New Delhi: Primetime debates Wednesday were dominated by politics and issues around the upcoming assembly elections — whether it was Mamata Banerjee’s temple visits or Congress leader P.C. Chacko’s resignation.
However, the evening coverage was coloured by the “attack” on the West Bengal chief minister that resulted in her hospitalisation. Footage of Didi laid back in the seat of her vehicle, looking pale and in pain as she alleged she was attacked by the BJP in Nandigram, dominated the news space.
Earlier, Banerjee had visited three temples before filing her nomination Wednesday, and had also performed pooja at the Shiv temple in Nandigram. On Aaj Tak, anchor Chitra Tripathi asked whether the Bengal CM was “playing the Hindu card by emphasising on her Hindu identity” ahead of the elections.
BJP’s Sambit Patra said he is having a “deja vu” — a feeling that one has experienced the particular incident before.
“Rahul Gandhi was also performing pooja and going to temples before 2019 Lok Sabha elections. We all know what happened to him. We should also not forget that this is the same Mamata Banerjee who restricted Durga idol immersion due to Muharram,” Patra noted.
TMC spokesperson Suparno Moitra hit back at BJP, saying the party believes it has a monopoly over Hindu religion. “Even though Didi was born in a Brahmin family, she knows how to keep her Hindu identity and administration separate,” he said.
On Mirror Now, anchor Tanvi Shukla discussed the fuel price hike and asked why state governments aren’t doing anything to curb skyrocketing prices if the Centre is failing. She then directed her question to AIADMK’s spokesperson Kovai Sathyan, “Kovai, at least as a poll-bound state, you can give some relief (to)?”
To this, the spokesperson replied: “The debate on fuel prices has never found a solution… Everyone always expects a knee-jerk reaction from the governments.”
He adding that there’s no clarity about the course of further action in the country. “We’re in an epidemic state where states are slowly coming back to normalcy. When the revenues aren’t certain, every direct and indirect revenue has taken a beating, but the state has to ensure the best of healthcare.”
But Shukla wasn’t convinced. “What’s the point of distributing freebies like free ration if you have to take the money out of the poor man’s pocket through high fuel prices?”
Sathyan responded calmly, “You have to understand the dynamics of the state. The government is in a better position to understand what is its input and what it can give as an output.”
On NDTV 24×7, anchor Sreenivasan Jain talked about the debate in the British parliament over farm protests and said the spiralling fallout of India’s farm protests now seems to have cast a shadow on India’s relations with the United Kingdom. “Of the 17 MPs who spoke in the petition debate, only one spoke in the favour of the Indian government — the first time another government has held an internal discussion over the farmers protests,” Jain noted.
Excerpts of what various British MPs said in Parliament were played out. Among them was Tanmanjeet Singh, a Labour Party MP who said, “The UK government in their desperation to get a trade deal is failing spectacularly to stand for human rights.”
The MP who spoke in favour of India was Conservative Theresa Villiers. She said the police are criticised even in the UK after they curb mass protests, that doesn’t mean democracy is under threat in the UK — and same goes for India.
On Zee News, anchor Mimansa Malik discussed the resignation of senior Congress leader P.C. Chacko in Kerala and asked whether Congress has no party democracy, but is only a family based party? “Rahul Gandhi often talks about democracy or the lack of it in the country, but his own party members show him the mirror,” she said.
Congress leader Gajendra Singh Sankhla termed the whole turn of events as unfortunate, while questioning Chacko’s decision. “He is saying that the party lacks democracy now when he is out of it. If he had talked about it within the party, the party would have addressed his concerns.”
Journalist Smita Prakash noted that leaders like Chacko were seen as close aides to the Gandhi family but have been the target of discrimination in the party. “It is now impossible to remove Gandhi family from the Congress. Various senior leaders have been complaining of the lack of internal democracy for years now,” she said.