If there is one party in Bharat which thrives on media coverage, both positive and negative, to the extent that its leaders seem to eat, live, and pray in TV studios – it is Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Recently, an investigative report ‘Unravelling the AAP myth‘ which appeared in Fountain Ink, a monthly magazine, claimed that the Delhi government run by Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP was carrying out extensive corruption and covering it up by doling out favours to Delhi-based media.
AAP got so irked that senior leader and spokesperson Ashish Khetan lashed out at his fellow journalists who shared the article on Twitter. Khetan even called the author of the story, Arpit Parashar (himself an ex-Tehelka journlaist and old colleague of Khetan), a ‘drunkard and liar’. You can read all about the spat between Khetan & other journalists in this OpIndia piece. The OpIndia article also quotes some of the key points covered in the Fountain Ink expose –
“1. Delhi Government gave honorary positions to journalists at educational institutions by dissolving the governing bodies of 28 colleges despite opposition from the university. AAP nominated 25 journalists and some former journalists listed as “Educationists” to these bodies, making for more than 20 per cent of all nominations. At least four senior journalists in the Bennett Coleman group (which publishes The Times of India, The Economic Times and Navbharat Times) had accepted the appointment but had to resign as such office goes against group policy.
2. Party workers, businessmen who didn’t have a background in the education industry, were listed as “social workers”, some others were listed simply as “Professional” to draft them into above bodies. The posts play a pivotal role in the hiring process. These appointments are also the ones for which huge bribes are paid.
3. AAP has a list of digital marketing consultants and crores of rupees are paid for such consultancy, to manipulate online news such that positive news is pushed up and negative news about AAP is suppressed. The report cites the example of the scam in which Minister Gopal Rai was caught renewing licences of only favoured autorickshaws, and how the stories were suppressed.
4. A tainted firm, which was rejected by other states and even the previous Delhi Government was given a contract for High Security Registration Plates. Officials who raised an alarm over past misconduct of the firm were threatened into silence and the firm got business from the Delhi government. In exchange AAP workers and MLAs were “enriched” by the said firm.
5. AAP has also started a lucrative “transfer-posting” industry where officials are either transferred to a particular post because of their ability to generate cash through various means, or because the officer coughs up enough money for party funds for a transfer to a particular department or for a promotion. The report also gives a detailed modus-operandi of the entire scheme.
6. In October 2015 AAP directed its MLAs in Delhi to contribute Rs 1 lakh each per month to fund its Punjab campaign. Later the party declared then that the plan had been shelved. Barely six months later, however, it has quietly passed on instructions to MLAs to deposit Rs 1.5 lakh every month towards the Punjab elections, according to several party workers and MLAs interviewed for the story. MLAs now claim that they cannot stay honest even if they want to, thanks to this demand.”
Incidentally, Khetan himself has a controversial past as a journalist, and stands accused of writing a planted story in favor of Essar group. His vitriolic Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu bigotry is something common to most ex-Tehelka staffers, but in Khetan’s case it appears that his alleged conversion to Christianity (he has never clarified his religious affiliation) might also have something to do with it. And he would not be the first journalist to be caught out on this front – Business Standard editor Mihir Sharma being another prominent example of the stealth Christian tribe.
Look closely at Khaitan’s tweet. Daughter’s name “Danielle”.
Another stealth Christian? pic.twitter.com/zHa7sTpQ2m
— Hitarth (@Hitarth1987) June 1, 2016
Given that prominent members of the Lutyens media cabal stand indicted as per the Fountain Ink expose, it is not surprising that mainstream media has chosen to bury this news.
One of the charges against AAP was instantly verified by social media. A reddit user dug out the information to validate the fact that AAP had nominated over 30 journalists and media personalities, most of them having no link to the education field, to Governing Bodies of DU colleges. Quoting from the reddit post –
“Well, there is at least concrete proof of what the article has said about the AAP government granting special favours to senior journalists to get the media on their side. Below is an official notification by Delhi University, dated July 2015, about the re-constitution of the Governing Bodies of 28 colleges under DU. The list of nominees includes over 30 journalists and a few more names associated with the media.
The above list can be cross-checked from the official Delhi University website page about the Governing Bodies.
To summarize here’s a selected list of Journos among the nominees. It includes figures from nearly all major English and Hindi newspapers and channels. From NDTV to Zee News, journalists across the political spectrum have been appointed.
For a long time the AAP and its supporters have always alleged that the media is biased against them and ‘paid’ by their opponents, especially when they report anything negative about AAP / Kejriwal, or something positive about AAP’s rivals, like the BJP / Modi. It turns out we got it wrong all along.
No wonder every allegation AAP makes daily always gets headlines, why there is little critical analysis of their politics, why there is no attention given to Kejriwal’s failed promises, from Jan Lokpal to 15 lakh CCTVs for Delhi, and why they’ve been gradually pushed by the media towards ‘national party’ status despite mainly being a Delhi based entity.”
While most journalists who were named as the beneficiary of AAP largesse chose to maintain a studied silence, Saba Naqvi (a leading AAP cheerleader) when questioned on social media defended her decision to accept AAP’s ‘gift’ thus – she said it was because the outgoing college principal had asked for non-RSS people to join the board. This, in a nutshell, shows how the left-liberal mafia operates in this country. All their talk about freedom of expression, right to dissent etc is just hot air – when it comes to excommunicating their ideological opponents, even Mohammed Ghori would come a distant second to this ruthless lot.