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Politicians, their arrogance and social media

Mumbai city news: It is high time politicians realise that arrogance is something that can put them in trouble.

mumbai Updated: Jul 10, 2017 23:35 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad
On Monday, something done by Rajit Patil’s (in pic) father, V N Patil,  became an embarrassment for him and the government.
On Monday, something done by Rajit Patil’s (in pic) father, V N Patil, became an embarrassment for him and the government.

Minister of state for home Ranjit Patil is one of the few ministers in chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ council of ministers who are considered bright. As a junior minister, he has charge of home, urban development and general administration departments. These departments are led by none other than Fadnavis himself. In Mantralaya’s corridors, Patil is considered to be close to Fadnavis.

On Monday, something done by his father, V N Patil, himself a former legislator, became an embarrassment for him and the government. In a video clip that went viral, senior Patil was seen slapping someone — apparently a staffer of a local education institution. According to the reports, there was a feud between an education institute run by senior Patil and another by his local rival. The slapping incident took place after he went to verify admission procedure in the college run by his rival. Even if one assumes that there was something wrong going on in the college, should any citizen take the law in his hands and assault someone? Doesn’t it become serious when the person happens to be the father of a minister whose responsibility is to maintain law and order in the state? Unless of course, it is proved that the video clip on the social media was doctored. There is a police case lodged and hopefully the truth will come out after the investigation.

But then, VN Patil is not the first politician to land in a trouble over a clip that went viral on social media. In the past few years, we have seen several such instances. Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad faced flak from all quarters after the visuals of his assault on an Air India staffer became public. Recently, state BJP president Raosaheb Danve embarrassed his party when a video footage of him commenting on how farmers were cribbing even after government procured record quantity of pigeon pea (tur) from them became public. As the BJP started its Samvad (dialogue) Yatra to reach out to farmers, one of its legislators was seen threatening a farmer who asked him some uncomfortable questions. Senior Congress MLA Abdul Sattar was seen thrashing a farmer over a land dispute in Aurangabad. During civic polls, minister Mahadev Jankar was in controversy when a video clip of him asking an election officer in Gadchiroli district to reject application of a particular candidate went viral. And who will forget former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s infamous remarks on filling the dams in Maharashtra when there were no rains?

Politicians have been blaming the use of smartphones and the social media for these controversies. It is true that things have changed with the advent of smartphones with cameras and quick access to the social media. There is nothing private. You never know who is shooting your act or careless remarks even in a private meeting and then uploading it on a social network. It just takes a few minutes for a video clip to become viral and kick up a controversy.

But is the social media and smart phones are the real problem or it is the arrogance of political leaders? Several politicians consider themselves as the privileged one and hence entitled to special treatment. They also think they are not answerable to anyone if they misuse their position in power or if they interact with the government staff or even the common people. There is a significant number of politicians who are remarkably courteous in their behaviour but not all of them.

This tendency is not a monopoly of any particular political party. It is high time they realise that arrogance is something that can put them in trouble.

With the social media, it is not difficult for a common citizen (and of course anybody who has a grudge against them) to expose arrogant behaviour or misdeeds of a particular politician or even a government official. Being humble was never out of fashion.