One achievement must be credited to him straight away. He has removed the screen behind which Congress and the BJP romance. Kejriwal has taken full advantage of the media attention – at the India Today Conclave, for instance – to tear into the Congress-BJP collusion. Will this considerable expose not have a bearing on the election? That the two parties are indistinguishable on economic and social issues cannot be lost on the electorate, particularly minorities. Look at the list of their candidates: they are both equally thick skinned on corruption.
A year ago, the media had hyped up a Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi campaign. Modi rose to the bait but Rahul did not. Somehow, the Confederation of Indian Industry roped him in for an hour’s solo performance in April which did not set the Jamuna on fire. Word went out that he would concentrate on building up the party.
The December 8 election results must have disturbed India Inc on several counts. The Congress was sinking; BJP did stand its ground in all four states but there was no discernible Modi magic. Upsetting all calculations, AAP came to power in Delhi within a year of being born.
I have, by way of a diversion, looking at the deteriorating communal situation nearer home, in UP. Let me begin with Faizabad, the precursor of Lucknow’s great culture.
A leading English newspaper sent a proposal to Kalmadi for positive coverage of the CWG in November 2009. The entire deal was worth Rs 12.19 crore. The media group wanted an “Official Newspaper” status for its flagship newspaper.
The proposal stated: “We do not solicit any financial assistance from CWG for the above activities apart from the regular advertising support for encouragement.”
The final report of the PCI is so watered down that if one compares it with the draft report, the extent of corruption in the media itself gets exposed.
The most notable difference between the two reports is that while the draft report listed specific instances of paid news with the names of media publications, the final report does not mention even a single name. This, at a time when the entire Indian media is going all-out against the corruption in the Commonwealth Games 2010.