Monday, April 7, 2014

Scare mongering by Indian media...

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:

“HATE SPEECH” screamed the ‘Breaking News’. The usual suspects jumped in immediately.
The Honourable Salil Tripathi:
Media deliberately misinterprets Amit Shah, maligns Modi campaign
The venerable Rana Ayyub:
Media deliberately misinterprets Amit Shah, maligns Modi campaign
Respected N Ram:
Recent developments, including the Parivar’s highly communal campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Amit Shah’s inflammatory rhetoric addressing a Jat audience, are intimations that the BJP, “the most prominent member” of the family of Hindutva organisations, is not about to change its spots.
The one, the only, Sagarika Ghose:
Media deliberately misinterprets Amit Shah, maligns Modi campaign
If you notice, the above snippets have links from The Hindu, The Indian Express and The Times of India. Essentially everyone jumped in telling us that Amit Shah told this to the Jats of Muzzafarnagar, in the most inflammatory tone ever possible, “You need to take revenge for your insult. Vote for BJP, so that we will take revenge.”
If he actually said that, you might ask, is not inflammatory. I agree with you totally. But let’s take a look at what he actually said. The image below is the exact Hindi transcript of what Amit Shah said.
Media deliberately misinterprets Amit Shah, maligns Modi campaign
If you think the above tweets don’t reflect the truth, please watch the video here put up on IBN.
I don’t think Sagarika Ghose watches IBN at all! Her own channel’s website carries out a video, but she links The Indian Express’s article to make her point. Earlier too, she lied that Modi did not take any question on a program conducted by her on channel, whilst he took multiple questions!
Anyways, coming back to the point – the English translation of what Amit Shah said reads:
People feel insulted in the entire UP. They have been treated as second class citizens. There is a feeling that justice has not been done. And the way to take revenge is not through swords and bullets, but by pressing the button. Press the right button and show them their right place.”
The context of swords and bullets came in because of the recent communal strife. He asked them NOT to wield swords but to use the ballot. In what possible way, does this even sound inflammatory? Why does Sagarika Ghose find this “SCARY”? Politicians are now not supposed to use alliterations? Such honours are reserved only for ‘intellectuals’ of a certain hue? These same folks urge people to go out and vote to send a message. These same folks tell us that vote is the most powerful weapon. Should we castigate them for the usage of the word weapon? That’s how ridiculous their argument is!
“Amit Shah stirs controversy” screamed the headlines – the talking heads of TV studios are not capable of realising that it is THEY who have created the controversy and not Amit Shah. In a brazen attempt to polarise the electorate, to win TRP ratings and to whip up passions, large sections of the Indian media have created a dangerous controversy to scare people of a certain community. Yes, make no mistake, this is a shameless attempt by the Indian media to polarise and scare people. Nothing less! Any amount of ‘we were merely reporting’ does not wash away this sin of theirs. They gave a weapon to the Congress party, which as always, has pounced upon this opportunity. There are talks that Amit Shah might be arrested. If that happens, nothing else is more shameful. Of course, the usual suspects will celebrate, for their mission to create and spread hatred has been accomplished.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"New Low"

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference

The harbinger of morality in the Indian Media, Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief of CNN-IBN, tweets on March 29 in response to Narendra Modi’s interview with Madhu Kishwar onNews X.
Rajdeep Sardesai hits new low, tastes sour grapes
I wonder whether the ‘outrage’ industry on twitter will today comment on the ultimate ‘fixed’ iview? A new low in journalism.”
He justifies his strong characterisation of this interview as a “new low in journalism” by his another tweet:
Rajdeep Sardesai hits new low, tastes sour grapes
That’s like a @jhasanjay iviewing Rahul! Atleast Sanjay is an official Cong spokesperson!
So, why is he so piqued? To those who follow Madhu Kishwar on twitter and to those who read her blog, it is quite evident that she is an ardent supporter of Modi’s governance. She is also a journalist, and other journalists have often asked her on twitter how come she tweets so much in support of Narendra Modi, as if it is a crime to do so. The venerable Shri Bhupendra Chaube once asked her if she took upon herself to promote Modi!
It is in this background that Rajdeep Sardesai is angry, perhaps unable to tolerate this “new low in journalism”. Rajdeep’s critique of this being the “ultimate fixed iview” would have been valid, if this was the ‘only’ interview Modi ever gave to the media. If this was to be the ‘only’ interview that Modi gave after 10 years of continuous demands by the media, then I would have stood by Rajdeep and congratulated him for his bravado in calling out the “ultimate fixed interview”.
But the facts show otherwise. Instead of reeling out data on number of interviews given by Modi, let’s focus only on CNN-IBN. After 2009, Narendra Modi has given 3 interviews to CNN-IBN or associated networks. The first one was to Veer Raghav during the Sadbhavana fast in 2011. In fact, this link on DeshGujarat website  has the videos of all Modi’s interviews. The second one was to Rajdeep Sardesai during the 2012 election in Gujarat. The third one was to Rajdeep’s boss, Raghav Bahl, at the Network 18 summit, Think India .
Immediately after the summit in which Narendra Modi answered a various questions on Centre-State relations, FDI, foreign trade, privatisation of PSUs, labour reforms, land acquisition, defence equipment manufacturing, his message to the youth; Deputy Editor of CNN-IBN blatantly lies on twitter by asking :
Why didn’t Modi stay and take any questions? Was he afraid of another India Today conclave situation?
The harbinger of morality, Mister Rajdeep Sardesai somehow did not think that this was a “new low in journalism” when his own Deputy Editor put out such a blatant lie in open to defame Modi. A clarification came from Sagarika later that she meant that he should have taken more questions. He was there for as long as he could be, but this ilk is just never satisfied.
Or, let’s sample Rajdeep’s interview of Modi during the 2012 election. Here’s a chance to talk to Modi on many topics. Instead, what is the focus of Rajdeep’s questioning? Relentlessly he asks – Why did you drag in Sonia Gandhi’s name? Why? Why? Why? Then the question about PM candidature. The exact same question that Veer Raghav put out in 2011. Only focus when Modi was interviewed – will you apologise for 2002? Who is the PM candidate of your party? When given a chance, the ilk of Rajdeep Sardesai puts excessive focus on a current event and misses out speaking to him on his governance of 12 years. And when someone else does that, he finds it a “new low“!
New low in journalism” was when Sagarika Ghose lied to her audience on a show that Sri Sri RaviShankar was live with her when she was bombarding him with “Sri Sri – respond to that” when she knew he could not as he was not live. “New low” is not when one of the myriad interviews that Narendra Modi gives to a journalist who also happens to be a fan of his work. “New low” is the veiled propaganda one runs in the garb of being neutral. Am I using strong words? Absolutely not! I am merely paraphrasing what Rajdeep has writtenrecently:
“…the fact is that while our political class has lost its nerve, a number of us in the media have also lost our moral compass and worryingly, our credibility.”
“Worse, there is the regressive trend of projecting blatantly partisan agendas as ‘independent’ news and views. Many of us are no longer true to our calling: we peddle half-truths, and, at times, downright sensationalism…”
When the “evil trolls” on twitter use the exact same language; they are derided. Peddling half-truths is the “new low” that Rajdeep never called out, sometimes on his own channel and by his own Editors. Yesterday, ETV telecasted an interview with Narendra Modi . The interview had details about various aspects of his governance model; it discussed aspirations and fears; it discussed ideas and implementations. If the ilk of Rajdeep were to interview Modi today, there will be excessive focus on ‘treatment to seniors’, 2002 riots, Kejriwal’s barbs etc. An occasional question might be thrown in about governance here and there – and the Modi-bashing will continue.
Sagarika Ghose asks 10 random questions on twitter, and rues continuously that those questions were not answered. She doesn’t utter a word, when Modi speaks on various facets to other channels. When questioned as to the excessive number of interviews with Arvind Kejriwal on NDTV, Barkha Dutt responds back by saying that nothing is stopping the other contenders from being approachable to the media – Modi doesnt’ entertain NDTV – that does not mean he doesn’t talk to the media as a whole. But that’s the narrative these people would like to spin – You are a brave politician if and only if you speak to me. Else, it’s a “new low”.

Focussing on irrelevant issues...

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:

Last evening, Times Now aired an interview of Rajnath Singh with Arnab Goswami. Arnab asked authoritatively, “There is this perception that the BJP has become a one-man party.” Rajnath Singh nods his head indicating that this is false. Arnab continues, “Everyone is saying so; every single newspaper in the country and every single news channel in the country. Is everybody wrong?
Arnab Goswami will find it hard to believe that ‘everybody’ of his ilk can be and have been wrong. ‘Every single newspaper in the country and every single news channel in the country’ told us that Modi cannot be the Prime Ministerial candidate for multiple reasons. But ‘every single’ such reason stands invalid now, and the surge we are witnessing right now is unbelievable. The arrogance of likes of Arnab in raking up such arguments merely to grab attention instead of focussing on real issues is simply astounding! Why is this argument being peddled now? Because, a few seniors have been snubbed! At one point of time, journalists of his ilk even demanded that the people beyond a certain age should not be allowed to contest. And today, when the BJP is exploring such options to achieve the same, they find it questionable?
Couple of days back, I was watching CNN-IBN. The promo of ‘Talking Point at 9 with Rajdeep Sardesai’ was on air. The ‘talking point’ for that day was about fissures in the BJP. Why are there talks of fissures? Just because Rajnath Singh tweeted, saying, “Time for change, Time for BJP.” He did not tweet the exact English translation of ‘Abki baar, Modi sarkar’. Haww! There is no mention of Modi, so it is a blow to Modi! How is a vote for the BJP, not a vote for Modi or vice-versa? The Hindi ads of the BJP also ask us to vote for the BJP. Does it mean that even those ads expose the divide in the BJP? When will our media get real? When will they stop peddling such unadulterated crap to the viewer/reader in the guise of reporting with analysis? I thought that this was an aberration limited to IBN. But this was The Hindu’s front page story next day.
   Media all for AAP, Congress; targets BJP
Why there is this desperation in the Indian media to indicate that the BJP is screwed up big time? It is simply astonishing to note that our media invents a non-issue and makes it the ‘talking point’ of the day. Speaking of talking points, we must discuss the entire Pramod Muthalik episode that dominated media space. Pramod Muthalik shot into fame in 2008, when the organisation he heads, Sri Rama Sene went to a pub in Mangalore and beat up some women in the pub. The visuals were quite shocking, and the police arrested Muthalik The dirty tricks department of the Congress and the media started associating Sri Rama Sene with the BJP. The fact was that Sri Rama Sene put up candidates against the BJP in the 2008 Assembly elections.
Let’s fast forward to 2014, Pramod Muthalik was admitted into the BJP by the Karnataka State unit. Within minutes, there was widespread outrage. Not just in media, but even on social media platforms. Various supporters of the Party expressed their displeasure with this act of the BJP. Within few hours, the feedback went to the national headquarters of the BJP and the induction of Pramod Muthalik was set aside by the central leadership. This incident also proved that many vocal supporters of the BJP are also quite vocal in opposing decisions that will affect the Party. The central leadership was receptive to this feedback and within few hours, this crisis was resolved. The outrage was justified, and the resolution ensured that the Party is not affected.
So far, so good but the very next day, another accused in the same pub attack case and a former counsel to the same Sri Rama Sene party joined the Congress. The outrage in the main stream media was nowhere close to what it was when Muthalik was induced into the BJP. The Congress too reversed this decision within hours, but it was astounding as how they took him into the party even after the Muthalik fiasco. And even more astounding was the dull reaction of the main stream media!
If you follow the Indian media, you will find that there are only two major players in this election, the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party. According to the media, the BJP is plagued with so many problems that it is unimaginable as how it will manage to come to power but the AAP is simply awesome; there are absolutely no issues with it. Even if there are, media finds them routine issues which happen in any party. For example, if leaders vie for tickets in the BJP, it is a blow to the BJP but when same thing happens in the AAP, it is portrayed by the media as a normal practice. There is little or no focus on the misrule of the Congress party! Why there is too much focus only on the minor problems within the BJP? Why only in case of the BJP, there is so much made out of nothing?

Chiru's comic tragedy

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.

During the debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, the Union Minister Chiranjeevi launched an attack on his own high command. He said that they were not even consulted; their ideas were not even considered, much less implemented; they were not given even an iota of respect. And after that he continued to enjoy the perks of his office.
Two days back, Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced the setting up two PCCs for Telangana and Seemandhra. Chiranjeevi, for his sterling performance in the Rajya Sabha, was rewarded with the post of “Chairman of Campaign Committee” in Seemandhra! What will he campaign about? That despite being insulted, he continues to prostrate before power and the people of Seemandhra should respect that? That despite being sidelined and looked down upon, he continues to remain loyal to Sonia Gandhi and therefore, the people of Seemandhra (SA) should also place trust in the Congress?
Will he tell the people, “Hey look, Congress screwed you. I agree with you. But still give Congress a chance”? Because this is how ridiculous this appointment is. Every single Union Minister who opposed the Bill and stayed back in the Congress are members of the campaign committee – I am dying to see what their campaign strategy will be. What these appointments also reveal are the dangerous games that Sonia Gandhi played. If these Ministers and public representatives were serious about stopping bifurcation, they would not be prostrating before the party as they are doing now.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy announced the setting up of a new party. The announcement must have been one of the dampest squibs ever. Only a handful of MPs and MLAs tagged along with him for this party. After the bifurcation is done, many of them don’t see value in still fighting for a united State cause. Nevertheless, Kiran Kumar Reddy has filed a case in the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the decision. The SC has sent notices to the Government and right now, we are not sure when the case will be taken up. The public meeting held on March 12 where he launched the flag of the party, Kiran Kumar Reddy also harped on the case of the breaking of the Berlin Wall.
Chiranjeevi’s brother, Pawan Kalyan, who has a sizeable following in the youth, is all set to announce his political party, Jana Sena Party (JSP) tomorrow. It remains to be seen what exactly the plans of this party are, this close to elections. Quite obviously, it will be a Herculean task to identify and put up candidates in all constituencies of the State. It is also unclear as to how much dent he will make into the votes of other bigger parties. We have already seen how disastrous Chiranjeevi has been. It remains to be seen if his younger brother will also be a disaster or not. Prior to the setting up of the Praja Rajyam Party in 2008, Pawan Kalyan pompously announced the setting up of a “Common Man Protection Force”. After that he did nothing about it, and it faded into oblivion. Will this become another such failed experiment – we have to wait and watch.
However, the most stressed out lot in Andhra Pradesh are the Government employees. The Supreme Court is insisting on conducting elections to municipal bodies on March 30. The State Election Commission and all political parties are pleading for postponing these election in view of the general election. In fact, the State Election Commissioner has directly blamed the Congress Government for this utter chaos – he said that the Government simply did not care to conduct elections despite repeated requests. This is also exam season and so, the Government has to ensure the safe conduct. And then there is the preparation for the general election. And above all – the bifurcation process has to completed by the June 1. Never before have so many critical and important events been scheduled at the same time. The utter inefficiency of the Congress Government is evident clearly now. Come June, it will be a good riddance to the people of the State that the Congress will no longer be in power.

Bankruptcy of Congress thought process...

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.

“Where the overall economic situation of the area/society better – conditions of Muslims are also better”.
You would assume that this statement was made either by the BJP, Narendra Modi or some supporter of Narendra Modi. Because this has been one of their key arguments all along. But the above statement came from Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who belongs to the Congress! The irony of this statement is so stark – the same Congress that seeks to segregate the Muslims as a vote-bank and keep them backward so that they can use it in elections, now has a Union Minister neatly implying that focus on overall situation, Muslims will automatically get better!
This statement was in response to a query posed by Rahul Kanwal on a chat show on AAJ TAK. Rahul Kanwal got Jairam Ramesh and Amit Shah on a panel to discuss about the Gujarat Model. And as always the discussion veered to the state of Muslims in Gujarat. At this point, Rahul Kanwal cited data from Sachchar Committee report that Muslims in Gujarat are in a better state. And then Jairam Ramesh made the above statement (at 10:37 in this video) clearly validating what Narendra Modi has been saying all along! Would it be a fair assumption to make now that the where the Muslims have fared badly, the overall economic situation is also bad, and therefore one cannot segregate the two?
The chat show is interesting on many levels, because it also exposes the vacuum in the Congress’s campaign strategy. Amit Shah was talking about the 24×7 electricity to villages, road connectivity to 98 per cent of villages, building of schools etc. Jairam Ramesh suddenly interferes and says this (at 4:40 in this video). “But this is all commercial”! He actually used the word “commercial” to describe building of roads, buildings, and supply of electricity! Is this how our Rural Development Minister thinks? That providing better infrastructure to rural areas is a “commercial” activity?
And of course, there has to be a discussion on 2002 riots. Jairam Ramesh refutes the clean chit given by SIT by claiming to be reading from the SIT report itself! He picks up a paper, saying that he bought along the SIT report along with him, and read out thus at 2:20 in this video:
“The SIT has held, while there is evidence, that many allegations are true and correct, in its own assessment, this evidence is not prosecutable.” I transcribed exactly what he told, and then pasted it on Google. Because I read the SIT report and don’t recollect seeing this. And guess what the first site Google showed up? Teesta Setalvad’s website with the exact same wording. Exact same words. Second link is an article by Sitaram Yechury with the exact same words. It looks like Jairam Ramesh merely printed from one of these blogs and read it out at this forum as if this is the truth. I’d urge the reader to go through the preliminary report of SIT here, and the final report of the SIT here. An earlier series of blog posts summarises the findings for easier reading. All the allegations have been refuted in a detailed investigation. If we were to believe the likes of Jairam Ramesh, then the gospel truth has to be Teesta Setalvad’s blogs and not the actual report itself!
This whole approach of the Congress reeks so much of the bankruptcy of their thought process. Equating infrastructure to being commercial in nature; continuing to spread lies on riots; continuing to stress on 25 year old “achievements” of Rajiv Gandhi; failure to engage in a healthy and informed discourse – all this will hurt the party a lot, there is little doubt about it. The media also has to take part blame for the fall in discourse. Sample this interview itself – Rahul Kanwal, despite getting a detailed clarification from Narendra Modi himself on malnutrition in Gujarat, brings up the 2011 figure in this interview again! While expectedly, Amit Shah has explained that efforts to improve are ongoing, the twist lies in Jairam Ramesh saying (at 8:30 of this video) that there are improvements happening to social indicators in Gujarat too!