New Delhi: Prime time debate on Tuesday was consumed by TV anchors discussing PM Modi’s seventh address to the nation and whether it adequately addressed the problems India is currently facing, such as the economy, and other ‘real issues’. Zee News’ Sudhir Chaudhary echoed Modi’s words (which, in turn, echoed actor Amitabh Bachchan’s appeal): “Jab tak corona ki davai nahin, tab tak dhilai nahin” (Until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus, we cannot let down our guard).
India TV’s Rajat Sharma insisted that “Modi ji ne saaf saaf baat ki” (Modi ji said everything very clearly.) “Modi ji ki nazar har jagah rehti hai, kahan laaparwahi hai” (Modi is constantly aware of what’s happening and where there has been a lapse), he boasted, enthusiastically.
On Times Now, Navika Kumar said “within 12 seconds” of the PM’s address, the Opposition was on the offensive, calling the speech meaningless.
JD(S) spokesperson Tanveer Ahmed said many were expecting the PM to speak on jobs and the economy. But BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli maintained: “This was a message of a leader who considers every Indian a part of his family.”
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari raised the issue of why the PM doesn’t hold press conferences. “Why [hasn’t] the Prime Minister of India facing the worst crisis in health and economy and unemployment and inter-state relationships…address[ed] press conferences at this time?”
Over on CNN-News18, Zakka Jacob hit out at the Opposition for arguing that the PM missed the “real issues”. He asked, “What can be more real than a virus that has infected 76 lakh people as of today? Why play politics over a pandemic?”
Political analyst Shantanu Gupta called the PM’s speech “calculated and important” given that Navratri is already underway and Dussehra, Eid, Chhath puja and Guru Nanak Jayanti are around the corner. But Congress spokesperson Charan Singh Sapra said the PM should have spoken on unemployment, inflation, India’s position on the global hunger index and more, and that the PM’s words were like “old wine in a new bottle”.
Meanwhile, Aaj Tak’s Anjana Om Kashyap focused her prime time segment on what the opinion polls had to say about the upcoming Bihar elections.
She said it is a common refrain that in Bihar, political parties play on caste equations and the electorate, too, votes on the basis of caste. She offered some statistics to support her claims: the LJP fielded 38 per cent Dusadh candidates, while the NDA fielded 29 per cent and the Mahagathbandhan, 27 per cent.
She also pointed at how 319 candidates in Bihar came from criminal backgrounds, to which Sanjay Kumar, director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), said, “This is a worrisome trend… If there was even one party that didn’t have criminal candidates, then we could have said that there is a difference in parties. But among these 319 candidates, if you look at party bifurcation, all parties have fielded candidates from criminal backgrounds.”
Mirror Now‘s Tanvi Shukla spoke about #SexistNetas, in reference to senior Congress leader Kamal Nath calling BJP Madhya Pradesh candidate Imarti Devi an “item”.
“This, too, unfortunately is another side to our politics which just refuses to change,” said Shukla, on her all-woman panel.
Shukla asked BJP national in-charge (legal) Charu Pragya to comment on BJP MP Bisahulal Singh describing the second wife of Congress candidate Vishwanath Singh Kunjam as his “mistress”.
Pragya responded by pointing to the need to change the “larger mindset” and said she defends no person from her own party if they make “a bad comment” against a woman.
TDP leader Jyothsna Tirunagari didn’t mince her words: “Politicians who belittle women should be shamed in public, they should be out of their office, they should be taught gender sensitisation.”
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