This Journalist Tells Us What It’s Really Like to Interview Modi

Bobby Naqvi’s experience of meeting Modi is a starkly different one from what Arnab Goswami would have us believe.

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Journalist Bobby Naqvi with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/bobby.naqvi/posts/10153895254152830">Bobby Naqvi’s Facebook page</a>.)

Everybody has pretty much said what they had to say about the much hyped interview of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.

There was a lot of backlash, anger and sarcasm pouring in from all quarters. This journalist, however, has something else to add to the discussion.

In a Facebook post titled “Meeting the PM”, Bobby Naqvi recounts the experience of interviewing Modi, from a starkly different perspective than what Goswami would have us believe.

According to this UAE-based journalist, arranging for an interview with Mr Modi “can be a long drawn and cumbersome process.”

Naqvi who got the opportunity to meet Modi last year, ahead of his visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE), narrates the entire process of finally getting to meet Modi.

The process, both bumpy and disappointing, started off with persistent emails on behalf of Naqvi to bureaucrats.

I received a call from a very senior official saying: “Bobby, I have good news and bad news. Which one you want to hear first?” I didn’t know what to say. Before I could speak, he said that the “PM has agreed”. Then he mentioned two other publications would also be present. I was hugely disappointed as it was no longer an exclusive interview.

The dismay he felt upon hearing this news, was only a start.

What followed was an instruction to “send questions for prior approval”. This isn’t entirely surprising knowing Modi ji’s stance towards journalists and his history of desisting from talking to “bazaaru” media.

The next shocker was being told that his “photographer would not be allowed and that pictures would be taken by the PM’s official photographer.”

After tense conversations, he was permitted to take the photographer along, but with one condition – he will only spend five minutes inside.

He also recieved “polite but firm” directions from an official informing them of the “order of the interview”.

As the day of interview finally arrived, an anti-climax was awaiting Naqvi.

Another shocker – that I can ask only one question and answers to my remaining questions would be provided in writing after the meeting. 

He ends his narration exclaiming that he wasn’t surprised when he read that questions for the Times Now interview were sought in advance.

While the post seems like an honest confession, has it deepened concerns about Modi’s disdain for the media?

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