New Delhi: Prime time on TV news channels Sunday was consumed by Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot’s claim that he had the support of 30 MLAs to topple the state government, and what several Hindi channels believed was of greater importance: the Bachchan family’s medical bulletin after Amitabh Bachchan, along with his son and daughter-in-law Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and their daughter Aaradhya, tested positive for Covid-19.
But first to the health of the Rajasthan government: “The Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot has told NDTV that he won’t be attending the Congress Legislative Party meeting scheduled for tomorrow. He also claims that he has the support of 30 MLAs,” NDTV 24×7’s Sarah Jacob explained, before asking the channel’s local correspondent, “What do you make of this? Do the numbers make sense for you?”
The correspondent responded dramatically, “This is an open revolt by Sachin Pilot, he has openly said it in a press statement that he will not come for Gehlot’s party meeting.” She added, “It’s now going to be a numbers game. If he has the support of 30 MLAs, then it’s all he needs to destabilise the government. You need 22 MLAs to make the government fall.”
Maybe it’s time for D.K. Shivakumar to step in. On Times Now, anchor Navika Kumar described him as ‘troubleshooter’ D.K. Shivakumar, the newly appointed President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, before questioning him about his party’s failure to connect with people.
“Shivakumar has recently been crowned as President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. Everyone in India knows him as the man who is the troubleshooter for the Congress party whichever state the Congress may be in trouble in terms of MLAs. He is always in the business protecting the Congress’ turf,” she gushed, before asking him, “Why are people of India rejecting Congress election after election? And where you form governments like in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, you seem to lose those governments because they aren’t majority governments anyway?”
Shivakumar was sanguine in his response. “Whatever we have is a temporary setback. The Congress cadres and its ideology are very strong. The sun will have to rise and come down, there will be day and night. All these things happen in politics in India.”
He added, “We are confident and we don’t want to change our values and principles. Moreover, the economy of this country can only be saved by the Congress party.” His faith in his party is touching.
Back to Pilot: on Aaj Tak, anchor Anjana Om Kashyap asked, “After Jyotiraditya Scindia quitting Congress, is the party worried that Sachin Pilot is likely to follow suit?” The Congress’ national spokesperson Gourav Vallabh dismissed such fears. “I assure that nobody is going anywhere. BJP’s undemocratic face is getting exposed.”
BJP’s national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi relied on Bollywood to explain the crisis: “The situation in Rajasthan is like ‘ek phool do maali’ (one flower and two gardeners, referring to the 1969 film). When the Rajasthan cabinet was being formed, Sachin Pilot’s supporters were protesting against the Congress party itself.”
From Bollywood to the Bachchans: On TV9 Bharatvarsh, anchor Nishant Chaturvedi turned to the Bachchan family’s Covid battle, complete with medical bulletins. The panelists included a cardiologist, a neurosurgeon, comedian Raju Srivastava, singer Sudesh Bhosle and film critic Ajay Brahmatmaj.
Srivastava traced Bachchan’s journey in the film industry, including his injury on the set of Coolie in 1982, and said that he has emerged stronger after every challenge he faced. Brahmatmaj said that Bollywood was slowly getting back on its feet post Covid, but the Bachchan family testing positive would slow down the reopening of the industry.
India TV, meanwhile asked the most crucial question of the day, “If Amitabh Bachchan did not go outside, how did coronavirus enter his bungalow?” Anchor Pankaj Bhargav said that the reporters’ “ground investigation” around Bachchan’s bungalow Jalsa revealed that a security guard, Amitabh Bachchan’s secretary and Abhishek Bachchan had started going out. So that led a second question vital to national security – “Did Abhishek Bachchan bring the coronavirus in Jalsa?”
Meanwhile, Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami was singing a different tune, one that involved “exposing” the “mafia links” of Indian politicians. He said Vikas Dubey’s “30-year-career in the mafia couldn’t have happened without political patronage,” but added, “Today is not just about Vikas Dubey. It is about the rot, brazen complicity by gangsters and political parties. No party is innocent or clean.” Good of him to be so inclusive in his criticism. He asked, “Is it time to identify, expose and end mafia links of every single party?” Thank you, Captain Obvious.