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
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
And Arvind Kejriwal comes from
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
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
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
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'.