Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been vocal about his criticism of PM Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move. However, in a recent interview to BBC Hindi, the Aam Aadmi Party leader lashed out at the reporter who asked him how he could directly link the reported 55 deaths post-demonetisation to the currency ban.
To this, Kejriwal said in a raised voice, “Few of your colleagues in media, who still have the courage and integrity to ask people in the queues about the issues they are facing due to this move..” The AAP leader was then cut short by the BBC interviewer who said that he, as a journalist, too was doing the same work. “But it is also our responsibility to distinguish the right from the wrong. We cannot directly link the deaths of these people solely to demonetisation,” the reporter said.
“Yeh janta dekh rahi hai ke BBC waale kitne imaandaar hain (The public can now see how honest BBC is),” retorts Kejriwal while talking directly to the camera. Reiterating his point, he continues, “55 people have died in the country since the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes have been banned. And the BBC is saying we cant link this to demonetisation. This is their honest journalism.”
When the interviewer tried to intervene, Kejriwal raised his voice to highlight “the seriousness of the issue.” He further said that he was ashamed the reporters said the deaths couldn’t be linked to demonetisation. “Mujhe sharam aati hai ke aap jaise patrakar yeh kehte hai ke usko link nahi kiya jaasakta hai. (I am ashamed that reporters like you are saying that these two issues cannot be linked),” he said.
“People are dying and it is there in the newspapers and here you are saying that there has been no enquiry,” he says agitated. “People are dying, business are down, people dont have anything to eat in their homes, and you are saying jaanch nahi huyi.”
The interviewer then informs him that an AAP legislator had visited the BBC office and when they asked him if he stood in the queue, he said that his driver had withdrawn the money on his behalf. “Haan toh?” responded Kejriwal. “What are you trying to prove? That 55 people haven’t died?”
When the reporter asks how could one ignore those who are lauding the move, Kejriwal asks him to explain how this move is beneficial. He said that the rich people were not facing the brunt of this decision.”Janardhana Reddy, the one who was involved in a mining scam, had a wedding in his family. Reporters said the wedding expenses costed Rs. 500 crores. How did the money reached him? That means there is home delivery of cash at the houses of the rich. There are no queues for them. It doesnt matter what currency notes you bring in,” he said. Alleging that the public was being fooled in the name of patriotism, he said that black money flow was not being affected by the current decision.
When the reporter states that the claims are being made by Kejriwal, the AAP leader once again targets the journalists and says he shouldn’t make the issue “frivolous.” “If you want to do an interview, do it properly,” he said. An argument follows and the BBC reporter says Kejriwal indulges in accusations instead of answering questions.