Mr PM, Your TV Pals Forgot Ethics in Covering Priyanka’s Elevation

‘Facts & journalistic ethics did not matter,’ says @Raghav_Bahl on TV anchors messing with Priyanka Gandhi’s entry.

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Prime Minister Modi has not coined a political acronym for a while now. Instead, his style is becoming more alliterative. There is a play on “M” with the battle between a Mazboot (strong, action-oriented, his own) vs Majboor (weak, constrained, Congress-led) government.

But there is a third, unspoken “M” – ie, Magroor (arrogant, condescending) – that is on display every evening on Modi’s hand-picked TV channels where news anchors and BJP spokesmen compete with each other to shout, scream, smear and sneer (you see, two guys can play the alliteration game!).

Now last week, a young lady called Priyanka Gandhi stormed into this cozy world of “The 3 Ms”, leaving them muddled and muddied (heck, what’s it with my “Ms” today?).

Congress Turns Mazboot From Majboor?

Suddenly, the Majboor Congress was on the front foot. It wanted to reclaim its 2009 electoral success (just one general election prior to the black swan poll of 2014), when it got 20 percent of the vote and 21 seats (the second highest at that time) in UP, 15 of which were won in East UP.

The Congress party was looking aggressive, sounding confident.

After all, opinion polls are already showing a six percentage points’ swing in Congress’s favour in UP, up to 12 percent; with a little more gumption, Priyanka Gandhi could get the extra eight points required to hit the 2009 threshold. Here’s another cheeky thought – what if Priyanka were to open her first rally speech in Lucknow with “How’s the josh (spirit)?”, stealing Modi’s Uri (the film)-inspired punch line? Imagine if thousands of young voices were to respond with “High, ma’am”. Wouldn’t Congress then be on Mazboot ground, dispelling BJP’s showpiece nationalism?

BJP Turns Majboor From Mazboot?

Sumitra Mahajan, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, became the epitome of BJP’s panic. By virtue of her office, she is supposed to be non-partisan. Like Caesar’s wife, she has to be seen to be neutral.

Therefore, she should not have – actually, cannot – indulge in open and blatant politics.

Rahul has accepted that he can’t do politics all alone and, therefore, he is taking help from Priyanka. It’s a big matter for me that Rahul has finally understood that he can’t handle (the responsibilities).
Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of the Lok Sabha
Mahajan’s was an astonishing political indiscretion. And as per form, Yogi Adityanath jumped in with the kayo punch, saying “Rahul+Priyanka is equal to zero+zero”. I think he forgot his elementary lesson in Vedic mathematics, since “zero” is claimed to be India’s ingenious contribution to the sciences. What’s more, he mistakenly used the “+/plus” sign; actually, Priyanka Gandhi has come in to “divide” the BJP’s strength. Now you know what happens when you divide with zero, right, Yogiji? The answer is infinity, ie inestimable strength.

The Jittery Abuse on TV Channels

So, trapped in confusion, consternation and chaos (oh no, one more alliteration), BJP spokesmen amped up their vitriol, trying to pass off jittery abuse as counter-aggression. And quickly on cue, their hand-picked TV channels and anchors joined in the chorus.

Facts did not matter. Journalistic ethics did not matter. There was no attempt to analyse this politically significant event. Rahul Gandhi had just delivered a crushing 3-0 blow to Modi in the Hindi Heartland, yet he was repeatedly called a loser. Every opinion poll is showing a near double-digit swing in favour of the Congress, but the party is still “desperate” to save itself.

Even after five years of Modi rule, not a single FIR has been filed against Priyanka’s husband, yet he was called corrupt.

I would just warn the rulers to be aware of the perils of history. The Janata government’s Shah Commission resurrected Indira Gandhi in 1980. The Vajpayee government’s India Shining campaign rejuvenated Sonia Gandhi’s Congress in 2004. Now, the Modi government’s abusive television henchmen will bring Rahul Gandhi’s Congress roaring back to life. Mark my words.

Dear Prime Minister Modi, the least you can do is choose intelligent propagandists!

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