Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has teamed up with Mamata Banerjee these days and is in the forefront on attacking the Modi government over the demonetisation move. Both the leaders jointly addressed a rally in Delhi recently and have threatened mass agitations if the government doesn’t roll back its decision.
Both the leaders wear simple clothes and draw their popularity from being ‘aam aadmi’ lifestyle and mannerisms. Both of the leaders claim not to be communists, but their rhetoric and policies are often on the left side of the ideological divide. And cadres of respective parties of both the leaders are largely made up of people who got disillusioned with Congress.
Now in yet another similarity with Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal has started showing petulance and reductionism that the West Bengal Chief Minister is often accused of. Just like Mamata declared anyone “Maoist” or a “CPM cadre” for asking uncomfortable questions, Kejriwal has started declaring people “dishonest” for not toeing his claims and narrative.
This facet of Kejriwal’s character came to the fore yesterday when he declared a BBC journalist “dishonest” and “lacking courage” when he dared to question some claims made by the AAP supremo in an interview.
In the interview, Kejriwal claimed that 55 people in India had died while standing in queues outside banks and ATMs. When the BBC journalist wondered how could he link all the deaths to demonetisation only – a fact that this OpIndia.com article also highlights – Kejriwal got angry and declared him dishonest:
Kejriwal declares BBC journalist dishonest as he doesn’t repeat Kejri’s propaganda of linking all the deaths entirely to demonetisation. pic.twitter.com/JcaD1o1VuF
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) November 19, 2016
During the entire interview, Kejriwal’s behaviour and body language was intimidating and aggressive, and he was not willing to answer counter questions about his claims. Instead he made up for that by accusing the journalist of being dishonest and bringing bad name to the legacy of BBC.
This belligerent behaviour is a sea change from the Arvind Kejriwal one saw during the Anna Hazare days, when he was most willing to talk to the media and would answer all kind of questions without losing his cool or indulging in character assassinations of those who questioned him.
Also, it is interesting that Kejriwal is insisting of an exaggerated and inflated data of 55 deaths due to demonetisation, while his own government is removing the official data of deaths due to dengue and chikungunya.