It’s apparent that not only has Arvind Kejriwal decided to enter politics, he’s become a politician as well, learning from existing experts in politics how to manipulate ‘facts’ and manage media events to suit his ends.
A few days ago, Kejriwal decided to take issue with the Delhi administration for the rise in the price of electricity to citizens. “In his run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections, anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal took on the Delhi government on Sunday, burning electricity bills, which he said were inflated, in Satyam Puram area of Jharoda Kalan. It is an unauthorised colony where Kailash Sharma, a middle aged shop keeper died of a heart attack as he tried to retrieve his meter from the hand of a Delhi Police enforcement team.
On Saturday, Kejriwal restored the electricity connection of a daily wage earner, whose power supply was stopped after he failed to pay his bills. Kejriwal claimed that his power bill was inflated. "How can a person, who is earning Rs 9,000, be expected to pay Rs 15,000?" asked Kejriwal,” reported IBNLive.
Stories like those of Kailash Sharma dying ‘as he tried to retrieve his meter,’ are manna from heaven for politicians – and since Kejriwal is now one, he decided to look for more such stories and leverage them.
That’s what led to his visiting the slum and ‘restoring’ the connection of a daily wage earner. The story tugs at the heartstrings, as readers imagine an emaciated man, just short of naked and a set of underweight and ill-kempt family members around him.
Except, he wasn’t anything like that, NDTV’s Sunetra Choudhury discovered.
Choudhury, earlier today, sent out a number of tweets after visiting the house of the ‘labourer’ whose power connection was restored by Arvind Kejriwal.
Here are the four tweets clubbed together to make it easier to read. No changes, not even on capitalisation, have been made to what Ms Choudhury said.
“i went to meet the family of bana ram yday whose power connection was restored by kejriwal.Got an insight into urban 'poor' labourer family. Bana lal's neighbour lives in equaly modest house but 2 split air cons! Bana lal had 2 washing machines which weren't working coz of power. Bana lal family felt guilty for 3 coolers they were using when i walked in so switched em off. The washing machine was a dowry item they say. They used to pay power bill of 3k which i found remarkable as it used to be my bill too before hike of 25% but they have 20 ppl in family.”
There goes the picture of the struggling labourer, struggling to make both ends meet on a day-to-day basis. The use of the descriptor ‘daily wage’ had made the picture even more poignant as we expected to see someone who was unsure of when his next rupee would come.
And here he is, Choudhury finds, surrounded by multiple split airconditioners, air coolers and washing machines – and paying an electricity bill that’s lower than your bill or mine – even if we have fewer electrical appliances.
Did Kejriwal know about the non-poor labourer before he invited the media to witness, and capture for posterity, the images of justice being done by him, defending the hapless against a tyrannical administration?
The answer must be ‘yes’. In which case, Arvind Kejriwal has evolved; he’s arrived; now he’s a politician.