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Where is Rahul Gandhi? Still eating a scrumptious meal at pongal celebrations in Tamil Nadu? Of course, my questions should be directed at the Bharatiya Janata Party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and “AS” — initials of a person found on Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chats allegedly with former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta. But as a political analyst, all I can do is question in black and white, state facts and hope someone will read and take notice.

But outrage is strictly the opposition’s territory. If we are expected to outrage on their behalf, then India might as well be a single political party pseudo-democracy. Where are the acerbic questions from the opposition? And where’s the holier-than-thou television media, whose anchors were reading out to their viewers leaked chat messages from the phones of Rhea Chakrabarty, Deepika Padukone, Sushant Singh Rajput and others? Of course, Times Now is now running programmes on Arnab’s leaked WhatsApp chats but the coverage seems nothing more than a ‘payback’ for Arnab Goswami’s smug reference to AS (widely alleged to be Home Minister Amit Shah) calling Navika Kumar ‘Kachra’ (garbage).

With the latest revelations from the alleged WhatsApp chats of Arnab Goswami, which the Mumbai Police submitted in court along with its supplementary chargesheet in the TRP scam case, two possibilities emerge. Either the opposition in India is very shady itself, with too many skeletons in politicians’ closets. Or, in the prophetic words of Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav, who said “Congress must die”, the Congress has died.


Also read: Nation wants to know if there is more to Republic TV besides Arnab Goswami


No challenge to Arnab

The ‘prime’ ‘national’ opposition party is evidently resting in peace – or resting in pieces – and that’s why we don’t hear any outrage from anyone with decision-making powers in the party (read the Gandhis). Of course, others in the party like Prithviraj Chavan, P. Chidambaram and Manish Tewari are speaking about “ArnabGate” but then again, how much weight do they carry within the party?

In spite of the incriminating evidence against Arnab Goswami that has been exposed in these chats — for example, allegedly having prior information about the Balakot airstrikes — hardly anyone from the opposition parties has so much as even spoken about Arnab Goswami or questioned how he seemingly had military intelligence.

This is in stark contrast to the BJP when it was in opposition during the audio leaks of telephone conversations between former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, politicians and journalists in 2009. The BJP ensured that in every political rally and throughout its campaign in the run-up to 2014 Lok Sabha election, the alleged 2G scam was mentioned. It was the media conversation around the 2G scam allegations as well as the opposition’s continuous pressure that led to the arrests of DMK chief Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and former telecom minister A. Raja in 2011. And Arnab Goswami was at the heart of raising the heat on that story back then. All the accused were acquitted in 2017.

Since then, Arnab Goswami has obsessively hounded the Gandhis in his shows on Republic TV and Republic Bharat. He has left nothing to civility in insulting Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Robert Vadra and Priyanka Gandhi. And now, at his most vulnerable, exposed time, he is being allowed by the opposition to lie low, stay quiet and avoid questions on the incriminating chats.

While the Gandhis are choosing to take the high road and not ‘attack’ Arnab Goswami, the latter is not reciprocating the courtesy. A press release issued by the Republic Media Network — in response to a statement put out by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Arnab’s leaked chats – said the company was urging the Congress party “to stop working in tandem with the Government of Pakistan, consciously or unconsciously”. Obviously, Arnab is under the false impression that he represents the whole of India, which is why anyone pointing out his irresponsible chatter on military intelligence is, accoridng to him, ‘anti-India’. This delusion requires an eyeroll that lasts for an eternity.


Also read: Arnab Goswami’s attack continues. Rahul, Priyanka, where’s your ‘enough is enough’ moment?


The ‘Mahatma’ syndrome

In a parallel world, today’s Gandhis could be passed off as ‘Mahatma’ for being so non-vengeful. But it’s 2021. There’s a Ram Mandir being constructed and one of India’s top actors is asking people to donate money for it. We’ve gone through a pandemic and are rolling out vaccines that have not gone through all phases of clinical trials and we’ve almost had a war with China. Time to be a Mahatma has long gone. Michelle Obama’s ‘go high’ doesn’t quite win elections in Modi’s India.

But the Congress’s Buddha-like silence seems habitual. It is no surprise that the Congress ecosystem is riddled with lethargy. Its leaders always seem to miss striking the iron while it’s hot. When the farmer protests began to heat up, the Congress leadership was nowhere in news — and certainly not on the streets. It is only at their own time and leisure that they choose to show up – like Priyanka and Rahul did last week outside Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s official residence, “fighting” for the repeal of farm bills. Where were they for the last 50 days when farmers from various parts of the country were trying to reach Delhi to join other protesters but were stopped by the police at the borders? Those who did come out, such as party leaders in Haryana, received no attention or support.


Also read: Congress can remind voters it knows how to rule. But Rahul Gandhi must own UPA success first


The opposition’s problem

The obvious problem with the Congress is its dependence on the Gandhis to do anything and everything. Many in the Congress work to just move up the ladder within the party organisation and therefore remain politically irrelevant, while those who actually want to be politically relevant are made irrelevant within the party. This leads to everyone maintaining a stoic silence because speaking up would only lead to trouble.

There are two kinds of Congress leaders — one who is either trying to overshadow the Gandhis and another who is sucking up to them. Compare this to the BJP, which rewards anyone who contributes even a tiny bit to the party and its propaganda machinery. It’s no surprise that PM Modi follows some of the most vicious trolls and fake news peddlers on social media. All to extend his support and validate their efforts.

The media too has remained obviously quiet because in most likelihood, if one was to scratch the encrypted surface of chat messages, a lot of journalists will be unmasked as brokers trying to do “business” through their connections in the PMO, instead of journalism.

But the opposition’s silence is what allows everyone to play to their gallery. Because, sab changa si.

The author is a political observer and writer. Views are personal. 

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33 Comments Share Your Views

33 COMMENTS

  1. Nonsense article, false premise of this article. CONgress is already vehemently persecuting Arnab with over 100 FIR against Arnab in CONgress ruled maharashtra, he has been badly hounded. Stop the lies honey. Your bullshit stands exposed, you hate everything remotely Hindu.

  2. Has Shekar Gupta opened his mouth on this incident . Rahul has spoke about this multiple times , instead of questioning the accused and the ruling party , Indian media only has guts to question opposition . Whose failure is it ?

  3. Looking at the neutral-Ness of the article where writer has taken both major parties to task for their respective shortcomings, and yet the comments section below is being full of non-sensical, bigoted, hyperbole comments where people are calling her anti-bjp anti-congress anti-xyz anti-abc… Seriously no wonder why Indian comments section are the lowest quality in the world

  4. i am no fan of arnab goswami. he is brash.he is lop sided. his news hour becomes a lecture hall.
    but he is no worse than those savvy,soft spoken,gentlemanly journalists taking advantage of their proximity to ex-finance ministers and ex-chief ministers to indulge in corrupt practices.
    as regards the whatsapp chap there is nothing incriminating,criminal or illegal in it. anybody is free to file a criminal case against him.
    but i am surprised by the writing. the author raves and rants and she is seething with anger which betrays her hatred for arnab goswami whom i am sure the author does not know personally.
    why then this irrational behaviour?
    an introspection would do the author good both in her personal and professional life.

  5. So now that you realized the problem you should understand why people of India are not willing to give vote for a leader who is not even able to lead his own party. Your aversion to BJP only seems to be because they are not pandering to minoritism.

  6. Congress and all sickulars like Zainab have now found a Rafale like topic till 2024. They should milk it properly like they did with Rafale. Of course, come 2024 and Modi will be back at the helm again!! And we can now forget about farmers strike as Aranab chat will overshadow everything.

  7. It appears that this commentator is upset that the Congress and other opposition parties are not offering reward for this kind of writing! Stop supporting them -m will be our advice!

  8. who on earth wrote this @print have some SHAME. India’s security info is being leaked and you have nothing better to do than attack Gandhis. Question the Govt. in power. I am unsibscribing #PAIDMEDIA #GODIMEDIA #SHAME

    • Read the last sentence of her very first para before using hyperbole dramatic words like ‘shame’. Do you even know who’s referred as Godimedia? You should better unubscribe as reading basic English seems to defy you

  9. Will you ever have guts to report Congresses actions on the street?

    You seem to be the paid stooge of BJP masquarading as an opponent of BJP , charged with the responsibility of targeting your guns to opposition while you let the govt loose.

    • Have you even read the article properly? What’s wrong with readers these days.. You guys jump straight to comments section. Some calling her anti-bjp, some anti-congress. I am wondering i basic honest reasoning and rational thinking defy everyone these days!

  10. Barkha Dutt, in the Radia tapes doing dalali on behalf of Saint Sonia on who gets to become minister — Lutyens cabal saw nothing wrong in that. Radia tapes mysteriously disappeared. Too many libtard journalists would have been exposed as presstitutes.

    Btw, what is bothering this hack that Ram temple is finally getting constructed. And what is wrong with a leading actor making a donation?

    Remember: Under UPA Muslims had a first right on nation’s resources as piously declared by puppet PM mms — who couldn’t sleep coz’ a jihadi terrorist from India was arrested by UK. In line with that policy pappu is secretly trying to ensure Muslims get vaccinated first.

  11. All the media is like the NAAP TOL on the Tv screen, trying to sell something. Every channel without exception is trying to sell itself as being different only from REPUBLIC.
    The Radia fame Ms. Barkha, Mr. Sangvi and others did not get the same attention as Mr. Goswami. There was something known as access journalism, well documented and accepted by all the greats of the media.
    It is all money and business. Rest is hog wash.

  12. The fact of the matter is that “producing” Whats App screenshots is not rocket science. The details have to be substantiated by further evidence. Until such time all these write ups make no sense.

    • Yeah they should have an evidence where Arnab Goswami can be heard saying ‘this is not a morphed video, I am a traitor and I stoop to low standards. Arrest me”.. Only that will count as evidence according to your logic while the govt may choose to ignore taking any action even then

  13. The fact of the matter is that “producing” WhatsApp screenshots is not rocket science. The details have to be substantiated by further evidence. Until such time all these write ups make no sense.

  14. Congress, Communists, Liberals all seem to be confused what hit them, nothing seems to be going their way and they don’t know any other way other than fueling protests or crying in journals on democracy and democratic values just because they are not getting what they want. Funny group confused with their own logics,

  15. Zainab Sikander is highlighting hand invglove arrangements and expressing some outrage at arnabs access to govt. But access is how business is done differently. Also there is some hitting below yhe belt in this article by saying that “ BJP rewards anyone who contributes to propaganda machinery” and PM follows these same people. Politics is a business of perception and hence its very much acceptable to paint the opposition in a certain way in vote building process. The Print editor needs to know that this language is unacceptable in professional journalism and Zainab can complain about personal anguishes with BJP and “ bhatks” to her fellow friends. We are here to read worthy content that defines current domestic politics and its effects on change. Authors like Zainab need to understand that we are not dumb and if they are frustrated about Modi- Shah grip then they must publish articles of why ‘the chamchas’ of congress are aiding it.

  16. What is issue that Begum Saiba has with an actor asking people to donate for the Ram Temple? The mosque will also be built with donations too.

  17. PRINT …. After few days it’s may clear as fake revenge of Mumbai police … So is fake chat leak ka adhik shor sharaba machana sabke liye poty muh me lagane ke barabar reh jayega …

    • Sir aap de do fir koi asli proof ka.. Police to bevakoof hai, jo court me fake whatsapp chat submit karegi.. But yeah since your godfather Arnab has said that Congress has joined hands with Pakistan to target the govt., there must be a CBI enquiry into Congress-Pakistan nexus… Nation wants to know 🙂

  18. Muslims crying about shunning Mahathma Gandhi principles!! Ok now Gandhi of no use to Muslims, they want to create Islamic Pakistan, they got in 1947 with Gandhi help , now no use of Gandhi , they want violent Jihad

  19. Through this article you have tried to attack only at Congress. The Telegraph did a better job by writing the entire conversation with time logs which enabled readers to understand that Arnab was celebrating Pulwama attack and was in the know of Balakot Air strikes well before they took place. At least readers whatever numbers could know. The Simply criticizing the opposition to whom we have not given any support by keeping them in reasonably good numbers in Parliament, we ourselves are responsible for weakening our democratic system. A very strong government and a very weak opposition is our our own responsibility for Autocracy.

    • A excessively strong govt can be our responsibility, but a weak opposition is not.. Opposition is weak because it’s weak, a that’s why they are not government. Nothing more to read into it

  20. The author has it both ways. When non-Gandhis in the Congress speak up, he says they are nobody, then he says no one who matters in the Congress is speaking up.

  21. Jihadist posing as journalist must focus on the real issues.

    While HINDU population is reducing, a community who is obsessed with religion is witnessing huge population growth .

    This community and few intellectuals within the community should focus on educating the community to focus on modern education and have one child per family.

    • Will you ever have guts to report Congresses actions on the street?

      You seem to be the paid stooge of BJP masquarading as an opponent of BJP , charged with the responsibility of targeting your guns to opposition while you let the govt loose.

  22. until bjp is at centre, no one can do anything against the bhakts, not even the opposition parties… they’ll but surely reap what they sow and that day for sure will come.. and what we see as hard or bad rulers is a result created by we ourselves… had we the public respected our religious practices alive as no bribery, no liquor, respect for women, due respect for animals, always speak truth, stay away from all sorts wrong goings… we’d surely have had good rulers…. but in our country,!!! ONly way to improve the current condition is to have a military rule imposed and that too for atleast 10 yrs. and see how things would be in public favor, cleansing of all political parties, be it muslim, non muslim parties…total failure of democracy in our country…..

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