Students of communication (or mass communication) are told the dictum in the very beginning of their coursework that ‘communication is power’.
Now how many of them assimilate is a matter of another debate but the ‘fact’ is becoming more ‘tactful’ for the political class as we are heading more into the times of political experiments.
And Arvind Kejriwal is no exception.
The ‘class’ believes communication can do anything. The ‘class’ believes communication can empower words and associated images to the extent of reality even if reality itself is non-existent. The ‘class’ increasingly believes in the ‘fact’ that it needs to spread its ‘words’ first. The action may or ‘may not’ follow. That is of least concern or of no concern. Yes, ‘action’ does have heightened ‘concern value’ during election times, but communication must have a ‘blitzkrieg’ sort of presence always.
And Arvind Kejriwal comes from this class.
So, Arvind Kejriwal has come up with a blitzkrieg sort of idea to enhance his governance’s and government’s visibility by enhancing his government’s communication (advertising) budget by some 22 times. It is true that the Aam Aadmi Party, the party that belongs to Arvind Kejriwal (and now Arvind Kejriwal only), shuns any wasteful expenditure – as its founding principle says. But those who are terming this as ‘wasteful’ increase are not seeing the underlying wisdom of Mr. Kejriwal.
Mr. Kejriwal and his party are on the way to do an innovative experiment. Apart from doing work to meet their electoral promises, they also want to see what happens if they don’t meet most of what they have promised. They can afford it as they are just beginning. It is still not five months yet from 14 February 2105 when there government was inaugurated again. And they have five years ahead. So, they can attract ‘some public wrath’ for the overall larger public good. (Yes, such altruism, some selflessness is rare.)
Also, after the ‘class metamorphosis’ of the AAP is complete, it has to do certain damage control exercises.
First, it doesn’t share good relations with media. Media outfits say he is acting like them who happened to be his ‘stated reasons to enter politics to cleanse it’. Now, media is not going to change its view until and unless something groundbreaking happens.
But in order to do something groundbreaking, Kejriwal first needs to experience all political grounds – good, bad, ugly, controversial, appreciative, etc. – and it may lead to negative reporting against him.
And therefore, Kejriwal has taken the task of experiencing controversial ground after his initial offers from Delhi’s coffers to subsidize water and electricity, even if it is giving rise to his increasing criticism.
Kejriwal will weather it, like the ‘class’ usually does in such cases. Yes, to cushion his party members – and the three year old party – with many of its ‘prominent’ members from media – Kejriwal has come with a respite – by increasing the advertising budget – from 24 crore to 526 crore – that is probably largest, many times of many states, for a state government in India – for spreading the word about Delhi government’s good intent – that is evident from his and his ministers’ words – action will follow – as the Delhi government promises.
Yes, media and political opponents will criticise the move citing negative points like the huge increase, like wastage of taxpayer’s money, like no real work on ground, like taxpayer’s money being splurged on practice like spreading the word about the government’s work when there is nothing much to talk about, like the controversy around violating the Supreme Court’s order on political advertisements, like reneging on its poll promises, like diverting funds from development works to fund expenditures like this and so on.
But this Delhi government would take all that. After all, after becoming so uncommon, Kejriwal’s next aim is to make every common man think ‘uncommon’ – the way he has made the AAP think and decide on its future political course of action.
Yes, communication is power and he has initiated ‘tactfully’ with the formal process to live this ‘fact’.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/