How Newspapers Covered the BJP’s Maharashtra ‘Coup’
Here’s what the top newspapers had to say about the late-night, high-drama political developments in Maharashtra.
On Saturday, 23 November, the BJP took the opposition as well as the nation by surprise when Devendra Fadnavis took oath as Chief Minister of Maharashtra in the wee hours of the morning.
This even before newspapers, which were printed the previous day, had reached people’s doorsteps. Almost all of them had a front page headline that said that Uddhav Thackeray was becoming Maharashtra’s next chief minister. So, how did the newspapers cover the BJP’s coup Sunday morning? Let’s take a look.
The Telegraph: ‘We The Idiots’
Living up to its reputation of scathing headlines, The Telegraph went with ‘We The Idiots’ as its front-page anchor. The two articles that followed described how the BJP ‘snatched’ the reins of Maharashtra from the Sena-Congress-NCP combine, helped along by alleged subterfuge on the part of Ajit Pawar.
It then went on to describe the events of the day, wherein the NCP first distanced itself from Ajit, how Sena-Congress-NCP approached the Supreme Court, and how almost 40 of the flock of 54 NCP MPs that went with Ajit, had returned to Sharad Pawar by the end of the day.
The other article described how the Sena and NCP were helping each other keep their flocks together.
Times of India: ‘The Real Day-Night Test Is In Mumbai’
The Times of India had fun with wordplay on the ongoing India-Bangladesh day-night Test match. They also said that this was a ‘pink ball no one saw coming’, referring to the late-night developments that led to Fadnavis being sworn in as chief minister.
The paper also detailed how Ajit Pawar’s back-channel talks with the BJP had started from Friday evening.
The Indian Express: ‘While You Were Sleeping’
The Indian Express headlined their front-page with “While You Were Sleeping” referring to how the developments literally took place while the world (and the opposition) slept.
The front page explored all the major events of the day, like Ajit Pawar being sworn in as deputy CM, then being removed as the legislative party leader of the NCP, and the Sena-NCP-Congress going to the Supreme Court.
Hindustan Times: ‘Maharashtra Drama Continues: Fadnavis Is CM, Ajit His Deputy’
The Hindustan Times decided to go with a more subdued headline, stating just the fact that Fadnavis had become CM, while Ajit Pawar was sworn in as his deputy.
It then detailed the presidential order that set the events of the day in motion, the split in the NCP’s first family, the emergence of Ajit Pawar as an individual leader, and the math that will now go into who forms the next government in Maharashtra.
Asian Age: ‘WTFadnavis’
The Asian Age headline was the most ‘millennial’ of the lot with the paper deciding to play on the term ‘WTF’ for its front-page anchor.
The rest of the front page, apart from describing the events of the day, also pointed out that before the floor test, it is the election of the Assembly Speaker that will determine who has the numbers. It also spoke about the dynamics within the Pawar family and also how this is a replay of a manoeuvre that Sharad Pawar himself had employed in 1978 to become chief minister.
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