File photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot during a party function in Jaipur | PTI Photo
File photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot during a party function in Jaipur | PTI Photo
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New Delhi: Rajasthan took the centre stage in Tuesday’s prime time debates on most news channels, following Sachin Pilot’s removal from the position of the Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress chief. The party’s spokesperson Pawan Khera made four prime time appearances across Hindi and English channels to convince viewers that Sachin Pilot’s revolt and his subsequent removal were not a result of the party’s dynasty politics and that his ambitions were granted full power by the party. Meanwhile, Mirror Now debated whether university exams should be held amid the pandemic, and News Nation highlighted Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli’s “Ayodhya Kaand.”

First, to Rajasthan. On Aaj Tak‘s ‘Halla Bol’, anchor Anjana Om Kashyap tried her best to start the show on a loud, sensational note by saying that even though Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot had won the first round of political “dangal”, Sachin Pilot hadn’t revealed all of his cards. She wasted no time in asking the BJP’s Sudhanshu Trivedi, “You have started work in Rajasthan?”

Trivedi, equally dramatic, said that the way things have unfolded in the Congress looks like a Bollywood movie. The BJP spokesperson blamed the Gandhi family for dynasty politics, accusing it of insulting young leaders, which ultimately forced them to choose another path.

The second panelist, the Congress’ Pawan Khera, of course, refuted these charges and turned the tables on the BJP by suggesting its leaders should introspect on how they’ve treated L.K. Advani.

Over on News 18 India, anchor Amish Devgan seemed, in his excitement, to have forgotten the meaning of the word ‘exclusive’, as that is what he repeatedly called speculations of the Congress’ fate after Pilot’s ouster. He screamed enthusiastically that the grand old party had given a “zor ka jhatka” to Pilot.

On the show, the BJP’s Gaurav Bhatia left no stone unturned to accuse and ridicule the Congress over the entire political fiasco and the alleged snatching of keys of a Bharatiya Tribal Party MLA by the Rajasthan police when he, along with a colleague, tried to leave Jaipur. The two MLAs had withdrawn their support from the Gehlot government. Bhatia called it an example of “Rajasthan’s gunda raj.”

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“#CongressSacksPilot in a tectonic move,” said NewsX while asking if the Congress’ future was ‘saved or stymied’. Anchor Vineet Malhotra asked if Pilot could have been sacked without Rahul Gandhi’s agreement and if the BJP would induct Pilot into the party.

Congress spokesperson Radhika Khera sidestepped the issue and turned on the BJP, obviously. “We are currently battling with Covid, we are battling with China, but for the BJP, the nation does not matter. They only want to topple the governments because of their love for power”.

BJP leader Raman Malik countered, “The Congress party has been on the path of vertical split like a virus. It is not about Sachin Pilot or about BJP, but it is about democratic values.”

Over on NDTV 24×7, anchor Sreenivasan Jain wondered if the Sachin Pilot genuinely has more support in terms of numbers and what his options were. Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor at NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad, believed the numbers as they stand right now, show an advantage to veteran Gehlot, and added that the anti-defection law is not working in this scenario.

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate took a moderate view, saying, “Everybody should be ambitious. But you’ve to temper your ambition so that you don’t start harming yourself and your own house.”

Meanwhile, News Nation‘s Deepak Chaurasia eschewed the obvious Rajasthan debate in favour of Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli’s comments that the “real” Ayodhya is in Nepal and Lord Ram is Nepali. Slamming Oli for his “Ayodhya Kaand”, Chaurasia said that Oli had hurt the sentiments of Hindus, on instructions by his “Chinese chacha” (his words, not ours). When communist leader and politician Vivek Srivastava said he hadn’t disrespected Lord Ram, an offended Chaurasia replied that the Nepali PM is sitting in China’s “lap”. Not a visual we want to imagine.

Republic TV‘s Arnab Goswami also, surprisingly, avoided Rajasthan and asked#VaccinesByWhen. His panelists included experts from London, Moscow, New York and Mumbai, who talked about recent developments in Covid vaccine trials across the globe.

While Dmitry Kulishl, Professor at Pharmaceutical Practice, Skoltech, said that 80 volunteers had completed the first phase trial in compliance with all global regulations and safety was proven, Dr Debashis B Ghosh, Member of Research Committee for Trials Royal Free London, said, “18 months is the earliest we can look at for a vaccine.”

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