Journalist-turned-politician Ashish Khetan on Tuesday told IBTimes India that some TV channels had apparently been given the contract to finish the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the political outfit had been targeted from the first day it assumed power in the Delhi in 2014.
However, he did not take any names while in conversation with Danish Manzoor on The Talk. Instead, he chose to get candid and admit that the AAP — led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — had in fact "overreacted" to some of the hurdles in the path of the Delhi government.
Khetan has been one of the more prominent members of the AAP, and was in Bengaluru on Tuesday to show solidarity with people protesting against the murder of outspoken journalist Gauri Lankesh earlier this month.
He took some time out for The Talk, and showed quite some amount of honesty while speaking on a range of topics, from his own experiences as a journalist to future plans of the AAP.
'Supari' for AAP?
Talking about how certain news outlets tend to take sides on matters of crime and politics, Khetan minced no words when he dwelled on the perceived assault on the AAP and its ideologies: "Certain TV channels have taken supari to finish us."
Supari, or the betel nut, is a Mumbai underworld term for a killing contract. Its origins lie in a king from the Mahemi tribe in Maharashtra, who used to offer paan and supari — betel leaves and nuts — to prospective contract killers who he would gather at the Mahim Fort for a feast.
The one who lift the supari along with the paan would be given the contract. Khetan alleged that political rivals had given exactly such a contract to some news channels to "finish" the AAP.
Khetan was candid and honest enough to admit AAP had "overreacted" on some issues.
"From Day 1 [of the AAP coming to power in Delhi] there was a scheme and plan in place to not let us function," he said, hinting at the many run-ins the party had with then Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung.
The party and its members had then accused the BJP — which is at power in the Centre but had been reduced to just three out of 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly while the AAP had the remaining 67 — of putting roadblocks in its path.
Kheta went on to add: "We sometimes overreacted [to those situations and circumstances] out of sheer frustration because we were not being allowed to function."
Still looking to change politics
Khetan also said the AAP is still looking to bring change in Indian politics, but shied away from answering whether the party would contest the 2018 Assembly elections in Karnataka — one of the only two major states in India where the Congress is still in power.
However, he continued to pitch the AAP as a fresh alternative for the people, saying: "The AAP is tryng to bring about a transformational paradigm shift in indian politics."
He added, referring to the BJP and the Congress in the context of electoral politics: "Are we left with just these two options: A corrupt party or a communal party? I think we deserve better."