New Delhi: From lauding the Prime Minister for walking-the-talk and following social distancing, to discussing the first royal case of coronavirus, prime time Wednesday continued to be dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zee News’ Sachin Arora closely analysed the chair arrangement at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet meeting, ABP’s Sumit Awasthi said Yogi Aditynatha’s visit to a crowded temple in Ayodhya was no way to do “paath puja” in these times.
BBC News assured viewers that although Prince Charles had tested positive, the Queen was still in good health, and Al Jazeera pondered on the effect of this global health crisis on the upcoming US presidential elections in November.
On India Today, anchor Rahul Kanwal diagnosed what was wrong with the implementation of the 21-day lockdown.
Rathin Roy, Director of the National Institute of Public Finance, said that while the lockdown had been implemented well in Telangana , Karnataka , Kerala and Rajasthan, he couldn’t say the same for Maharashtra, Haryana or even Delhi. He pointed out that in Delhi, there was widespread confusion and lack of correct information, and thus, one did not know where to get food without getting beaten up.
BJP leader G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, on the other hand, said that the announcement had to be done in such a sudden way otherwise people who could afford supplies would have stocked up for the next six months, leaving behind a huge shortage. He said this would have deprived the poor and could have led to a “scary” scenario. He added that the PM even gave a “hint” about the prolonged lockdown during his first address to the nation about Covid-19.
Without skipping a beat, Kanwal repeated that all people had to do was read between the lines and they would have understood what’s to come. Right.
On ABP News’ ‘#’ , Sumit Awasthi discussed a “chhoti par gehri baat” (small but deep matter).
He first congratulated the PM for “leading from the front” by making the cabinet ministers sit far apart from each other during their meeting. However, on the other hand, he expressed disappointment with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Ram Navami puja in a crowded temple without masks, gloves, or any sign of social distancing. “Aise hi corona failta hai,” (this is how corona spreads) Awasthi remarked, saying that if a chief minister behaved this way how would he set an example. He even pulled up a tweet by someone that said this kind of puja would not be accepted by God, as it puts lives in danger.
Anchor Sachin Arora in Zee News’ ‘Taal Thok Ke’, also gushed about the “1 meter distance” between ministers during the Cabinet Meeting — complete with diagrams and arrows. The channel panned over the same images of the meeting for a good five minutes.
Keeping up his enthusiasm, Arora said that according to Modi India would beat coronavirus in a record 21 days, making history. “Corona ko hara kar vishwa champion banega India” (India will beat corona and become world champion).
BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi chimed in, saying that in mankind’s documented history it has never happened that almost all countries of the world have joined together to fight the same enemy. He added that if India understood the urgency of the situation, we too can break the coronavirus chain in these 21 days.
On NDTV 24×7’s ‘Reality Check’, Sreenivasan Jain had an entirely different matter on his mind.
Discussing the “chronology of a cover-up”, he broke down the gaps that reportedly appeared between the BJP IT cell’s claims about safety gear orders for healthcare workers versus the claims of the Healthy Ministry and the safety gear vendors.
On 21 March, he said, The Times of India reported on delays in orders by the government and then suddenly “mystery” tenders appeared on the government website. However, safety wear vendors were still clueless, Jain claimed
According to Jain, on 23 March, the government finally admitted to a larger global shortage of corona safety gear and then on 24 March floated a global tender for safety wear.
“On one hand there is a global shortage, and on the other hand a global tender?”, asked Jain.
“How does this work,” he asked befuddled, pointing out that something was fishy.
BBC’s Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell reported that even though Prince Charles tested positive for Covid-19, he was still in “good health and good spirits”. The Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, who tested negative, are now self-isolating in their home in the Scottish Highlands. Sounds scenic.
The anchor was quick to add, that this case only goes to show how this virus does not discriminate.
On Al Jazeera, ‘The Bottom Line’ host Steve Clemens asked whether in the US, election campaigns were taking a back seat due to coronavirus. “At a time when handshakes, rallies, fundraisers, and door-knocking have all been cancelled — what happens to American election campaigns this year?” he asked, adding that it was odd to ask people for campaign donations when most were stuck at home and potentially unable to work.
Amy Dacey, former CEO of the Democratic National Committee, said that one would think that with millions of Americans staying at home, campaigners would have a “captive audience”. However, the crisis has called for “the most challenging” conversation between voters and candidates.