Degree row: Has AAP forgotten about MLA Tomar in going after Modi?

"It's farjiwada (fraud). Nakal ke liya akal chahiye (Even to fake brains are needed). Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley have committed crime of producing fake degrees of Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister should apologise....." thus continued Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh with his over half-an-long unrestricted high decibel diatribe on what he and his party thought was the most gripping issue before the nation.

 Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

What comes out from his tone, tenor and unadulterated condemnation of PM Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is the sense that the AAP leaders believe that the best way to hit the headlines is to get as foul or even abusive as you can get against prominent personalities. And if you pitch against no less than a person than Prime Minister, that too accuse him of indulging in fraud, not only screaming headlines are assured but also prime time talking points in TV news studios and at chai and paan shops across the country.

Good, bad or ugly AAP, Arvind Kejriwal will be talked about. That's free publicity. That is not to say that AAP always wants free publicity. AAP of course is spending hundreds of crores of ordinary tax payers money through incessant advertisements in print and TV, regional and national, to promote Kejriwal on some pretext or the other where a failed odd-even experiment is hailed as huge achievement.

Immediately after Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley held a press conference with flashing Modi's degrees in their hand, asking Kejriwal to apologise, the AAP leaders held a counter press conference where they went at length to claim the painstaking month long effort they had made to find how educated Modi was. They spent great deal of time, energy and money in going to his village school, intermediate college and elsewhere, and make a conclusion on their own that Prime Minister's graduation and post-graduation degrees as external student are fake.

The residents of Delhi, at least a good number of them would wonder it would have been better if they had displayed same vigour with positivity to resolve problems relating to Delhi.

Kejriwal, Ashutosh and rest of their party leaders have thankfully stopped short of calling Modi a criminal, the one who committed wilful crime of arranging fake degrees for self from two universities -- Delhi University and Gujarat University. One can't be sure whether that's part of their strategy or a generous gesture towards PM. At least for now they are not calling names to PM or going to a police station to register a case against him.

The least the AAP could have done is to go to Delhi University and to Gujarat University with the certificates and mark sheets provided by the BJP brass, verify them with authorities, check with records before declaring it a farjiwada (racket of fakes. AAP's purpose is obviously different.

Modi's graduation certificate issued by Delhi University (as issued by BJP brass) says his enrolment number was CC-5599/74 and his roll number was 16594.

"This is to certify that Narendra Damodas Modi having been examined in 1978, and found qualified for the degree of Bachelor of Arts was admitted to the said degree at the convocation held in 1979. Division third". It says college -- correspondence courses. He got his degree in 1978. His MA degree from Gujarat University in 1983 mentions
him as external student: "Me, the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and members of the Court of Gujarat University certify that the within signed Narendra Damodardas Modi having been examined for the degree of Master of Arts External and adjudged to have been pursued in the First Class the degree of Master of Arts (external) with entire
Political Science has been conferred on him at Ahmedabad on the twentieth day of month of March in the year one thousand nine hundred & eighty three."

Jaitley is perhaps right when he says Kejriwal and his party charges on Modi's degrees without caring to check facts can have multi dimensional effect. one such effect on Centre and NCT of Delhi government. "We are a federal nation. Here threat to federal polity comes from Union Territory".

The relations between Centre and city government is already very sour and this episode has the potential to worsen it further. Jaitley's argument was that Kejriwal's "irresponsible behaviour" would imbalance in federal structure: "Politics of adventurism is treated as substitute of governance.... A party which keeps on talking of Aam Aadmi should have applauded Modi's zeal to pursue education and taking examinations in politically challenging times of mid-1970s (post-Emergency)."

Both Jaitley and Shah stressed that it was "most unfortunate" that they had to call a media briefing to address to some irresponsible allegations made by Kejriwal, Congress and JD(U) on PM Modi's degrees. Their contention was kejriwal and his other party leaders had brought public discourse to a new low.

"Kejriwal ne dunia me badnami dene ka pap kiya hai. Kejriwal ko desh se mafi mangni chahiye (Kejriwal has committed the sin of defaming someone in the world," Shah said.

AAP is free to pursue politics of adventurism. That have yielded them unparalleled dividend in the past. But since it is ruling Delhi and aspire to grow in rest of the country, the least its leaders can do, is to become a bit sober in their public conduct.

In any case AAP leaders should remember Jitendra Singh Tomar and what all likes of Ashutosh had to say a year ago when the then law minister was arrested by Delhi Police for his indulgence in fake degree racket.

Updated Date: May 10, 2016 07:44 AM

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