Was Talk to AK a rip-off of Mann ki Baat? Is Arvind Kejriwal taking cue from his arch rival Narendra Modi? Was it another publicity stunt by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo? Has the budding politician found a new way of using his constitutional position to strengthen his political persona?
None could deny that Talk to AK is being used by Kejriwal as a tool of furthering his personality cult, similar to the manner in which Prime Minister Modi uses the Mann ki Baat as medium of propaganda. But labelling Kejriwal’s Talk to AK as cheap copy of Modi’s Mann ki Baat would be unfair. Here are the difference:
While Modi’s Mann ki Baat is a pre-recorded show (at least the latest editions), Kejriwal’s Talk to AK is a lively interactive session, where questions are taken live from the people through social media as well as phone calls. One cannot expect controversial things to be addressed or remarked upon in Mann ki Baat, but Talk to AK is full of uncertainties. With the kind of questions being asked to Kejriwal at the inaugural session, it seems that the AAP machinery has not found a way to keep BJP-aligned trolls out of the process. In Kejriwal’s own words, “We do not believe in staged media interactions. Everything should be transparent. People should ask us questions directly.” (ALSO READ: Talk to AK: 10 takeaways from Arvind Kejriwal’s debut interactive session)
2. Not a monologue
As per the concept, Talk to AK is not supposed to be monologue. However, Kejriwal turned it into one for at least the first 30 minutes of the show, where he continuously boasted about the achievements of his government, whereas his deputy Manish Sisodia and moderator Vishal Dadlani were seen as mute spectators. Considering that it was the inaugural edition, one can assume that Kejriwal wanted to use this opportunity to state the achievements of his 17 month old government. However, once the interactive part of the show kicked off, Kejriwal was seen taking questions directly from people across the country.
3. Ready to take controversial questions
From ‘Free WiFi’ to ‘Office of Profit’ controversy, Kejriwal did not shy away from answering controversial questions. One of the callers also asked him about the increase in the salaries of his MLAs by whopping 400 percent – the question which was taken head on by the Delhi CM. From the looks of it, it appeared as if the show was unscripted. One can expect controversy to be fuelled in the next edition, as Congress’ Ajay Maken has promised to ask hard-hitting questions to Kejriwal on the live show.
This point is related to Mann ki Baat as a number of controversial questions are posted by the people on my.gov.in ahead of the scheduled radio programme demanding the Prime Minister to shed his opinion on the contentious matters. Several users have asked Modi to reveal why he has failed to implement the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission, one of his most important poll plank, promising a 150 percent increase in the Minimum Selling Price (MSP) offered to farmers. However, Modi has so far ducked such contentious subjects.
4. Kejriwal emerged as a politician, Modi comes as a statesman
During Talk to AK, Kejriwal emerged as a politician, not failing to glorify his government and lambasting the Opposition. He did not shy away from making a political pitch, promising one of the callers from Chandigarh that his party would contest the Chandigarh municipal elections, along with the legislative polls in entire Punjab.
On the other hand, Modi enters into the gimmick of a statesman during his Mann ki Baat address. So far, he has refrained from making any direct attack on his political opponents during the show. The Prime Minister not only discusses issues related to politics and governances, but speaks on other social subjects as well. During Mann ki Baat, Modi speaks under the capacity of an elected representative rather than a politician. But the lines were blurred by Kejriwal during Talk to AK.