Indian Politics is seeing a trend of various Journalists turning Politicians prior to the Assembly elections. One can attribute this sudden rush of journalists leaving their long-time jobs to join politics to the rise of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Since the very evolution of this new party, a whole sequence of change has come into our political system. Its leader Arvind Kejriwal has inspired people to work for a change.
Media is behind the rise of Kejriwal as the messiah of the masses after his popular anti-corruption rally in Delhi with Anna Hazare. The movement witnessed many journalists openly participating in the good cause of the rally, rather than being mere watchers.
A never before number of journalists is standing in this year’s Indian elections, with almost all parties fielding candidates from the media. The thought behind this whole trend is a hope that their credentials will make a positive change this time.
The numbers are still on the rise, with about 20 well-known journalists already standing. 2014 elections seem to be new breeds of elections as it is different from the previous polls. This year more professionals have entered the political tussle. Many of them are supporting anti-corruption and political reform campaigns.
The anti-graft campaign of the AAP party has been the most striking feature of the party that has attracted a fair amount of reporters standing for the elections. These people had nothing to do with politics. However, the circumstances in our country made them participate and work for the transformation.
Ashish Khetan, a former investigative journalist, is contesting from the prestigious New Delhi parliamentary constituency for the AAP. His reason for leaving journalism is the less space for independent and objective reporting in the Indian media.
Another addition to the political battle is author and former Editorial Director of India Today, MJ Akbar. Being an initial supporter of Congress, he switched to the opposition party BJP. Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor, a renowned broadcaster and journalist of BBC joined People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Rashid Rahel (Editor of Urdu daily Asian Mail) joined Awami Ithehad Party (AIP).
Shazia Ilmi (News anchor of Indian National Hindi channel), Ashish Khetan (Tehalka), Ashutosh of IBN7, Mukul Tripathi of Amar Ujala, Anita Pratap of Time magazine, Manish Sisodia of Zee News, Rakhi Bidlan, a reporter of a TV Channel, Jarnail Singh, a reporter of Hindi Newspaper joined Aam Admi Party (AAP).
On the words of Rajiv Kaushik (Media commentator), “The move into politics is a natural one for many journalists. They have played a seminal role in perhaps educating India. They now see themselves as not just reporters but shapers of policy and opinion leaders and they find it more convenient [to do] what politicians are doing.” he said.