The Rise of AAP
Madhav | 13 Jan 2014

The AAP government in Delhi is in a tearing hurry. Whatever they have done so far has not been well thought out. There is no application of mind. Some promises have been made in the manifesto before the elections. Now as a new kid on the block, with so much scrutiny and comment, they want to recklessly blunder on to give the (mistaken) impression that they are delivering on their promises.

Let’s take the free water supply of 20,000 liters a month for free. Will this reach all residents in Delhi? No, it will not. It will only be for the select few who have 'piped' connections. Bingo, this rules out a large portion of the very poor who stay in illegal colonies which obviously do not have “piped” water. So who benefits – the section that AAP was targeting in the first place – the middle class and lower middle class. This presumably educated and aware population is AAP’s target for votes, not just in Delhi, but all over the country. The AAP now has national ambitions. Nothing wrong in that of course, but at what cost is this happening?

Then we come to the “reduction” in the electricity tariff. Various commentators have elaborated on this. Against AAP’s claim of a 50% subsidy across the board, what we have is a 23% subsidy for upto 200 units – which is the consumption of the very poor – and close to 45% reduction for the middle and lower middle classes which consume between 201-400 units It is abundantly clear that the very poor, who actually need the subsidy are outside the ambit of this concession.  

Given the above, what really is happening? A massive disinformation campaign aided by a pliant media? There is a general impression that the media is for sale. Everything that comes out is paid news. Where there is undue emphasis on one party or company, the accusation goes up that the news is “sponsored”. Yet in the case of the AAP, there is day in and day out an abundanc of “news” about them but the media carries this merrily without a whiff of comment about “paid news”. What are we to make of this?

The paid media reports everything about AAP, even about when Kejriwal visits the toilet!!!! On the day of the”referendum” in Delhi about whether AAP should assume governance, there was an interesting sub-text. A “reputed” business newspaper reported that Kejriwal conducted his initial “referendum” within his family. Wonderful, but the correspondent forgot to say that this is very normal practice across families in India. Before taking up something important, an additional or new responsibility, it is normal for all Indians to consult their families. That has been the case with all leaders so far, so there is nothing special in AAP leaders doing this. However, the paid media has to create something out of nothing so even this becomes news.