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Times of India soft balls Arvind Kejriwal, fails to ask questions that matter: Here are 5 questions that should have been asked

The interview fell woefully short of asking hard-hitting questions that matter, especially during the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

In a recent interview with the Chief Minister of Delhi and Aam Aadmi Party chief, Arvind Kejriwal, the Times of India, discussed several “issues” but conveniently skipped asking him some tough questions. Titled “AAP is most persecuted party ever, Mission Jhadu launched to crush us, says Delhi CM Kejriwal”, the interview fell woefully short of asking hard-hitting questions that matter, especially during the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections 2024. OpIndia decided to list down some questions and reasons why these questions should have been asked but were conveniently overlooked by TOI.

What exactly was Kejriwal’s involvement in the Delhi excise policy scam

Times of India had a chance to regain its popularity among the readers by seeking an explanation for the Delhi Excise Policy scam. It is not that Kejriwal could have avoided the question by citing the Supreme Court’s bail condition that prohibits him from speaking on the matter. He has already spoken about it in public rallies, directly and indirectly.

Enforcement Directorate (ED) has implicated senior AAP leaders in money laundering and irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the excise policy. Kejriwal is currently out on bail only for campaigning during the Lok Sabah Elections and is scheduled to surrender on 2nd June. It is not clear if he will be able to come out anytime soon once he surrenders on the court-decided date.

In such circumstances, TOI should have taken the opportunity to seek an explanation of the allegations against the party, its leader and Arvind Kejriwal himself. Questions like “Did you destroy over 100 mobile phones” or “Was the illicit money collected via the policy scam used in Goa elections” could have been asked. It does not matter what Kejriwal would have said in his replies. These questions were expected to be asked especially when the interviewer was an esteemed newspaper like TOI. The people of Delhi, as well as India, deserve to know why the scam happened.

Goa elections and allegations of corruption

Linked to the alleged Excise Policy Scam, Goa elections saw accusations of AAP using money collected from the alleged scam for the election campaigning. Despite the grave allegations, Kejriwal was not asked adequate questions on how his party funded the campaign.

As per AAP’s submissions to the Election Commission, the party spent a total of Rs 11,32,73,526 on Assembly Elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand. But were the figures correct? ED said they found money trail but it was spent so could not be recovered. It was a good chance for TOI to ask Kejriwal about this particular fact.

ED revelations and accountability

ED’s investigation brought various instances to light where AAP was allegedly involved in mismanagement of funds and corruption. However, TOI did not challenge Kejriwal on these findings. Instead, they allowed him to play the victim card. Being a seasoned and esteemed newspaper, it was TOI’s duty to uphold the Constitutional responsibilities of the press and ask him about the steps his administration took to ensure transparency and accountability.

He should have asked about the steps his party would take to prevent such scams from recurring. He should have been asked if he was unaware of what was cooking in the background while deciding the excise policy as he did not hold any office and the policy formation was under Manish Sisodia.

The Swati Maliwal case and the deafening silence of Arvind Kejriwal

On 13th May, Swati Maliwal, Rajya Sabah MP of Aam Aadmi Party, accused Kejriwal’s PA Bibhav Kumar of assaulting her at CM’s residence. Maliwal went to meet the CM but in return was allegedly assaulted by Bibhav Kumar apparently without any provocation. Since the allegations were laid down, Kejriwal’s party launched a massive campaign to save Kumar and blame the victim, that is Swati Maliwal. They released trimmed videos to paint Maliwal in bad light. Maliwal also accused AAP of calling everyone asking if they have anything incriminating about her that could be “leaked” on social media.

Amidst all these allegations, Kejriwal’s deafening silence raises serious concerns. If a woman is not safe at CM’s house, how can he promise to safeguard the women of Delhi? Now, the rhetoric that the Delhi Police is not under Arvind Kejriwal would not work. CM must ensure women are safe in the state without any excuse for a blame game.

TOI should have pressed him on these questions. But TOI let Kejriwal play victim and these critical questions remained unanswered. Kejriwal was let go with a simple answer that the matter was sub judice.

The plight of Hindus in Punjab and the Khalistani problem

It is disheartening to see the mainstream media ignoring the fact that Khalistani elements are on the rise in Punjab where AAP’s Bhagwant Mann-led government is in power. The rise of Khalistani elements has brought back the grim memories of insurgency. AAP’s silence on it raises serious questions. Furthermore, the uncontrolled missionary activity in the state is turning naive Hindus and Sikhs into Christians at a pace that is not easy to reverse. AAP has failed to act on the matter as well.

With such critical issues in Punjab which is the first full state AAP is ruling, TOI’s inability to ask these questions is heartbreaking to say the least. TOI should have questioned Kejriwal, who claims to be a devote Hindu and Hanuman Bhakt, what his party is doing to ensure Khalistani elements never rise back in the state. The Lok Sabha Elections are also marred with pro-Khalistani candidates in Punjab.

Apart from Hindu-related issues, the drug menace is persisting in the state. TOI failed to ask about that as well to Arvind Kejriwal.

Press must ask hard-hitting questions. While a section of journalists blame the journalists on the other side of being “Godi Media”, their failure to ask serious questions from the leaders they prefer is no less than hypocrisy.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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