The big news Monday was the ‘Times Now-IPSOS’ opinion poll on the Delhi assembly elections. And the winner is…
But before revealing that, Times Now anchor Rahul Shivshankar warned that the Aam Aadmi Party “may not be out of the woods, yet… the last five days… very decisive…’’ he said, carefully adding that this poll was conducted before the Prime Minister campaigned in Delhi Monday
A close fight then? The poll says otherwise, the results: AAP 54-60, BJP 10-14 and poor old Congress 0-2.
If Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had known this, he would have been delighted. But he was at News 18 India’s ‘Agenda Delhi’ townhall where he denied any role in the Shaheen Bagh protests, adding that only BJP gained from the “gandi rajneeti’’ (dirty politics) playing out there. He refused to be drawn into any controversy, come out for or against Shaheen Bagh directly. He also sang a hymn and declared himself a devout Hindu.
On CNN News 18, Sanjeev Kumar, Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, said that though the gap between the BJP and AAP had narrowed due to Shaheen Bagh, AAP would still win — “BJP can only minimise the gap…’’ (‘The Right Stand’).
Prime Minister Modi’s speech in Delhi, in which he called the Shaheen Bagh protests “rajneeti ka aisa design…’’ (politics of design) that would divide and destabilise the country, was seen across news channels from ABP and Aaj Tak to News X— the latter called it “PM’s counter attack”, a “total saajish” (total conspiracy).
At India Today’s ‘To the Point’, anchor Rajdeep Sardesai said that the PM while speaking out against “protest politics’’, still wants to “stay above’’ the fray — he didn’t mention Kejriwal even once by name in his poll address. Rahul Shrivastava, also India Today, asserted that BJP was “driving a polarizing campaign… a calibrated, deliberate attempt’’ to divide voters. But Shrivastava was not “happy” with the way AAP had avoided the Shaheen Bagh issue.
Journalist Neerja Chowdhury agreed: on `Left Right & Centre’ (NDTV 24×7), she described the “extraordinary lengths” AAP had gone to “stay away” from Shaheen Bagh. She added that Union Minister Prakash Javadekar calling Kejriwal a “terrorist” was a “constitutional crisis”. When anchor Sreenivasan Jain referred this matter to BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, he replied by talking of attacks on the PM, Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan — and other unrelated topics. Jain, clearly frustrated, said, “Hope better sense will prevail but I don’t think so…”
Republic’s Arnab Goswami was jubilant, yesterday: He celebrated the arrival of Pakistani students, “finally’’ from Wuhan. Apparently, they had received one message and one message alone from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Goswami drew his own conclusions: “…he (Khan) doesn’t give a damn about Pakistan and only wants to keep China happy.”
Mirror Now saw ‘Guns Goli and Gandi baat’ around Shaheen Bagh — “Has police mishandled situation?’’ it asked. Former DGP Swaranjit Sen criticised the response of the police, under the BJP, and said Delhi had been “systematically destroyed”. Anila Singh, BJP, replied with a rhetorical question: do we want a police that uses its “wits” or “fists”? No one had a reply.
Aaj Tak’s Anjana Om Kashyap was angry: she wanted to know who had shot the “poisoned bullet” or “vote ke goli” (vote’s bullet) after the firings had taken place at Jamia and Shaheen Bagh in the last three days. She accused Modi’s ministers of openly talking communal politics—Anurag Thakur and Prakash Javadekar.
Aaj Tak’s bold and furious Chitra Tripathi, later, shed light on the most recent Jamia shooting. “The news of the shooting spread like fire, but there has been no answer to questions,” explained Tripathi without really explaining anything. The channel also, kindly, provided viewers with an animated version of a scooty with gunmen aboard.
In ‘Kurukshetra’, India TV’s Saurav Sharma was excited by Modi’s descent on the Delhi election scene, finally. “Modiji has cleared that he has nothing to do with Shaheen Bagh”— he said, but who thought otherwise? Syed Shahnawaz Husain, BJP, then repeated the well-worn BJP line:, “Someone please explain to the Muslims to not be scared… We are tired of saying the same thing.” So are viewers?
And, on ABP News’ ‘Masterstroke’, anchor Rubika Liyaquat revealed AAP’s apparent “underground campaign” — hmmm.
With inputs from Shailaja Bajpai