New Delhi: From PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti’s release to jewellery brand Tanishq withdrawing its ad depicting an interfaith marriage and communal harmony after massive public backlash, prime time debates Wednesday went in different directions. NewsX focused on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) prediction that Bangladesh’s GDP would overtake India’s this year.
On ABP News, Rubika Liyaquat asked if the PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti’s audio message, which she posted after release from detention of more than a year, “disrespects” the Parliament’s decision. In her message, Mufti said, among other things, that the people of Jammu and Kashmir wouldn’t forget the humiliation and insult of 5 August 2019 [when the state’s special status was scrapped and the state itself bifurcated], and that they would “take back what Delhi snatched”.
“There is democracy in this country and the mandir of this democracy is the Parliament,” the anchor said. “Should you abuse a law by the Parliament that bestows you fundamental rights on the basis of freedom of expression?” Liyaquat asked.
“Through her remarks, Mufti is in no way strengthening India, instead she is giving gaali to the nation more.. Mehbooba is using 370 to abuse the country,” the anchor added.
Amish Devgan on News18 India looked at Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s statement that state-run madrassas will be converted to regular schools and that if the Quran is taught at the government’s expense, then Bible and Bhagvad Gita should also be taught.
“The topic of madrassas has created a storm. The government is being questioned on its decisions,” the anchor said. “The question is — those beating the drums over secularism on each and everything are now enraged over secularism in education.”
“India is a secular country — it is written in the Constitution, politicians say our country is secular, even the Lutyens gang says that this is a secular country. So in this secular India, why is there religious teaching?,” he thundered.
India Today‘s Rajdeep Sardesai discussed jewellery brand Tanishq’s to withdraw its ad that, depicting a Hindu woman married into a Muslim household, held a message of communal harmony. He asked, “Do brands have a social duty?”
Former marketing head at Tanishq, Alpana Parida said: “There is a middle that Tanishq has always catered to. Even the woman [in the ad] is not someone who is a torch-bearing activist but she is somebody who is seeking change from within for herself.” She added that this “middle path” is necessary as it allows brands to say “Look, I won’t pander to the Left or the Right.”
On those who took offence to the ad, Executive Creative Director of Grey Autumn Worldwide Amish Sabharwal said: “This is rhetoric at the end of the day… We live in an India which is, right now, extremely politically charged. We do not have secular voices…it’s a mob rule”.
NewsX‘s Rishabh Gulati hosted a panel IMF projection that Bangladesh is set to overtake India in terms of per capita GDP, which prompted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to “rip into the [central] government”.
“Sheikh Hasina has done a phenomenal job with the country, from micro-finances to getting the industries going to having a good trade association,” said Gulati in his opening segment.
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh asked: “Why is Bangladesh able to grab the opportunities that India can’t?” He then answered his own question: “Demonetisation, GST and lockdown which were all implemented without due ‘thought process'”.
BJP leader Jagadish Shettigar insisted that India’s economy has shown revival signs lately, and argued that the IMF used data from June. Later, when he started to criticise the implementation of economic reforms under the UPA, Gulati sarcastically replied: “So, I guess Manmohan Singh just got lucky that we had 8-9 per cent growth [at the time].”
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