Tuesday, 25 January, 2022
HomeOpinionTele-scopeNot just Scindia’s BJP move, TV channels also kept a tab on...

Not just Scindia’s BJP move, TV channels also kept a tab on Rahu kaal, muhurta, Range Rover

Republic TV didn't let go the car with Scindia-Amit Shah in it out of its sight. ABP News gushed over BJP's ‘foolproof planning’. It was gala coverage.

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This is the story of ‘Maharaj’ and the distance he travelled from the Congress to the BJP.

Above all, it is the story of a car.

Not just any old car, mind you; it is a sleek, black Range Rover, owned by Jyotiraditya Scindia, who completed 18 years in the Congress – as news channels repeatedly reminded us – before switching over to the BJP, on Holi.

This vehicle played a starring role in television news coverage of the “revolt” (Mirror Now), the “mutiny” (News X) by Rahul Gandhi’s “loyalist” and most trusted lieutenant (CNN News18).

When that Range Rover turned into the gates of the BJP headquarters Wednesday, it delivered the Congress “star” to his tryst with the new kamal in his life (the other being, of course, his Congress rival Kamal Nath).

Scindia stepped out of the car, under a mandap, and took his first steps towards the BJP – with reporters and photographers jostling to capture his “historic” (NDTV India) “memorable ghar wapsi” (Aaj Tak).

Over the last two days, the Range Rover has signaled his political moves.

Also read: It’s ghar wapsi for Jyotiraditya Scindia, and we welcome him wholeheartedly: Shivraj Chouhan

One stubborn beast

For more than two hours, Wednesday, TV channels trained cameras on the vehicle as it stood, nonchalantly, in his driveway. “Scindia will join BJP at 12.30 pm,” said CNN News18 at 11.30 am; the car “can leave any time,” announced ABP News at 12 noon; Scindia’s “entry” into the BJP is “0.24.23 minutes away,” revealed Zee News at 12.01.47 pm with the precision timing one only expects of space missions.

Total News said the Range Rover — with Scindia in it — had to traverse 14 km to reach the BJP HQ – “how long that takes depends on when he leaves,” it told us, quite unnecessarily. Idly, it looked for Scindia’s driver.

But the Range Rover was one stubborn beast — the minutes ticked over but it refused to budge.

TV anchors caught a cold – no, not the coronavirus variety but the cold that comes from anxiety: “Scindia set to join BJP at 12.30 pm?” asked Republic TV, “Scindia MLAs wary?”; “Scindia to form a new party?” wondered Aaj Tak.

No reply was forthcoming.

While they waited for the driver, Scindia, and their departure, the news channels turned to another vehicle which was ready to depart: buses commandeered by the Congress for “political tourism” of its 90-odd Madhya Pradesh MLAs (TV9 Bharatvarsh).

NDTV’s reporter will win an Olympic gold for climbing up the side of the bus, and hanging in there long enough to interview an MLA – “We’re going to visit Jaipur,” he explained like any wide-eyed sightseeing tourist.

Also read: Scindia gets drenched in saffron on Holi & BJP opens doors for ‘refugees’ of rival parties

Rahu kaal and then the crossover

Back at the Scindia homestead, the Range Rover was still standing by.

At 12.50 pm came the news: Scindia’s induction into the BJP had been “postponed”. Before conspiracy theorists could get started, we were told the “muhurta was not right (CNN News18).

NDTV said Scindia was waiting for “rahu kaal” to end – did it mean “Rahul kaal” had to pass first? The new “auspicious timing” was 2 pm-2.30 pm, added India TV.

At about 2.15 pm, there was sudden commotion, and TV reporters were in a frenzy: finally, as NDTV put it, “Scindia leaves Congress for BJP”. TV news reporters raced behind the Range Rover, helpfully, pointing out the landmarks — Defence Colony, Deendayal Upadhyay Marg… (News X).

The drive was accompanied by momentous announcements: “The big crossover is moments away…” (NDTV 24×7); “Scindia to join BJP soon” (CNN News 18); “Scindia BJP entry” (Republic TV); “BJP ke Scindia” (News 24); “Auspicious time to join arrives” (Aaj Tak).

Finally, the BJP office appeared and Scindia entered the BJP.

Also read: The many hurdles Jyotiraditya Scindia faces in BJP before he can fulfil his dreams

No leaving the Range Rover

The Range Rover was also Tuesday’s newsmaker. But it had to briefly share the limelight with a white SUV. It is this white creature which interrupted everyone’s Holi celebrations when news channels caught it approaching Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official residence: ‘Times Now scoop’ ‘#CongPoachesCong’, ‘MP political crisis’ (India Today), ‘#ScindiaDumpsGandhis’, ‘Ghar Wapsi’ (Aaj Tak).

This white SUV with Home Minister Amit Shah in it was caught on TV camera as reporters rushed to keep up with the car – “who was sitting in the car?” asked India News; “Amit Shah and Scindia with him,” replied an excited Aaj Tak reporter. “BJP mein ‘all is well’,” said India TV as the car raced towards Race Course Road. “This photo is the biggest political statement,” it added. “Scindia is no longer in Congress, he is in BJP.”

The car emerged soon after 12.15 pm.

Republic TV followed it only to find Scindia missing: the detective in the reporter was mystified: “(he left) with Shah but when he (Shah) got home, there was no Scindia,” he said.

“(Scindia) was dropped at The Lodhi hotel, he was accompanied to Gujarat Bhavan and is now going home,” reported ABP News. “Look at the foolproof planning of the BJP,” it exulted.

We then saw the black Range Rover with Scindia in the driver’s seat: “He has washed his hands of Congress,” observed Aaj Tak. politically correct in this time of coronavirus. “Torpedoed MP Govt and Cong,” added Times Now along the way.

Scindia drove home. And, the only time he spoke to reporters was when he alighted the Range Rover at his residence. “Happy Holi, Happy Holi,” he murmured and disappeared inside his home.

The next time we saw him was Wednesday, In the backseat of the black beast on his way to join the BJP.

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