This blog post is not about Rahul Gandhi. This post is about the media coverage (especially the english language TV media) on Rahul Gandhi, in the run-up to the recent UP elections. And by "run-up" I don't mean the last 2 months. The last one year or so.
Over time, I just tried to collect news items that essentially said "Rahul takes on Mayawati". or "Rahul tears into Mulayam" or profound journalists who said "Rahul will be seen a martyr in Bhatta-Parsaul" or NDTV which still thinks " Priyanka Gandhi, often described as an electrifying campaigner with a strong people connect, " or articles that said "Rahul Gandhi worked the hardest of all" etc.
Despite this massive campaign by the English media - Congress won just 28 seats. Despite multiple shows on Priyanka Gandhi and front page pictures of her campaign in family bastions Amethi and Rae Bareilly, Congress lost 8 of the 10 seats in these two places. Congress even lost Bhatta Parsaul.
SP won 225 seats. The win is majorly credited to Akhilesh Yadav. Only in the last 2-3 months, we have been hearing of him. Before that, it was almost as if he never existed. He started his yatra in Sept. 2011. No live coverage, no front page pictures. And today he emerged the winner.
Do you see the disconnect of this media with the ground realities then? All along it was potrated as Rahul vs Mayawati. Turns out, it was Akhilesh all the way. Rahul took responsibility for the defeat - will the English TV media take responsibility for their disconnect?
Below are links I compiled ( not exhaustive, but enough to give you a picture)
April 14, 2010 - Rahul challenges Maywati -
Apr, 2011 - Rahul steals thunder from BSP
June 2011 - Rahul dares Mayawati - http://ibnlive.in.com/news/
learn-from-haryana-rahul- dares-mayawati/166224-37-64. html
Rahul takes on Mayawati
22nd Nov - http://www.ndtv.com/article/
india/rahul-gandhi-begins-jan- sampark-yatra-takes-on- mayawati-152042
23rd Nov - http://www.ndtv.com/video/
player/news/on-day-2-of-up- yatra-rahul-gandhi-takes-on- mayawati-again/216777
13th Dec - http://www.ndtv.com/video/
player/news/rahul-gandhi- takes-on-mayawati-mulayam- singh/218359 (6:25)
28 Dec - http://ibnlive.in.com/news/
rahuls-challenge-taking- forward-antigraft-movement/ 215935-37-64.html
The campaign for UP promises to be a fiery one with the Congress and BSP leaving no stone unturned to woo voters
Jan 04 - 2012
india/rahul-gandhi-hits- campaign-mode-for-up-polls- 160725?pfrom=home-otherstories
Jan - Rahul carves out a toehold for youth
News-Feed/Chunk-HT-UI- AssemblyElections2012-Punjab- OtherStories/Rahul-carves-out- a-toehold-for-youth/Article1- 792521.aspx
Jan 11 - In Azamgarh, Rahul tears into Mulayam
story/uttar-pradesh-weaver- rahul-gandhi-central-funds- corruption/1/168201.html -
report/rahul-blames-mayawati- for-plight-of-women-in-uttar- pradesh/20120212.htm
Feb .15 - Will Rahul mantra plus Piryanka magic work?
assembly-polls/uttar-pradesh- polls-will-rahul-mantra-plus- priyanka-magic-work-176469? pfrom=home-otherstories
Feb.21 - Rahul worked the hardest