New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal’s “spectacular”, “historic” win in the Delhi polls still had news channels in its thrall. A joyous meeting of the AAP was headline news throughout Wednesday and in the evening, prime time debates remained preoccupied with the results. Anchors of TV channels continued to discuss what BJP got wrong and AAP got right.
ABP News anchor Rubika Liyaquat quite literally dissected the word raajneeti (politics) to prove a larger point but we’re not sure what that is. “BJP’s USP is nationalism. Hindutva is their strength,” explained Liyaquat. Got that?
Temperatures ran high at India TV’s `Kurukshetra’. When anchor Saurav Sharma asked if Shaheen Bagh had failed as an issue in the elections, Gaurav Bhatia, BJP spokesperson, went off on a complete tangent: “I have also read the Constitution. You can protest if you like. However, the Supreme Court said that it can’t be at the cost of inconveniencing”.
To which, a confused Sharma protested, “But that wasn’t my question”. Bhatia, however, seemed lost in his own world and took off on, “Tera mera rishta la ilah illa allah” (our relationship…).
Aaj Tak’s anchor Anjana Om Kashyap was inventive in her line of questioning: “BJP ka Shree Ram v/s AAP ka Bajrangbali?”
In the discussion that followed, Congress’ Salman Nizami descended to polemics: “Politics in our country has really touched a low point,” he said.
“If you are getting Ram and Hanuman in a conversation about politics, it means that you don’t have anything else to debate about,” he explained.
Nidhi Razdan on NDTV 24×7 asked Naresh Gujral, Akali Dal MP, “What are the national implications of AAP’s massive win?” Pat came a bland reply, “These elections prove that if you stick to your promises and deliver, people will vote for you.” Gujral added, “You also mustn’t have a negative agenda”. Was he pointing a finger at ally BJP?
Times Now spent Wednesday at a summit, its own as it happens, the 2020 Times Now Summit. Not unnaturally, prime time was devoted to the Prime Minister who delivered a stirring speech. Modi said, “I want to request all of you to not forget the ones who sacrificed their lives to make India independent.”
Earlier, in conversation with anchor Rahul Shivshankar, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “If we finish criminal defamation, think about what people would get away with.”
“Do you think the Law Minister should keep silent about this?” he asked, rhetorically. On the need for social media freedom, Prasad said, “You seem to be talking in the air. Come to the ground and see how people are abusing the platform of free expression and media.”
Republic’s target of the evening shifted from Shaheen Bagh and the `Vadra Congress’ to the freebies given away by the Kejriwal government ahead of the Delhi elections.
And hear this: anchor Arnab Goswami declared with a completely straight face: “People of Delhi are happy with these freebies but at Republic, we believe in a calm discussion.”
“How much can be given for free? It is worrisome because other states feel that Kejriwal has a political jackpot and they must follow,” Goswami added.
Sambit Patra, BJP spokesperson, got rather emotional about subsidies: “Subsidy and mindless subsidy need to be differentiated. We have to wipe out the tears on the last man of the queue. That’s what governance must achieve.”
India Today’s anchor and occasional dancer Rajdeep Sardesai spoke to newly-elected AAP MLAs, Raghav Chadha and Atishi. Sardesai asked Atishi, “You were trailing for a moment and then pulled ahead — was there ever a moment where you felt that you might not be able to make it.”
Atishi chuckled but looked relieved. “We knew we will get a lot of votes (in) the latter part of the constituency. We were always confident that we would win by a comfortable margin.”
Asked about rumours that he would be appointed Finance Minister in Kejriwal 2.0 Cabinet, Raghav Chadha was quick to dismiss all political ambition: “I will always just be a foot soldier for the AAP. I joined it as a volunteer. I don’t have any such aspirations.”
With inputs from Shailaja Bajpai