Hafta 267: AAP’s response to Delhi riots, Jyotiraditya Scindia, coronavirus pandemic, and more


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In this episode of NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande and Mehraj D Lone are joined by Arfa Khanum, senior editor at The Wire.Kicking off with the Aam Aadmi Party’s involvement — or lack of it — in the aftermath of the Delhi violence, Arfa says she’s very surprised. She says she’s heard that the party “is punishing its voters who just voted them back to power for the third consecutive time”. Mehraj asks why the state government seems to have outsourced its own work to third parties. Manisha recalls many volunteers said they didn’t see many AAP workers on the ground in the early days after the violence.The panel then discusses patriotism. Abhinandan says he doesn’t see the value in patriotism. “It doesn’t have a place in the 21st century,” he says. Manisha describes patriotism as a “value of oneness”. Arfa says her country is her people, and standing up for minority rights that are being trampled is “real patriotism”. Mehraj points out how movements like the BJP and the Sangh Parivar have “blurred the distinction between nationalism and patriotism”.Moving on to the coronavirus pandemic, the panel debate whether the frenzy around it is justified. Mehraj quotes the scientific community’s consensus that this is serious, “since the human body hasn’t encountered it before”. In the context of the dismal state of India’s healthcare system, he says: “This is what you should prepare for, this is why you need robust healthcare.” The conversation also spans the media’s coverage of the pandemic, and the panellists agree that Indian authorities have done a decent job of dealing with it — unlike the US.Ending with Jyotiraditya Scindia’s defection to the BJP, Mehraj says, “This is a symptom of a dying party.” He says theCongress has become a party of grifters and there’s nothing binding their people together unlike the BJP. Manisha disagrees, saying the Congress could revive, “only if we remove the Gandhis”. Abhinandan says “Gandhi” is the party’s ideology and it’s nothing without his name. The panel agrees that Scindia will not have any future in the BJP.They also discuss the relationship between caste and power and institutions, women in the media, and a lot more. Tune in!

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