New Delhi: The drama in Rajasthan continues to be the stuff of primetime drama, with Times Now and NDTV 24×7 getting an exclusive interview with Sachin Pilot’s campers, while India Today debated whether the whole thing was just an ego battle. Meanwhile, Mirror Now focused on India’s intolerance for comedy, especially by women. In all this, India’s handling of Covid, of course, is no longer a primetime priority.
India Today‘s Rajdeep Sardesai dived straight in and asked the Congress’ star spokesperson Pawan Khera, “Is the Rajasthan political crisis an ego battle between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot or is it the inability of your central leadership to enforce even a modicum of discipline?”
Khera dodged the question by saying it was easy to label any issue one of ego. “Whenever there are two or more able leaders in a party, they will have their own style of doing things and decision-making. It should be taken exactly on face value.” Khera also lashed out at the BJP, of course, calling it “regimental in nature, where one man’s grit decides everything else. In Congress, you witness life.” At least someone thinks so.
Over to Times Now, where anchor Navika Kumar discussed the Rajasthan drama with Pilot supporter MLA Harish Chandra Meena. “Ashok Gehlot claims he has the required number of MLAs and is waving the victory sign. How many MLAs do you have?” Doesn’t this remind you of Sholay‘s Gabbar Singh demanding to know “Kitne aadmi thhe?”
The MLA responded “Where we are staying right now and the people around me, there are more than 30 of us. We are near Delhi and we are sure of what we are up to. We have independents as well as others. It is premature to reveal more information.”
Mirror Now‘s primetime hour focused on the rape threats issued to a female comic in response to a segment she wrote on a Quora thread on 17th-century Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The first response of Maharashtra govt was to order action — not against the man who threatened rape, but against her.
“Unfortunately, that is what it has come to. When men take to social media and abuse women, give rape threats, no action is taken unless there’s an outrage. Why this selective action?” asked anchor Tanvi Shukla.
“It is beginning to feel like we are becoming one of the most dangerous places in the world, for women. It has literally gone from I am offended by this to let’s rape a woman,” said comedian Radhika Vaz, while the (thankfully) only male comic on the panel, Azeem Banatwalla, said “The only thing these people have is their identity. And when that is challenged, it creates insecurity and it is expressed as anger, which is misdirected,” he added.
Coming to Hindi news, NDTV India‘s Ravish Kumar didn’t travel to Rajasthan but chose, instead, to highlight prisoners’ rights. In his usual heavy-duty, declamatory style, he asked, “The public needs to think about something, is it still truly the public? If it still is the public, then what should its responsibilities and equation be with respect to the nation state? And what should be the basis of the supposed responsibilities?” Got it?
He then came to the point by citing the cases of Varavara Rao, Kafeel Khan and Akhil Gogoi who are all in prison. Kumar detailed how Telugu poet Rao has been imprisoned for 22 months in the Bhima Koregaon incident without a trial and how his health is fast deteriorating.
Referring to others in jail for Bhima Koregaon, like Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha, Kumar took off again on his monologue filled with rhetorical questions: “One waits for justice. But this is not merely a wait, one needs to understand the gravity on the situation as well. Is it serious because you want someone to rot in jail for months and years? If the case is so serious why hasn’t the trial begun despite 22 months having passed?”
In contrast, on ABP News, national affairs expert Abhigyan Prakash was in casual weekend mode, it seemed. During a debate on the Rajasthan crisis, he even lit up a cigarette and proceeded to smoke it. A whole mood, as people say, but of course, the Twitterati weren’t having it.
What is more dangerous: Cigarette or ABP news? pic.twitter.com/VDAsyaQbHr
— Doland J. Trump (@NamasteTrumpy) July 13, 2020
Least injurious thing happening on the shit-of-box these days. #smokingthrills #abpnews https://t.co/a2HM4mXnN7
— TeeAe ✨ (@issatuba) July 13, 2020
On the debate, news anchor Romana Isar Khan asked Prakash about the power tussle between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot to which Prakash said, “The central problem here is the central leadership of the Congress party.” He added that Pilot left Delhi and shifted to Rajasthan to build the party there. And how, despite a BJP wave in the country, the Congress came to power in Rajasthan.
Senior journalist Alok Mehta had a pessimistic view of the Gehlot-Pilot standoff, saying, “There is so much bitterness now that despite being in the same party (if they continue to do so), they will always be suspicious of each other.”