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Anchors question Rahul’s ‘north-south’ remark & Tikait’s ticket to ride tractors into Delhi

A quick take on what prime time TV news talked about.

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New Delhi: From senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “north-south” remarks at a public gathering in Thiruvananthapuram Tuesday to the row over Patanjali’s Coronil tablets, there was plenty of variety at prime time.

Amid the surge of Covid cases in some states, CNN-News18‘s Marya Shakil discussed virus variants and the pace of the vaccine rollout in the country.

On Gandhi’s “north-south” remarks that South Indians take issues more seriously than those in the North, NewsX‘s Vineet Malhotra asked: “What exactly was Rahul Gandhi trying to say? Was his message as benign as he thought it was?”

Screengrab of a NewsX programme | YouTube
Screengrab of a NewsX programme | YouTube

Journalist Priya Sahgal remarked: “I think he often says what comes to his mind without realising the impact of what the statement would make…You cannot say that the people of the South are more bothered about issues than people of the North.”

BJP spokesperson Shivam Chhabra accused Gandhi of trying to “malign” the image of people in the North and “divide” India.

Malhotra, later, asked if the reactions to Gandhi’s comments are “out of line because he’s become the favourite punching bag for the ruling dispensation”.

Congress spokesperson Pallavi Sharma said, “This is classic BJP politics which is to deviate from issues.” She said the issues it is trying to deviate from are the farmers protests, “downward” GDP and unemployment.

On Mirror Now, anchor Tanvi Shukla discussed the controversy over Patanjali’s Coronil tablets for the treatment of Covid-19. The Indian Medical Association had Tuesday expressed shock at what it called a “blatant lie of WHO certification” for Patanjali’s Coronil tablets and demanded an explanation from Health Minister Harsh Vardhan about his presence at the event where Coronil was launched last week.

Shukla sought to clear up the confusion on the certification: “The approval or so-called certification — isn’t it simply for exports not really to say this is a drug that treats coronavirus?”

A screengrab of Mirror Now | YouTube
A screengrab of Mirror Now | YouTube

IMA national president Dr J.A. Jayalal concurred that it is not a certificate concerning the “therapeutic efficacy” of the drug but manufacturing of the tablets and that too only enables the company to “apply for exports” after which a recipient country will conduct its own study on the therapeutic efficacy.

BJP spokesperson Tuhin Sinha said he saw no problem with the presence of ministers at the event where Coronil was launched. He clarified that Coronil is not meant to be the “primary line of treatment” for Covid but rather an immunity booster.

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait Tuesday warned that if the Centre does not repeal the three new agriculture laws, the protesting farmers will gherao Parliament. He also appealed to farmers to be ready as the call for a “Delhi march” of 40 lakh tractors could come any time. On Aaj Tak‘s Dangal, anchor Rohit Sardana discussed the proposed tractor march and asked whether the ultimatum given by Tikait was justified.

Farm leader Pushpendra Singh said the gherao of Parliament has happened previously during various protests and would not be something new. “We want to let this government hear our voice peacefully,” Singh said.

BJP’s Gaurav Bhatia targeted the farmers leaders: “Is asking farmers to burn their crops not a sign of anarchy? Everyone has the right to protest but why did Rakesh Tikait mentioned cultivating the land around India Gate and destroying storage houses?”

On Zee News, anchor Aman Chopra claimed that Tikait was threatening to recreate a riot-like atmosphere in Delhi once again. Visuals from the 26 January tractor rally reaching Delhi’s Red Fort where it turned violent flashed across the screen as he wondered out aloud if Tikait had not had enough after the riots at Red Fort.

A screengrab of Zee News | YouTube
A screengrab of Zee News | YouTube

BJP MP Rakesh Sinha termed Tikait’s announcement as an endorsement of the 26 January incidents when a religious flag was unfurled at the Red Fort, and said it is an attack on India’s liberal democracy.

Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa pointed at the government’s “hypocrisy”. “…the BJP says that they will gherao the assembly and conduct a march in West Bengal even if Mamata Banerjee doesn’t grant them the freedom to hold rallies, but when the farmers do it, it is wrong,” he said.

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