On Sunday, 20th November 2016 Aam Aadmi Party Leader Arvind Kejriwal retweeted a tweet which stated that a man from Satna, Madhya Pradesh committed suicide in a bank because he could not get new notes or withdraw cash for four days. CM Kejriwal retweeted the same post without verifying the facts behind the incident and added a comment on how demonetization is killing people and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to notice the helplessness and plight of the people of the country.
The original tweet says:
मोदी जी, ये देखिए। अब तो इस देश के लोगों पे रहम कीजिए। आख़िर क्या दुश्मनी है आपकी जनता से। ग़रीब की इतनी हाय मत लीजिए। https://t.co/26FPOwYTwo
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 20, 2016
As per media reports, the man was not at the bank to withdraw money, but to rob it during the night. The locals and neighbours heard the noise and raised an alarm at which point he realised that the police had surrounded him and that he could not escape. Using the towel that he was covering his face with, he hanged himself and committed suicide. The incident happened at Allahabad Bank in Bela village in Madhya Pradesh.
Even though Twitterati pointed to CM Kejriwal that the tweet is wrong and gave correct information, he did not even apologise for the error, much less correct himself. As the Chief Minister of a state, and with millions of followers on Twitter, it is expected that Arvind Kejriwal will at least check the facts and credibility of a news piece before propagating it on social media. Such ignorant behaviour by a person in a position of responsibility has made him the subject of mockery on social media. People are calling him desperate and also saying that he seems like he is losing his sanity by sharing anything on social media.
Criticism is necessary for democracy. It is the duty of the opposition to keep a check on the government and keep it on its toes. That is why it is very important that the opposition maintains its credibility and criticisms be based on facts and not just be rants. One misquote or tweet makes people question the veracity and intention of all future posts. The role of any political party is not just to keep its fan base happy but also to bring people who disagree into its discourse domain and engage in an intellectual and civil discussion.
Instead of ranting without proper analysis, he should leverage his position to spread awareness and engage in public participation on the important issues and showcase the good work being done. Unfortunately, now any and all of the information he shares is being viewed sceptically, even if factually accurate.
At a time when politicians are being accused of producing sycophants and expanding their dynasties, Arvind Kejriwal who made big pre-election claims and promises should work to fulfilling them rather than indulging in mudslinging. He should publish the updates on the ongoing projects. With his twitter antics, he is only providing fodder to entertainment media. It is almost as if he is following the “All publicity is good publicity” adage.
The constant ranting and his aggressiveness in voicing his opinions are only detrimental in the long run.