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#AshuCries a howl

Vikram Kilpady
Vikram KilpadyApr 25, 2015 | 13:49

#AshuCries a howl

I don't know about glycerine, but chopping onions (I must have done it just TWICE) makes me cry. Rajasthan farmer Gajendra Singh, who committed suicide at an AAP rally on April 22, and his family deserve all our commiseration and sympathy while reserving our scorn for the system that left Gajendra and thousands of farmers to commit suicide. But one should not go on live TV and let it rip with the tear-jets on turbo. Ashutosh, an accomplished TV anchor, didn't seem to have any qualms in letting them impede his vision while speaking to Gajendra's daughter Megha.

She kept her composure despite losing her father and seeing a fully-grown man cry. But Ashutosh was remorse personified, now an AAP functionary. He repeatedly cried that he didn't enter politics for this. Turning into a six-foot infant on TV is precisely what one doesn't do given the experience before TV cameras for someone like Ashutosh. Was the crying an attempt to escape the censure for ignoring Gajendra from the stage? Rival parties ascribed it to nothing more than crocodile tears.

His party chief Arvind Kejriwal, the master of regret and sorry, had already cast the die earlier today, saying he wished he had stopped his speech to listen to Gajendra's complaints. Hindsight is proving to be the best tool in the AAP convener's toolkit. He regretted resigning as Delhi CM, regretted the fielding of AAP candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha election, regret, regret. Now more regret.

The BJP may have moved the land ordinance, the Congress and other opposition parties may have marched to the President against it but AAP wanted its farmer moment on April 22. That moment, as we know now, belonged to Gajendra Singh atop a neem tree. The man who wept on live TV was possibly crying for his party. The AAP which has just expelled former leading lights and ideologues for "rebellion" against the party (read Kejriwal) line doesn't want any bad publicity. Gajendra's suicide, which had nothing to do with the Delhi government per se, has left AAP stained as the party whose leaders played their hectoring politics while the beleaguered farmer counted minutes.

While the Congress and the BJP may have more at stake over being painted the villain, the AAP could be the fall guy for the farmer's suicide. And wasting the opportunity to spread across India after the Delhi Assembly landslide for ignoring a woebegone debt-struck farmer is worth the tears, real or crocodile.

In all the evisceration on TV, the tragedy of the Indian farmer and the land bill's contentious portions are elided over. Farmers from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have borne the brunt of suicides, now it's spreading. Who stands to gain is not the topic to be debated, it is who will continue to grow food for a fast-expanding country if suicide is the only option for farmers like Gajendra.

Last updated: April 25, 2015 | 13:49
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