We live in an excessive data age, an important characteristic of which is amnesia. Plenty of information makes it difficult for a common man to keep up with everything, but all he captures is the narrative. Like not many remember the n-number of scams during the UPA era, but only a handful of them including 2G and Coalgate. The case for the Aam Aadmi Party is not quite different. After making noises one after another, people tend to forget what the previous one was for. What is more is that if this is followed by some months of abstinence of party leaders from media, all the negative news tends to erase from public memory. Let us ask ourselves how many of these political stunts and controversies of AAP do we even remember some of which have gone horribly wrong.
When Gajendra Singh Kalyanwat hanged himself in full public view in an AAP rally, Arvind Kejriwal continued giving a speech while his body was being brought down the tree by volunteers. It was widely speculated to be a political stunt gone horribly wrong. Gajendra’s sister claims he was well off and wasn’t distressed at all to commit suicide, yet, spectators allege that he was threatening to hang himself without meaning to when his foot slipped, and the knot tightened on him. AAP leader Ashutosh had cried buckets on national television which distracted attention from alleged suicide to his own tears. Had it been any other politician, his career would have finished for lack of sensitivity. But in Kejriwal’s case, it was just another case of amnesia.
Compromise kar lo
There was another suicide for which Arvind Kejriwal claims to not remember – Soni Mishra, who killed herself after allegedly being sexually harassed by AAP activists. Soni Mishra had herself confessed that she had approached the Delhi CM who advised to compromise.
Flirting with Khalistan
AAP leader Gul Panag had claimed that she had warned AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal against flirting with Khalistani elements. Not only there were allegations of election funding from hardliner Sikh groups, but chief operative of banned Sikh body ISYF Gurdial Singh was actively campaigning for Aam Aadmi Party. In fact, AAP MP Dharamvir Gandhi had openly come out in support of Khalistan Referendum. Ultimately AAP had a debacle in Punjab elections.
While Arvind Kejriwal had always pretended to assume the moral high ground when it comes to clean politics, Aaj Tak had run a sting operation where he was caught trying to break MLAs from Congress party. This was the time when he had resigned as CM and had also lost Lok Sabha elections badly across the country and was trying desperately to form a government with Congress support.
Ruckus in Assembly
While claiming to follow the paths of Mahatma Gandhi and Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and AAP had done the exact opposite of indulging in violence and disrespecting the democratic institutions. Kapil Mishra, the then AAP member was beaten up in Delhi Assembly by MLAs Amanatullah Khan, Jarnail Singh and Madan Lal. Ironically, it was Mishra who faced the ire of the Speaker and not the AAP MLAs. Mishra later displayed the skeletons in his closet and alleged that he had witnessed Kejriwal taking a bribe of two crore rupees in cash.
Arvind Kejriwal has been slapped multiple times in the past during political rallies and often the person who slaps is found to be AAP supporter. Sometimes, Kejriwal also pays a visit to the slapper and offers his forgiveness in media presence. While the public has a way to see through the pattern of being repeatedly slapped and forgiving thereafter, the stunts have reduced any credibility for the AAP leader and are widely considered a farce to garner public sympathy.
AAP candidate Atishi Marlena accused BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir of spreading derogatory notes about her by distributing abusive pamphlets that also called Manish Sisodia ‘handsome’. Although they could never establish who distributed these pamphlets, Atishi also shed a couple of tears which was widely believed to be a bad performance act. Consequently, Atishi lost the election.
AAP leader Somnath Bharti has been infamous for his vigilante justice and was indicted in Khirki midnight He was the prime time news when he went absconding after allegations from his wife of domestic violence. Later he surrendered dramatically holding Constitution in one hand. Once during a live debate, he abused a lady journalist and told her she should be a prostitute. He is again contesting the MLA election from Malviya Nagar this year.
Delhi was shamed in Fe 2018 when Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash was allegedly assaulted by AAP MLAs in presence of CM Arvind Kejriwal. As a result, bureaucrats started boycotting meetings with Delhi ministers that impacted the governance of Delhi. So, instead of engaging constructively on this issue, Kejriwal went on a confrontational dharna at the LG’s residence for 8 days which garnered great TRPs on media but ultimately he had to give up ensuring the safety of IAS officers.
The Committee formed by LG Najeeb Jung had indicted AAP Government on appointments at various levels based on corruption and nepotism. It questioned appointments of various persons including Satyandra Jain’s daughter, Nikung Agrawal, Swati Maliwal, Abhinav Rai and Rahul Bhasin, all relatives of Kejriwal or other AAP members. Earlier, AAP had been accused of doing ‘favours’ to various journalists by appointing them Governing bodies of various colleges in Delhi University.
I am sorry
AAP leaders had since their IAC days, labelled various allegations against many senior politicians of various political parties, which was their road to fame. But they swallowed more than they could chew as they could not prove these allegations against many. Some are dead already including late CM Sheila Dikshit and against some, Kejriwal has formally apologized, including Nitin Gadkari, Majithia and Kapil Sibal.
After all these excessive prime time news debates, we all now remember AAP for raising questions on surgical strikes and standing up with JNU Tukde Tukde gang, mostly because Urban Naxals are the latest trend since Shaheen Bagh farce. All their previous misdeeds are forgotten and by extension, forgiven.
On a scale of 1 to 11, how much did you score in the area of public memory?