New Delhi: Prime time Monday was all about conversations on India’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Several channels discussed the mass exodus of migrant workers in several cities. Some like India Today were optimistic about the situation. They noted that Telangana didn’t record any coronavirus cases Monday. CNN News 18 also told viewers to remain `positive’ — “not all gloom and doom”, it proclaimed.
However, there was black lining to the good news: channels from India TV and Aaj Tak to Times Now reported on the ‘hotspot’ in Delhi’s Nizamuddin West, where in Aaj Tak’s words, “200 people -15 countries” could be infected with coronavirus.
Aaj Tak anchor Anjana Om Kashyap also spoke to India’s favourite yoga guru, Baba Ramdev who had been on a voice conference with the Prime Minister earlier in the day. He promised to open up Patanjali facilities to coronavirus patients if need be.
Kashyap asked him for big city yoga tips, “I can see a sprawling garden behind you. But in big cities, so many people have to fit into small houses, what tips do you have for them?”
Obviously, a yoga guru’s solution would be yoga. Ramdev replied, “Pranayam karne ke liye thodi si jagah chahiye hoti hai.” (You don’t need a lot of space to do pranayam)
Kashyap spoke to Ramdev like an old, forgotten friend, “I have been seeing you since so many years, you have not gained any weight. I think you’re also an expert in weight management.”
Ramdev didn’t mind showing off a little: “I look like a 50-year-old but I have the fitness of a 25-year-old.” Okay then.
On Zee News’ ‘Taal Thok Ke’, anchor Mimansa Malik stated the obvious in battle talk, “Coronavirus ko haraane ki jung jaari hai…sab log yeh ladaai apne ghar se lad rahe hai.” (The battle to defeat coronavirus continues… everyone is fighting this fight from their homes).
However, Malik reminded her viewers, “Awareness is the biggest weapon against coronavirus”.
News 18 India’s anchor Amish Devgan decided to inject politics into the discussion about migrant workers’ exodus: Devgan said, “Shashi Tharoor has said that during demonetisation, we witnessed a similar scenario… He may think that India lost during demonetisation. However, India can’t lose this time. Modi can’t lose this time.”
Even though this was not a question, Sambit Patra, spokesperson, BJP had his response ready: “What has Shashi Tharoor achieved by sitting inside his house? What he or the Congress says is not important. What matters is that India has taken timely action.”
On NDTV India, anchor Sanket Upadhyay spoke to Punjab’s chief minister Amarinder Singh. Upadhyay’s question referred to the mass exodus of migrant workers.
Singh was crystal clear in his answers, “In Punjab, there have been no cases of mass exodus like in Delhi. We have asked our industries to look after them and feed them”.
Singh displayed a strong sense of humanity: “It is being made clear that anyone who is living in rented accommodations will stay there even if they can’t pay rent. This is a human problem and we are going to deal with it in a humane manner.”
India Today anchor Rajdeep Sardesai’s questions have remained the same in the past few days. Sardesai asked, “Is the curfew working? Is it too early to speculate whether we need to go beyond 21 days?”
Dr Nageshwar Reddy, Chairman of the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, was feeling rather optimistic, “We seem to be on a curve that is not rising very fast, particularly what happened in Telangana. We haven’t received a case today. The lockdown has worked very well.”
“This is a dynamic process and we must be watching it from day to day,” he added.
Navika Kumar just can’t give the Opposition a rest. On Times Now, Kumar called out a “political slugfest”, “As India unites to fight a virus that threatens the world, Modi haters and Opposition have joined hands to question his relief fund.” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had questioned the PM-Cares scheme wondering why it had to be launched when other similar schemes already existed.
Kumar continued, “While no one is taking rights away from the Opposition but to question the existence of a fund created to help India come out and fight coronavirus seems to be rather petty.”
She asked a pointless question, “Is fighting Modi bigger than fighting coronavirus?”
CNN International host, Fareed Zakaria minced no words when it came to US President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, “When a crisis hits the United States, the country’s general instinct is to rally around the flag and wish the best for its leaders. That’s why Trump has seen his approval ratings rise even though he has had a delayed and fitful approach to this pandemic.”
Zakaria continued, “The US is on track to have the worst outbreak of coronavirus among wealthy countries largely because of its government. This is the new face of America’s exceptionalism.”
On Fox News, anchor Jon Scott was in conversation with American Legion Legislative Director Melissa Bryant and was singing a different tune. Scott asked a question on the role of military and American veterans in response to the coronavirus crisis, “It appears that the National Guards will play a big role in fighting this crisis.”
Bryant responded, “Yes, it’s an all hands on deck situation right now.”