a dangerous precedent for Indian politics 

You start off by saying “The Delhi CM has hit a new low in public discourse by employing abusive and uncouth language for political opponents and journalists…”

I am so astonished by the brazen if an absurdly blind display of your self-righteous hubris, don’t know where to begin. So let it be some random thoughts.

The reason you think Arvind Kejriwal is racing towards this “new crop of abusive world leaders” is because he responded, no, trolled, Shekhar Gupta (exchange above).


Was Shekhar Gupta’s comment really a simple journalistic enquiry? Or could it be read as a transparently barbed remark on how Arvind Kejriwal & his ministers are going about campaigning and neglecting their real duties which is thus causing the chikungunya problem?

Are you and Mr Gupta aware of the thousands of cases of malaria, dengue, chikungunya in the rest of India—not ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party?

Just a cursory google search shows:

  • “Karnataka seems far more worrisome with the state recording an astonishing 64% of the total cases (of chikungunya) in the country”.
  • “According to statistics from the Union Health Ministry, Delhi stands a distant second, accounting for only 11% of the country’s 14,656 cases until September 11..
  • “Joint Director(Vector-borne diseases) of the Directorate of Health Services, Karnataka, Dr Prakash Kumar BG states that Chikungunya is not a fatal disease like Dengue, even though the viruses that cause both belong to the same group.”
  • Tests in 8 cities showed 88% of dengue cases were from Ahmedabad!

Have you or Mr Gupta clarified and been so piqued by CMs of these states where the disease is equally if not more prevalent.

AK has become like a target of a mob–and anyone passing by whacks him as well—just because AK is an easy man to target, he is not like a typical politician is he. Unlike others using manipulative tactics, lure of access, money, advertisement revenues to control the media, AK, when attacked, just hits back. Consequences be damned.

So then back to the horrible neglect by AAP politicians, how is it nobody is mentioning LG Jung, who apparently does not work on weekends, is not available, even for emergencies, without a prior appointment? And since he is “superboss” shouldn’t he be the one answerable.

Have you’ll found it outrageous that this LG who never misses an opportunity to insert himself in any AAP business is missing when critically needed? Isn’t it so transparent that he is hoping the situation gets worse and then he can offer a legitimate proof of incompetence?

In your article, you compare AK to Trump, Duterte and Boris Johnson pointing out their intolerance when criticized. Tell me how free, really free do you feel to criticise Mr Modi in these current times?

Remember Ashish Nandy, case slapped against him for writing an essay on Modi’s role in Gujarat—hey why go that far, how about Kapil Sharma, who just asked why he should pay 5 lakhs bribe—and got hammered by the virtually rabid BJP supporters. Message seemed loud and clear—don’t dare question the BJP government, Modi and his men.

Does AK lack humility, is intolerant? Could you please give me some real examples or would you rather just make unsubstantiated statements. Or do you think trolling Shekhar Gupta is enough proof?

See the thing is, AK and AAP does not have the money or resources to hire thousands of trolls to do the job, as BJP does so Modi can come out squeaky clean, civilised.

So in AAP everyone has to pitch in, even the CM and hit back at abusive trolls or journos who seem to have made a vocation of a daily liturgy against AK and party leaders.

Before you compare AK to Donald Trump, his misogyny and racism, please show me examples of where AK has been disrespectful of women and other races, communities. I doubt if you will find a single one—meanwhile, I could produce several examples of gross disrespect, criminal activities against women by the Modi government.

AK intolerant you say? Sounds like a virtue.  Unlike Modi who has quietly ‘tolerated’ Dalits being brutalised, children in Kashmir being blinded, gau-rakshaks gang-raping as ‘punishment’.

You and Shekhar Gupta and the rest of you esteemed journos should be foaming at your mouths at the rapes of dozens of our women, and 2 year old babies, every single day, right under your BJP-ruled-Police in Delhi, MP, Haryana et al.

And all these ministers and CM even present in office all the while!

You say, in a baffling display of your own arrogance, “Politicians and journalists maintain one unwritten code of conduct. Journalists will write, comment and criticise and the politicians will take the high road and move on. Break the rule and the very basis of the relationship crumbles. Kejriwal has turned the principle on its head.”

So who came up with this ‘principle’ and code of conduct—is it taught in some political class room, journalistic school? Did you, as a journalist  ever analyse why this was a good code—or was it just too convenient to question.

Why, Mr Singh are you, as a journalist exempt from and unaccountable for anything you say! Why do you think you should have the power to write anything you want and politicians tolerate it, as they have over the years.

People like me support AK because he is so vigorously, defiantly, rudely even challenging the status quo, which is what I think you and others like you are finding so threatening.

Do you not see how outrageously entitled and hollow you sound when you speak of journalistic privileges without mentioning your responsibility to be objective, fair and honest and open to being held accountable.

Please take a look at the picture above of journalists desperately hanging on to take selfies with a most satisfied PM and where Omar Abdullah asks “This is the media we expect will ask tough questions of this government?”

You ask, “Mr Kejriwal, do you want to transform India into a place where journalists are trolled, abused and threatened by chief ministers?”

I ask you, Do you want India to stay transformed, as it has been in the last two years, into a country with ever more sycophantic journalists who are either owned or brow beaten by politicians like Modi?

Do you think anyone, leave alone a leader like AK, should tolerate and walk away from the likes of the very obscenely and visibly craven & corrupt Arnab, Sardana, Sudhir Chaudhary. How about the erudite molester Tejpal—should he be allowed to decide the conduct of politicians?

You say how the lovely Indira Gandhi was so courteous to the press, although didn’t she virtually castrate them during the emergency. But her courtesy was what was important, right?

And you give examples of the very bright and honest MMS, the most ferociously anti-Muslim Bal Thackeray and so forth of all being so tolerant and deferential of the press!

IN your eyes, it seems, the major virtue is that they are polite to you regardless of the fact that some of them are the most venal, ruthless murderers and thugs.

Do you realise that by and large most of these leaders had no choice but to rely on the media for propaganda. They are polite to you because they need you to fulfil their own agenda! THAT is the unspoken, unwritten code of conduct, isn’t it. A very simple, you scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours.

Maybe you could read your own article again and see if it doesn’t sound incredibly conceited, as if the press have always walked on  hallowed ground and nobody should dare challenge them.

L.K. Advani, had famously voiced the opinion that when journalists were asked to “bend” during the Emergency, they “crawled”. Seems like history is repeating itself.

Yes you truly should be grateful Arvind Kejriwal is not the Prime Minister yet—he will compel you to come off your high horse and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. You may not like what you see Mr Ashok Singh.

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