Delhi election remained in the spotlight on news channels — exit polls and voter turnout was the predominant story Sunday. Almost all exit polls indicated that the Aam Aadmi Party was on its way to a comprehensive win in Delhi. On the other hand, the delay in the release of voter turnout data by the Election Commission led to renewed claims of EVM tampering by AAP.
In an extraordinary bit of ‘journalism’ Saturday evening, Zee News anchor Sudhir Chaudhury launched a bizarre attack on Delhi voters. He claimed that they were only concerned with a government that offered “freebies”. He added that the people in Delhi had big opinions on politics only at dinner parties where they have a drink in hand, or on social media, but they do not actually step out or care about issues like the Ram temple, Balakot etc.
Back to Sunday.
On Times Now’s ‘The Newshour’ with Athar Khan, the focus was on AAP’s allegations that EVM machines might have been tampered with Saturday, and something was fishy about Election Commission delaying the release of voter turnout data.
“Do you think AAP doesn’t really want to count its own chickens before they hatch?” asked Khan, pointing out that the results weren’t even out yet.
Political Analyst Nishant Varma confidently said that AAP will do better than what the exit polls predict, and wondered how BJP General Secretary B.L. Santhosh could tweet on the afternoon of polling that that there were “17% vote in last 2 hours”.
BJP’s Shaina N.C., however, said the AAP was being a “spoil sport” because they were insecure, and that BJP always accepts mandates and results with “grace”.
Aaj Tak looked at the post-poll EVM drama too. With a split screen, the channel first captured AAP leader Sanjay Singh’s view, who asked if there was a video of people running away with an EVM machine , then why wouldn’t questions be asked. On the other side of the screen, BJP Manoj Tiwari said “Arre baba kyun pareshan ho” (Why are you worried?), and added that such allegations were an excuse. He, further, said that the BJP had its own exit polls that said it would get 48 seats, if not more.
Meanwhile on Republic TV, Arnab Goswami was still obsessing over Shaheen Bagh. Mocking supporters of the protest that began over 50 days ago, he said that when Delhi’s temperatures hit 2.4 degrees on 29 December, why weren’t those who defend Shaheen Bagh on TV debates, sitting there in the open tarpaulin tent? “They were at home with their heaters,” he declared, adding that these people who spent up to Rs 10 lakhs on an air purifier would not bother breathing Shaheen Bagh’s “smog-ridden air”.
Berating journalist Tavleen Singh, for only making a “guest appearance” at the protest, he told her she was exploiting them. “I went there as a journalist to report”, she managed to say between all his yelling. “I am not giving up”, he yelled as she continued to put her point across, “Well, I’m not giving up either” she yelled back, asking why the Citizenship Amendment Act was so exclusionary of Muslims in the first place.
On NDTV 24×7, ‘Left Right and Centre’ anchor Ankita Mukherjee discussed a government dossier that lists out charges against former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah, who has been detained under the Public Safety Act, which includes inexplicable things like his “ability to garner votes even during peak militancy and poll boycotts”, his “twitter clout” and his ability to influence “gullible masses”.
The dossier for PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti is eyebrow raising, said Mukherjee, as it calls her a “hard-headed and scheming person” and flags suspicion at the green color of her party flag that “reflects its origins”.
Advocate and National Conference supporter Sarfaraz Wani called the detainment a “mockery of democracy”, and proof that this government wants to crackdown on dissent completely. RSS’s Desh Ratan Nigam admitted that “better language” could have been used in the dossier, but said, “Kashmir is peaceful because these people are inside”.