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Urdu press hails Bharat Jodo as ‘historic’, asks what’s next for Congress

ThePrint’s round-up of how the Urdu media covered various news events through the week, and the editorial positions some of them took.

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New Delhi: Although the apparent emergence of a non-Congress, non-BJP grouping at a rally organised by Telangana Chief Minister KCR’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) generated much enthusiasm in the Urdu media, it couldn’t take away attention from the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is now nearing its end.

Between Bharat Jodo and the BRS rally at Khammam — an event that was attended by a host of opposition leaders — much was made of the possibilities of opposition unity during the 2024 general elections and the role of Congress. 

Among other issues that drew the Urdu press’s attention were the tussle between the Modi government and the Supreme Court, the BJP national executive meeting, and the death of the last nizam of Hyderabad. 

ThePrint brings you a wrap of the news that made the Urdu press this week.

Also Read: ‘Babri ruling opened floodgates for lawsuits like Gyanvapi’, says Urdu press quoting ex SC judge

Opposition unity 

On 19 January, Roznama Rashtriya Sahara’s front page report said that a public rally convened by BRS saw the participation of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab and Kerala counterparts, Bhagwant Mann, and Pinarayi Vijayan.

A report carried by Inquilab the same day called the rally a “show of strength” by the opposition. The story was carried alongside a photograph of KCR, Kejriwal, Mann, and Vijayan. Also in the picture were Communist Party of India’s D Raja and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

A 20 January editorial in Siasat said that the rally was touted to be an opposition show of unity and that public opinion of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has changed after its electoral performance in Gujarat ended up benefiting BJP tremendously. 

The paper also wrote that while many regional parties are standing with the Congress, many others are also opposed to it. Under these circumstances, unless parties remain flexible, opposition unity wouldn’t be possible. 

However, the biggest news from the opposition camp continued to come from the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which has now entered Jammu & Kashmir. 

In its 17 January editorial, Inquilab wondered “What after Yatra”. The editorial said that the yatra wasn’t over yet but nobody had any doubts about it being a historic initiative.

The piece also commended the “administrative acumen” that went into the management of the yatra, adding that it has been a “success” despite efforts from the very beginning to malign it. 

The same day, Inquilab, in its front page lead story, reported Rahul Gandhi’s statement that he would rather be beheaded than strike a compromise with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). 

Siasat’s front page lead story on 20 January said that the yatra had entered the state. The news was carried along with a photo of Rahul Gandhi and former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah, with the latter holding a golden mace. 

In a related editorial on Rahul’s rejection of the possibility of his cousin Varun joining the party, Inquilab said that while there could be a view that the latter’s inclusion could benefit the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, there were more disadvantages than advantages to such a move. It added that given the public perception of Varun, it would make sense for the Congress to keep him away.

Farmer suicides 

News of farmer suicides in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region also found its way to the front pages of Urdu newspapers.   

On 16 January, Sahara, quoting government officials, reported that 1,023 farmers had died by suicide in 2022 — up from 887 in 2021.  

In an editorial the same day, Sahara wrote that reports on farmer suicides keep trickling in but they never become matters of serious political debate. 

There has been a change in the pattern of farmer suicides, the editorial said, with more incidents now being reported between December to June as opposed to July to October previously. 

The paper said that although the government makes policies for farmers, there’s no system to survey their effect.

Govt vs SC

The ongoing tussle between the Union government and the judiciary on judge appointments continued to make it to the front pages of the Urdu press. 

On 16 January, Sahara quoted Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal as saying that the government was trying to take control of the judiciary — the last standing pillar of India’s democracy.

On 17 January, the paper gave prominent coverage to the ongoing issue. A report on its front page said that Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had written to Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud asking for a government representative on a panel to advise the SC collegium on appointment of judges.

An inset in the paper reported Congress leader Jairam Ramesh as accusing the government of trying to intimidate the judiciary. 

Inquilab, too, reported the law minister’s suggestion on the front page as well as Congress’s response to it. In addition, the paper reported Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal as calling such a move “dangerous”.

BJP national executive

The BJP’s national executive meeting in New Delhi also got front-page overage.  

On 17 January, Sahara reported BJP national president J P Nadda as saying that 2023 is a very important year for the party, given that there were nine assembly elections it has to “fight and win” this year. 

Next day, it reported that Nadda would remain party president. The BJP had decided that Nadda would lead it into the 2024 general elections, the report said.  

On 18 January, Inquilab gave page one play to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive that BJP workers must reach out to all sections of society, including minorities and marginalised communities. The report quoted the PM as having emphasised the spirit of service ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections and also speaking about the implementation of the government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ programme.

The last nizam

The death of Mir Barkat Ali Khan Siddiqi Mukarram Jah, the eighth and last nizam of Hyderabad — was carried on Siasat’s front page for much of the week. The paper is based in Hyderabad. 

Jah, 89, died in Istanbul on 12 January. His last rites were conducted in Hyderabad. 

Sahara also carried the news of his death on 16 January. In addition to the news, the paper also reported that the Telangana government under KCR had decided to accord the former royal state honours.  

Another report on Sahara’s front page the next day said that the Nizam’s body had been kept at Chowmahalla Palace for the public to pay their last respects. Chowmahalla Palace was the seat of power of the nizams of Hyderabad. 

On 18 January, Siasat reported that KCR paid his respects to the former royal. 

The same day, Sahara reported that Jah’s body had been brought to Hyderabad and that he would be buried that day in the historic Mecca Masjid.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: Is Raghuram Rajan Congress’s next Manmohan, asks Urdu press as RBI ex-governor joins Bharat Jodo


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