Why call just AAP 'pathological liars'? Cong, BJP doing it for decades

Members of the AAP staged a protest against Arun Jaitley in Delhi and the BJP workers staged a counter protest in response. That’s good entertainment. It’s time we learnt to separate political antics from genuine political action – that’s something of a rarity these days, one must admit.

Akshaya Mishra February 05, 2014 06:20:31 IST
Why call just AAP 'pathological liars'? Cong, BJP doing it for decades

Members of the AAP staged a protest against Arun Jaitley in Delhi and the BJP workers staged a counter protest in response. That’s good entertainment. It’s time we learnt to separate political antics from genuine political action – that’s something of a rarity these days, one must admit.

The trigger for the action from both sides was the allegation by one AAP leader that senior BJP leaders sought to bribe him. In a climate saturated with irony, the phenomenon of allegations merits some discussion (as this piece is being written party’s senior member Prashant Bhushan is on air making an allegation against DMK chief Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi).

Wild allegations and spurious claims of achievement are accepted, almost legitimate, instruments of perception manipulation in the country. Politicians have always used the media to spread malice and misinformation, and for character assassination. The latter, for all that moral grandstanding and claims of piercing intelligence, have unfailingly become the willing accomplice. Thus there’s hardly any point slamming the AAP for claiming in public that Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitely offered Rs 20 crore to break the party. It has learnt the media game fast and at the moment appears to have upstaged even Modi, the old master of the game.

Why call just AAP pathological liars Cong BJP doing it for decades

Arvind Kejriwal addressing the media. AFP.

The AAP leaders won’t produce proof. None would be sought from them with seriousness and the judiciary won’t come into the picture. In times so welcoming to the sensational and the scurrilous, proofs are a distraction. Even if they produce sheaves of paper as evidence there’s fat chance that anybody would be too interested.

Throwing allegations to catch public attention has been perfected almost to an art form in the country. Established parties have been doing it for decades. The AAP is only doing it with higher frequency. It threatens to take the shock quotient out of the allegations. But that is another matter.

Should anyone really be blaming the AAP for what it is doing? Everyone was applauding its leaders for hurling allegations at everyone in their anti-corruption movement days. All of them were happy to dance to their tune, adding some music of their own to make the revelry last longer. Nobody asked for evidence then; there’s no reason why they should be asked to do so now. It is obvious by now that the Kejriwal-led outfit wants to paint all leaders in black and make a media tamasha of it. It is good strategy so far as occupying media space goes. Liars? The answer, in the absence of evidence, should be ‘who is not?’

Someone said Indians are born with the ‘credulity chromosome’, meaning they would believe anything told to them loudly and with a bit of earnestness. They are also suckers for good stories. If lies are made interesting, they would fall hook, line and sinker for it. The phenomenon of Narendra Modi is an example. He has been moving around the country, making exaggerated claims and hurling allegations at political opponents with little respect for facts. He is a good story-teller. Not many blame him for telling ‘lies’. There is little point pulling up the AAP for making allegations. Do we ever hear enough about defamation laws in out everyday discourse? No.

In an overall system that appreciates falsehood, or at least is indifferent about it, the new party is not an exception. The only difference: it is more brazen, and being a new outfit, does not carry the burden of a dubious legacy that other parties do. Being an outsider, it can afford to be disrespectful to big leaders. The allegations serve no purpose, but they certainly take the halo of respectability off the latter. It is not such a bad thing when there are no indications that the political class are planning to change for the better.

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