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HomeMediaBritish newspaper Financial Times hypes up out-on-bail liquor policy scam accused Arvind Kejriwal to...

British newspaper Financial Times hypes up out-on-bail liquor policy scam accused Arvind Kejriwal to influence public perception ahead of voting in Delhi

It is pertinent to note that the Aam Aadmi Party is contesting only 22 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats.

On Friday (24th May), UK-based Financial Times published an article claiming that Arvind Kejriwal’s release from jail has ‘shaken up election campaigning'”.. Incidentally, the article is titled (archived), ‘Bailed India opposition leader’s return shakes up election campaign’. It attempts to influence voters in favour of the AAP leader who is out on conditional Interim bail in a corruption case, as it was published a day before Delhi went for voting in the sixth phase.  

According to FT, Arvind Kejriwal’s release from jail has invigorated the opposition alliance against PM Modi-led NDA as the opposition hopes for a shock upset. It claims that Kejriwal’s rallies and campaigning have made things challenging for the incumbent PM Narendra Modi. FT states, “The dramatic release of one of India’s top opposition leaders has shaken up the final stretch of the country’s election campaign, giving a much-needed boost to Narendra Modi’s rivals in their quest to unseat the prime minister next month.”  

However, it is pertinent to note that the Aam Aadmi Party is contesting only 22 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats. Additionally, except for four seats in Delhi where it is directly contesting against the BJP, AAP is competing against its I.N.D.I. alliance partner, Congress in the other seats it is contesting. These remaining seats include 13 in Punjab, where both alliance partners are engaged in ugly verbal spats and serious allegations against each other. The BJP has a strong presence only in limited pockets of Punjab, leaving Congress and AAP in direct competition. Any gains for AAP or Congress would come at the expense of its I.N.D.I. Alliance partner. In this political context, Kejriwal’s purported influence, if any, on voters could ‘shake the election campaign’ not for the opposition bloc, but against a key ally of the I.N.D.I. Alliance, Congress.

Nonetheless, AAP, which has been embroiled in corruption allegations in Liquor Policy is currently at the center of a storm over allegations of assault on their own woman MP Swati Maliwal inside the residence of Delhi CM and AAP Supremo Arvind Kejriwal. Lately, AAP has in fact become a liability for I.N.D.I. Alliance. It has courted back-to-back major controversies on two major poll planks – corruption and women’s safety, making it difficult for the alliance by shifting vicarious liability for AAP’s misdeeds onto its alliance partners and stroking controversies that overshadow the alliance’s election pitch. It is important to note that after changing its strategies, the I.N.D.I. Alliance had started to hold joint rallies but on account of AAP’s controversies, Congress didn’t extend an invite to its alliance partner Arvind Kejriwal to address Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Delhi jointly.  

Meanwhile, the FT article mentioned that the AAP Supremo and Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, is out on bail in the Liquor Policy scam case adding that he has denied the allegations. However, the British media outlet failed to include several scathing remarks from various courts in the case which has severely dented the image of the “Kattar Imandar Party” and its Chief.  

Claiming that Kejriwal’s release has helped the I.N.D.I. Alliance, the article further states, “While the BJP remained the favourite, analysts said Kejriwal’s release had helped invigorate the multi-party opposition alliance known as INDIA — which includes AAP, the Indian National Congress and dozens of regional parties — as they hope for a shock upset.”

Apart from presenting Kejriwal’s release and campaigning as some sort of game-changer for the opposition’s efforts, it accuses PM Modi of using “divisive rhetoric towards Muslims”. 

In a bid to paint PM Modi’s campaigning in a bad light and peddling anti-Muslim tropes against PM Modi and the BJP, Financial Times added, “On the campaign trail, Modi has hailed what he calls a “wave of support” for the BJP, playing up his development record and doubling down on divisive rhetoric towards India’s Muslim minority.”

To rally public perception in favour of Kejriwal, the article quotes Kejriwal who plays the victim for giving good governance to the Delhi residents. It added, ‘Why am I at fault? Because I built good schools and good hospitals for your kids?’ Kejriwal told the rally. 

“His message has resonated with voters such as Mohammad Abid, 52, the owner of an auto parts shop. ‘People are fed up of the last 10 years of the Modi government,’ said Abid. ‘The whole country wants to see a change’,” the FT added. 

According to the FT article, while people on the ground admit that several issues are troubling them and after his release, Kejriwal has shaken the election campaigning, people have been ‘disgruntledly admitting’ that a third term for the Modi government is inevitable. 

Earlier this week, the Financial Times targeted Adani for an alleged ‘coal scam,’ which was soon picked up by senior Congress leader and former president Rahul Gandhi to attack the Modi government. In an attempt to corner the Modi government, he referenced the Financial Times report, which accused the Adani Group of selling low-grade coal as high-value fuel. However, it later emerged that the transaction took place during the UPA era, undermining Rahul Gandhi’s attempt to target the Modi government and casting his own party’s previous government in a negative light by leveling corruption allegations against them.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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