A television advertisement featuring Arvind Kejriwal, issued to mark three years of the AAP government in Delhi on February 14, has not been cleared by the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP). The problem, officials said, is this phrase: “Jab aap sacchai aur imaandari ke raaste par chalte hain, toh iss brahmaand ki drishya aur adrishya saari shaktiyan aapki madat karti hain (When you walk on the path of truth and honesty, the seen and unseen forces of the universe will assist you).”
In the days leading up to the AAP’s anniversary, Kejriwal traditionally issues a television advertisement and a video message on social media. This year, the message spoke of “obstacles” that marked these years, adding that “God supported us” since they walked on the “path of truth and honesty”. On Sunday, Kejriwal called up chief secretary Anshu Prakash to enquire about the status of the advertisement, which was to be aired on TV channels from Monday, sources said.
The advertisement says, “In the past three years, corruption has decreased. Because, in the past three years, the people of Delhi have created an honest government. Now, each and every penny is spent on development — electricity, water, school, mohalla clinics, roads, flyovers… There were many obstacles too. God has helped us at each step. Because when you walk on the path of truth and honesty, the seen and unseen forces of the universe all assist you… My biggest strength is you and my biggest support is God’s blessing. I pray to God that we can keep serving you in the same way.”
While Kejriwal’s statement about electricity, water, et was sent to the departments concerned for clearance, the DIP is not sure of which department to refer the particular phrase to, sources said. “The CM was told the advertisement was yet to be cleared by departments concerned. He called a meeting at his residence on Monday,” said a CMO official. The meeting, chaired by Kejriwal, started at 8.30 am on Monday and witnessed him asking why the ad was stuck. “Different departments said they had cleared it. But officials of the DIP singled out the line, citing ‘seen and unseen forces’, and told the CM that they weren’t sure which department had to clear that particular line.”
Sources said Kejriwal reacted to this with “disbelief”. A source present at the meeting said, “Kejriwal said the Supreme Court rules were being misused by the department to stall work. The SC order is to check facts and figures. But which department will sign off on proverbs?”
In March 2017, a report by CAG had said that AAP violated Supreme Court guidelines. It was later pulled up by the Delhi HC, and since then the DIP has been approving each advertisement. Officials said that health, PWD, education, water and power departments had all signed off on the file.
In June, finance minister Manish Sisodia’s Facebook Live on GST was allegedly stalled after DIP said a tender was needed to be issued for the session.
DIP chief Jayadev Sarangi said they weren’t called for Monday’s meeting, and had not raised any “content-related objections”. “We only follow the Supreme Court guidelines when it comes to ads. Respective departments send us content for the ads and, after making sure all guidelines have been followed, we clear them,” he said.
AAP opens doors for feedback
: CM Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet ministers will Wednesday answer questions and receive feedback through social media, phone calls and email to mark three years of the AAP coming to power in the capital. Sources said the event is a bid by the CM and his Cabinet to highlight government’s achievements directly to the people.