Arvind Kejriwal today rebuffed journalist Rahul Kanwal for claiming that the Delhi chief minister closely tracks the India Today reports on coverage of hospitals and app reality check. The Aam Aadmi Party supremo posted a disdainful tweet, saying he never watches Rahul Kanwal’s programs.
“Sorry Rahul, I never watch your programs,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Sorry Rahul, I never watch ur programs https://t.co/zj8vuEvGpF— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 6, 2020
Kejriwal’s response was to a tweet uploaded by India Today journalist Rahul Kanwal, in which he claimed that the Delhi Chief Minister is closely monitoring the India Today reports on the coverage of hospitals and reality check of an app developed by Delhi govt to track the status hospital beds in the city. Rahul asserted that Kejriwal had asked for a few days to align what the app reflects with the actual situation in the hospital wards.
The tweet by Rahul was about the complaints that have been raised by patients about the discrepancy in the Mobile app developed by the Delhi government to equip themselves and the residents in tackling the ongoing coronavirus crisis in the national capital. Rahul alleged that the hospital information displayed on the mobile app did not align with the ground reality.
“Glad Delhi CM @ArvindKejriwal watched @IndiaToday #Newstrack coverage of hospital and App reality check so closely. He’s asked for a few days time to align what the App says with what hospitals say is the actual situation in the wards. Cries of relatives of patients were horrifying,” Rahul tweeted.
However, perhaps, in order to downplay the criticism of the Delhi government’s handling of the coronavirus, Kejriwal retorted back with a sniffy tweet, claiming he does not watch his shows.
Past instance when Kejriwal had cast aside Rahul Kanwal’s alle
This is not the first time that Kejriwal had slighted Rahul Kanwal by claiming he doesn’t watch his shows. Earlier in March 2014, Kejriwal had similarly snubbed the journalist for asking uncomfortable questions regarding his duplicity in initiating action against his party member Somnath Bharti, accused of running a spam website.
At an India Today Conclave in March 2014, Rahul Kanwal levelled serious allegations against Arvind Kejriwal of exhibiting double standards in investigating charges on the AAP member Somnath Bharti of running a dubious spam website. Rahul asserted that while Kejriwal asked for police and a judicial inquiry into allegations of corruption against BJP and Congress leaders, in case of Somnath Bharti, he set up an internal committee and gave a clean chit to his party member based on the accused’s denial of having being involved in the scam.
“While you were the Delhi chief minister, you had the authority to carry out a transparent and impartial inquiry into the allegations raised against your party member Somnath Bharti. What did you do then? You called for an internal meeting which simply concluded that Somnath Bharti was not at fault and that his associate had used his name to operate a spam website called Topsites LLC. You clamour for all kinds of inquiry while hurling corruption charges against Congress and BJP leaders, but why not the same standards to your own party members?” Rahul asked.
He further said, “We at India Today investigated the entire matter and found incriminating evidence against the involvement of Somnath Bharti in running the spam website Topsites LLC. We went to the registrar in the United States and retrieved the documents of the company. Not only is Somnath Bharti named as the owner of the company, his signature are also present in the papers that we have recovered. Why did you not commission a full-scale inquiry into the matter?”
A panicked Arvind Kejriwal tried to deflect the blame on Kanwal by saying he should have sent the documents to him for initiating action against Bharti. Kanwal defended himself stating comprehensive coverage of the scam was aired on his show on India Today. However, Kejriwal said, “If you are thinking I will sit and watch all your programs, I don’t do that. I don’t watch them. Frankly, they are not interesting.”
Kejriwal’s standard tic of feigning ignorance to brush aside criticism?
It appears that feigning ignorance when besieged with a barrage of uncomfortable questions and criticism is a standard tic of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal used to salvage his reputation. In 2014, he brushed aside valid criticism and concerns raised by Kanwal on his double standards in being an anti-corruption crusader while turning a blind eye to the irregularities by his party members.
Six years down, in 2020, Arvind Kejriwal uses the same hack to belittle the seemingly legitimate concern put forth by Rahul Kanwal regarding the deplorable conditions of hospitals in Delhi amidst coronavirus crisis. Many residents of Delhi have raised their grievances, highlighting the inadequacies of the hospitals in treating coronavirus patients. Perhaps, Kanwal might be right in criticising the Delhi government for bungling their response to a sweeping pandemic.
The public health crisis is a far more serious issue than charges of corruption against a fellow party member. Kejriwal, for his own good, as well as to assuage the woes of coronavirus patients in Delhi, can for once keep aside his swaggering demeanour and pay heed to the concerns raised by the media channels in refining the Delhi government’s response to the crisis.