Media is a double-edged sword, the AAP must know

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Dear AAP, media is a double edged-sword
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for the first time, has got a taste of its own medicine. The 'people-friendly' party, which had been riding the wave of anti-incumbency in the last one year, is now facing a serious charge of indulging in corrupt practices, thanks to a sting operation which claimed that many leaders of the party were seeking donations in cash.

Soon after this incident, FIR was lodged against another party leader for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. A few days ago, an attack was made on party's chief ministerial candidate for Delhi Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference on charges that he was misusing the name of Anna Hazare, his mentor and the man who had started the anti-corruption movement.

Depending too much on the media has harmed the AAP's prospects

These three incidents should teach the AAP a couple of lessons. First, media is a double-edged sword and as it can help one get unconditional publicity, it can also ruin one's chances of winning. And secondly, banking on moralism as the only political capital never helps in the long run.

The AAP has committed an error by narrowing down its chances by depending too much on the media and the issue of moralism. But this is perhaps because the AAP always wanted to thrive on the power of the urban middle-class and found a suitable vacuum to fill up as a third political front.

The AAP's leadership is clearly rattled by this incident because, mainly because it is for the first time that the party has seen the adverse effect of the media. The party, in a zeal to outsmart 'corrupt' politicians never expected that the gun could ever be turned against them, despite the fact that it is entering the murky world of politics where it made too many enemies at the same time.

The leadership of the AAP might read politics as a simplistic game where the 'good' always defeats the 'evil'. But it is an amateurish thing to do. The party might aim to put things in order in the realm of politics but the irony is that the world of politics itself never desires order and transparency. What has actually happened is that the party has put itself under a massive burden of expectation and a simple slip can inflict an irreparable damage to its political career.

Corruption doesn't occur because people have become characteristically bad. Corruption is something which evolves and intensifies as an institutional aspect of any system managed by human activities. The AAP identified corruption with the decay in party and administrative politics in this country and began to thrive on the general anti-establishment prevalent among the general people, particularly the urban middle class which is fed day in and out by a moralistic media. But now after the sting operation against the AAP creating a stir and another media house threatened by a scandal, the belief of that middle-class is bound to get a deep shock.

The AAP must fast learn that banking on the media for a good political fortune is a wrong thing to do. It can't have a short cut while trying to reach the peak and must prepare the ground even if it geographically limited. One feels Arvind Kejriwal's team didn't put in a second thought while deciding to contest the polls after attracting a big media focus.

The oganisational and leadership aspects were not given their due importance, something which any political force needs to do and the result can be seen. The party, which has little record to speak for it apart from a self-proclaimed moral high ground, can be derailed any moment by attacking its inexperienced leaders.

The AAP must find a Plan B before its time runs out.

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