A Rafale fighter aircraft | Credits: www.dassault-aviation.com
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New Delhi: Prime time Monday revolved around the expected arrival of Rafale jets from France on 29 July and Rajasthan’s political goings-on, while some news channels also discussed the interrogation of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt regarding the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. Meanwhile, Ravish Kumar on NDTV India discussed the worsening Covid situation in Uttar Pradesh.

On Times Now, anchor Navika Kumar led the debate on who made the Rafale deal possible— Congress or BJP. The ruling party’s spokesperson Sambit Patra played a recording of former defence minister AK Antony on the Rafale deal in which he said that negotiations were going on but that a shortage of money would delay it. Patra then said, “The (UPA) government sat on the file on negotiations for 10 long years because the only policy of the then government (when AK Antony was the Defence Minister) was ‘no work, no headache’.”

Political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla supported the Congress: “The Rafale deal was completed in the UPA era. In fact, the Dassault CEO was on record in the consulate a day before PM Modi went to France and said the deal is 95 per cent complete, PM Modi only has to sign it.”

On CNN News18‘s ‘News Epicentre’, anchor Marya Shakil asked actor Shekhar Suman about Sushant Singh Rajput and the options that today’s actors have in OTT platforms. “Are they more fortunate than you were?” she asked.

Suman responded, “I guess so, but I think I am more fortunate because I am alive. Sushant had to lose his life because he became big. I have been saying this right from the beginning, this is not suicide. It’s homicide…”

Shakil made an even stranger point by asking, “But why can’t this be seen as suicide? Why are you calling it homicide, you know how resilient Biharis are.” Huh?

NDTV 24×7‘s Sreenivasan Jain asked Rajasthan Congress head Govind Singh Dotastra, “All your MLAs are in the Fairmont Hotel near Jaipur, which is not cheap. It is a luxury hotel. You have been there for almost 20 days. Who is footing the bill for this?”

Dotastra first evaded the question and said that all the MLAs were footing the bill themselves but then counter-questioned and asked, “But you also must ask why is the BJP footing the bill of Sachin Pilot and the MLAs with him?”

Zee News’ headline read ‘Shri Ram ke desh mein Rafale ka swagat’ (Rafale’s welcome to the land of Lord Ram), referring to the arrival of the jets at the Air Force Station in Ambala. “Rafale will be welcomed in Ambala with full swag”, said anchor Aman Chopra, standing near CGI-generated graphics of the Rafale jet in the middle of the studio.

Air Marshal (Retd) Raghunath Nambiar called it the best aircraft in the sky at this time, and said that its entry into India at this juncture is very important.

Lt General (retd) Shankar Prasad said that Rafale is a game-changer. “God forbid if India-China get into a war, the first weapon to be launched will be a Rafale jet,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, News Nation’s Deepak Chaurasia thought that freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad’s janeu (sacred thread) was a most important piece of information to share with viewers.

“Why did the Left get offended about Azad being called a ‘janeudhaari’ (one who wears the thread)”, was the burning question of the day thrown by Chaurasia, referring to certain tweets.

Political analyst Satish Prakash said freedom fighters are beyond any caste and religion. Lyricist Manoj Muntashir, who had started the online debate by calling Azad ‘Tiwari and Janeudhaari’, defended his own secularism by saying that he had had an inter-caste marriage and removed Shukla from his last name and replaced it with an Urdu word. “You cannot say I am casteist.” Duly noted.

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