Sachin Pilot
File photo | Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot shows his ink-marked finger after voting for the state Assembly elections, in Jaipur | PTI
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If anyone has been “grounded” (India Today), “ejected” (CNN News18) and had its “wings clipped” (Times Now), it is India’s leading news channels. In their own aviation language, they took off with Sachin Pilot on Sunday, were flying all over the place with the story of his departure from the Congress, Monday and Tuesday, only to be brought down to earth Wednesday morning when Pilot was still undecided about his destination — the BJP, in most channels’ opinion.

Besides, the analogy is all wrong: the only glimpse we have enjoyed of Pilot since Sunday was of him driving his sleek, black car apparently out of Jyotiraditya Scindia’s house in New Delhi after a “40-minute meeting” with the BJP leader (India Today), much to the delight of the news channels, which saw Congress losing another bright young leader – and probably a government too.

By then, news channels had informed us that disagreements with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had finally driven the former deputy chief minister out of Jaipur along with a number of equally resentful MLAs — and they have been parked in Delhi or Haryana since then, defying summons to two-party meetings.

And, by the way, the only mode of transport that has played an active role in the ‘Gehlot v/s Pilot’ “Desert Storm” (CNN News18) “cliffhanger”(NDTV 24×7) are buses—ferrying the Rajasthan MLAs to and fro Fairmont Hotel (what a great freebie advertisement for the resort this has been) – or SUVs presumably used by the CM.

The only thing that is airborne these days, is the coronavirus, so, can we please stop the silly headline management games— and tell it like it is?


Also read: Congress makes last-ditch effort to placate Pilot as Rahul Gandhi doesn’t ‘want to let him go’


No script

The problem is nobody really knows what is going on, least of all the news channels. For instance, on Wednesday morning, the channels were all set for Sachin Pilot’s departure from the Congress but then he cancelled his press conference and nothing happened.

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So, they set about imagining his options: the former deputy chief minister of Rajasthan may or may not hold the media meet today (Thursday), where he may or may not outline his future course of action, which may or may not include joining the BJP, said channels such as India Today, CNN News18 – this despite Pilot expressly telling as many as four of them in “exclusive” interviews that he was not joining the BJP  (India Today, NDTV 24×7, ABP News, CNN News18).

Nothing would please several of India’s news channels more than if Pilot were to join the BJP since that makes for a far juicier story than, say, Pilot form his own party – or, simply do nothing for now.

But you sensed the plot was not going according to this script when Times Now and Republic TV – or Republic TV and Times Now depending on whose viewership claims you believe – Wednesday morning sidelined Pilot as the lead story for Mehraj-ud-Din Malla, a BJP leader in Jammu and Kashmir who was reportedly kidnapped. Hindi news channels, meanwhile, chose to wade through Mumbai’s sodden streets after a monsoon downpour. And CNN News18 was making conciliatory noises on behalf of  “sources” in the Congress who said there was still room for Sachin & Co. in the party.


Also read: ‘Crash, grounded, ejection’ — the Sachin Pilot puns that just didn’t land


Almost there

Till Tuesday, the channels seemed to control the narrative: after Pilot was removed from his government and party posts in Rajasthan, the channels were clear on what had occurred: “Sonia Sacks Sachin” (Republic TV), “Gandhis picks tainted Gehlot” (Times Now), “Pilot set to exit” (NDTV 24×7), “Nothing left for Pilot in Congress” (ABP), “Pilot has moved away too far now” (Aak Tak).

They did a quick rewind to March when Jyotiraditya Scindia left the Congress and brought down the Madhya Pradesh government. The news channels framed this as another battle of the “old guard versus the young guard” (India Today) and suggested that Gen Next was winning the battle: “Will Congress lose Rajasthan?” (Mirror Now), “Endgame for Congress?”, “Pilot refuses to bend” (CNN News18), “Pilot gone?” (NDTV India).

They were careful to mention that Gehlot had the required number of MLAs – even though a headcount by Times Now of MLAs in the photograph from Fairmont Hotel saw fewer than Gehlot claimed – but they held out for a Pilot victory thinking Pilot had up to 30 MLAs on his side, as he claimed. They saw the Rajasthan government “on the brink” ( NDTV 24×7) even when Congress spokespersons such as the indefatigable Pawan Khera pointed out that the numbers argued otherwise.

They clearly identified Gehlot as the villain and Pilot as the leader more sinned against than sinning. Monday evening, nearly every single anchor on English and Hindi news channels praised Pilot – from NDTV at one end to Republic at the other. Pilot’s biodata was better than Rahul Gandhi’s, he had worked tirelessly for the party, he won the 2018 Rajasthan assembly election for Congress,  he was sidelined in the party —“5 reasons why Congress failed again” (Mirror Now) to “Isn’t this a failure of the high command?’’ (NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain).

Everything was leading up to that one headline they wanted to conjure — “Sachin Pilot dumps the Gandhis, joins BJP”.

That may still happen, today, tomorrow or the day after. Then again, it may not.

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42 Comments Share Your Views

42 COMMENTS

  1. It is a good cause to unite for Italian family mukt Indian national congress. Congress had great leaders and grass root workers who has legitimate aspirations for growth and having a decent career. The family nepotism driven approach demotivates cadres in the party which is the prime reason for complete rout of congress in the last 2 elections. First the party should practice internal democracy before it can legitimately claim to rule a democratic country. Gone are the days of Indira Gandhi. When was the last election openly held for congress president? Go figure.

  2. ***Congress’s Achievement: Looting for 60 years.
    ***BeeJayPee’s Biggest Achievement: Looting double that sum of money within a matter of six years.

    ***Congress = We have just one family that loots.
    ***BeeJayPee = We are one large family of looters.

    O Gullible People of India, judge for yourself which kind of looter you would prefer, or perhaps you could do very well without a ‘Government’. Gone are those days when a POLITICIAN could be trusted. Perhaps in future it would be better to live without the presence of a Government !

    • Can you please name one scam or corruption case under the Modi government,simply don’t indulge in rhetorics without facts ,the Congress party’scorruption is such that thete is a scam for every letter of English alphabets,so please atleast on the matter of corruption Modi government is way way better than Congress

  3. Yes. While commentary on news channels is rather silly and dramatic, the fact that an entire piece has been written on this silly take by you is even more ludicrous! Are you for real? From what I see, people take these news with a pinch of salt and value it for the ‘entertainment’ it provides while also trying to supposedly inform. Time you got over it dear journo. Watch DD if you don’t want sensationalism.

  4. If Shailaja Bajpai had been ‘running’ a TV channel, instead of being in the privileged position of ‘criticising’ them, she too would have done EXACTLY what these channels she is laughing at, did.

  5. The writer quite right about the bumbling fumbling TV news channels. But has missed the most important point. Sachin Pilot has burnt the bridge. He cannot go back to Congress without loss of face, nor join BJP. He didn’t simply deny joining BJP. He went on to add “When I have defeated them in Rajasthan Election, why should I join them?” His fate is sealed. He will fade away gradually. Or he has to eat crow and go back go congress or joint BJP. He will not be able to walk the talk.

  6. Excellent piece of commentary on our crony news channels. It is totally shameful that, with the exception of just one or two, all are engaged in following and propagating ludicrous crumbs thrown out by the bosses in Delhi, ignoring the grave situation the ordinary citizens are made to undergo. These media houses and mainstream news papers have become totally blind, for the 5-6 years, about the ever escalating crisis of life, the general public is being forced to undergo.

  7. Leaders join, leave, denounce & may or may not return. Loyalists follow them. Match continues. Only dynasty survive. It is perpetual.

  8. Why is this article labeled news? There is zero newsworthy content. It’s just a rant. I hope the editorial wing here isn’t frustrated of their lives and taking it out on our viewers.

  9. Pilot if you leave Congress now when it is in crisis you will never become again pilot of any ship or aircraft please note BJP will use and through for your friend he is scindihi You how is grandmother needed them.

  10. Please let Pilot leave. From the day of the formation of the government he has been upset. It has now blown up Let him Leave otherwise every few months he will show his emotions Congress should let every disgruntled member leave now. If BJP can accommodate the defectors good riddance to these politicians .How long will they be happy . Every day they have to praise the present government. Thats all they will be allowed to do .Good luck..Mr Rahul Gandhi from now on when you give a ticket for the state elections make the candidate dighn a bond for 25 crores. And when yo give. Ticket for parliament make them dighn s bond for 50 crores. Let the buying be open and legal. At the moment BJP is very rich so no problems in Congress getting donations from BJP !!!

  11. Change of political party is not the actual solution, settle the dispute and perform for poor people and secure your position in the party and people, otherwise the o.p. will take the advantage.

  12. Entire national media completely failed to assess the ground situation in Rajasthan. They forgot that Mr. Gehlot not only enjoys confidence of Congress high command but is also a mature politician now. It was childish on the part of media to think that Mr Gehlot shall bow down easily. He is 5 time MP, 5 time MLA, 3 time CM. His work in Corona crisis and current political crisis, has elevated his political stature.
    Thanks

  13. The upeasement politics of the congress has gone too far and for too long. Some have realized this and want it to change. Congressi dont want to change and getting into deeper hole. Corruption and entitlement to rule in the congress has not gone well with the public but who cares. Democracy has its own way of rooting out the weeds.

  14. Why the Deputy CM post created in Rajasthan first of all by the Congress if the CM himself want to control all the state affairs ?
    No wander, the stands now from Hero to Zero!

  15. Just as for a die hard congress suporter Shailaja Bajpai Sachin not joining the BJP would be a juicer story than him joining the BJP because Shailaja has been hating BJP for many years now. It is common to see BJP bashi g articles as she also belongs to the sychophant media gang who head is Shekhar Gupta. The bottomline in Pilot Saga is not Gehlot won the battle because it is far from over yet. Fact is what does it say of a party and its lazy leader Rahul who continues his loaing streak losing two lok sabhle elections in a row, and yet being in a position to decide the fate of one man called Sachin Pilot who won Rajasthan handsomely for the congress, took it from 21 seats in 2013 to 107 seats in 2018. So where is the respect for merit in the congress. Rahul may yet again lose a 100 times but he can still aim for the Prime Ministers chair with ao much support from the congressi supporting media but a Pilot cant aspire to become a CM of a state on the basis of hia strong win in that state. What an irony. This is disgusting Gandhi family style of politics.

  16. Congress will never think anything beyond RaGa ,Priayanka Vadra, and finally Sonia Gandhi. It is going to crash ultimately.

  17. If sachin do not join another party
    He will be made to do so
    Cases, CBI ,FERA, ERA guns are kept ready
    Slowly one after the after

  18. i think that congress needs to revisit it’s policies and think about majority and their caste based votes they must gain the trust of the upper caste by saying that all hindus must be equal and we will end caste system so that they can make them United and make vote them to the congress.they must say that we are hindus and won’t tolerate anything about hindus and make sure a muslim vote as well.so they can win this and get democracy back.

    • Sachin, if you cares for your image than pls do not join BJP, it will definitely destroy your image and your your ancestors too just as in the case of sindhiya
      For the sake of the friendship of your father with gandhi family you should show your loyalty towards congress.

    • Very true Mr. Shankar. Congress paved the way for caste based ruling and voting. India deserve a better opposition in dis democratic country.

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