Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is facing widespread ridicule after his ‘PR event’ involving a so-called ‘auto-rickshaw driver’ appeared to have backfired. Much to the discomfort of Kejriwal, a Twitter user had predicted on Sunday how Kejriwal would orchestrate an invitation from a so-called auto-rickshaw driver during his visit to Gujarat and his PR stunt would be heavily promoted by NDTV, News 24 and other media outlets that are funded by the Delhi government with crores of ad money.
In a video shared on social media, Kejriwal was seen speaking to a man in khaki uniform, who described himself as an auto-rickshaw driver. The so-called driver invited Kejriwal to have a meal at his house. The AAP chief wasted no time in accepting his invitation and asked him if he would come to pick him up in his auto from the politician’s hotel.
Later, Kejriwal’s social media foot soldiers splashed Twitter with videos of his travel in an auto-rickshaw to project his image as a politician, who believes in simplicity.
However, Kejriwal’s detractors and other eagle-eyed social media users were quick to dig out an old video from the AAP chief’s campaign in Punjab, where he had enacted a similar scene. Even then, a so-called auto-rickshaw driver had extended Kejriwal an invitation to have a meal at his house. To which, the AAP chief had asked if the so-called auto-rickshaw driver would be happy to pick him up in his auto.
However, it had later emerged that the said ‘auto-rickshaw driver’ was a member of the Aam Aadmi Party. Speaking to Bhaskar newspaper, the so-called auto-rickshaw driver’s brother had exposed Kejriwal.
On 11 September, a day before Kejriwal’s visit to Gujarat, user Vijay Patel had tweeted, “As per the planned script, Arvind Kejriwal may go for lunch or dinner to the auto-rickshaw driver’s home after getting a sudden invitation from the auto-rickshaw driver! NDTV, News 24, and Gujarati media are ready to cover this planned PR event! – Source.”
As per the planned script, Arvind Kejriwal may go for lunch or dinner to the auto-rickshaw driver's home after getting a sudden invitation from the auto-rickshaw driver!
NDTV, News 24, and Gujarati media are ready to cover this planned PR event! – Source
— Vijay Patel🇮🇳 (@vijaygajera) September 11, 2022
A day later, NDTV indeed prominently covered Kejriwal’s much-publicised meal with the so-called auto-rickshaw driver in Ahmedabad as a ‘big story’ on its home page.
Meanwhile, an Ahmedabad-based journalist has raised questions asking why she had never seen an auto-rickshaw driver in uniform. The man inviting Kejriwal for meal on Monday was wearing a khaki uniform.
हम #अहमदाबाद #घाटलोडीया में रहते है जो #Gujarat सीएम @Bhupendrapbjp का चुनाव क्षेत्र है। आज #दिल्ली CM @ArvindKejriwalजी यहां ऑटोड्राइवर विक्रम दंतानी के घर खाना खाने आए।
मेरा एक सिम्पल सा प्रश्न है।
आज तक #Ahmedabad में हमको क्यों एक भी ऑटो ड्राइवर यूनिफॉर्म पहना हुआ नहीं मिला? pic.twitter.com/nyDVSWzLJL
— Deepal.Trivedi #Vo! (@DeepalTrevedie) September 12, 2022
Deepal Trivedi asked, “We live in #Ahmedabad #Ghatlodia, which is the constituency of #Gujarat CM @Bhupendrapbjp. Today #Delhi CM
@ArvindKejriwal ji came here to have food at auto-driver Vikram Dantani’s house. I have a simple question. Why have we never found a single auto-driver wearing a uniform to date in Ahmedabad?”
Gujarat goes to polls in a few weeks’ time and Kejriwal has shifted his focus to the western Indian state to expand his party’s base beyond Delhi and Punjab. His critics say that the AAP chief is known for indulging in theatrics to create newsworthy events and promoting his party’s cause with help from friendly media outlets, who’ve been receiving crores of rupees in ad revenue from the Delhi government.