If politics or more specifically electoral propaganda is primarily the art of communication and building perceptions, then Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is a master of the dark arts of manipulating public perception. He is the proverbial Pied Piper, who almost leads the media to set his own agenda like a band-master with shrill decibel rhetoric.
Now, Kejriwal is not the first and the last politician to embark on this path. It has been hardly a year since a certain strongman from Gujarat went on to occupy the highest executive post of the country, relying a lot on counter-offensive political discourse which often put the opposition into a corner. But Kejriwal is on an another level, when it comes to grabbing the spotlight at a time, when there is a mad rush to emerge as a credible anti-Namo face among the depleted pool of leaders ahead of the next general elections.
Take for instance, the recent ink attack. As the footage shows, the lady in question, Bhawna Arora was quite far away from Kejriwal, and he was under no mortal threat by any stretch of imagination. Prima facie, the accused is part of an AAP splinter group. And her links to BJP is either non-existent or yet to emerge in the public space.
However AAP leaders have upped the ante saying it is a deep conspiracy, blaming the Delhi Police. The amateurish ink attack, which was unsuccessful and would’ve shamed any self-respecting Shiv Sena member, was hilariously equated to JFK’s assassination.
This heightened rhetoric has led to polarising comments on social media with some backing Kejriwal and others thrashing him. Meanwhile different theories have started to emerge about the purported ink attack with one police officer claiming he was asked to move away from the stage just before the incident. Well the entire matter being essentially trivial will probably soon fade away from public memory, but it definitely lends some oxygen to constant source of attention the AAP thrives on.
Just a day after the odd-even scheme expired, Kejriwal said that PMO sources have informed him of impending raids on Manish Sisodia and another senior leader. This and several other news with a meme-worthy is it true footnote has become a standard Kejriwal modus-operandi for garnering eyeballs.
To his credit, AAP and Kejriwal managed to win Delhi going against the then current political wave and also with relatively less focus from media. But perhaps sustaining the hype and euphoria among his leaders and workers to further champion the cause of AAP is turning out to be a big challenge for the Delhi CM. One suspects that the constant paranoia and victim complex hence are used as suitable trope to keep the pot churning.
Obviously, the BJP has further aided Kejriwal’s attempt to remain in public consciousness with sometimes openly hostile policies evident from Delhi Police and LG Najeeb Jung’s actions. It is an unstable equilibrium in Delhi, with all sides intent on keeping it that way to benefit themselves.