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Why’s BJP taking words of man it often called irrelevant so seriously: Urdu press on Rahul speech row

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: As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to target Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and demand an apology over his remarks in the UK earlier this month, the ensuing logjam in Parliament kept the Urdu press busy throughout this week. 

During his visit to the University of Cambridge, Rahul had claimed that democracy in India was under attack by the ruling dispensation. The remarks have resulted in pandemonium in Parliament, with leaders from the ruling BJP demanding an apology for having “denigrated” India on foreign soil.  

In addition to the chaos in Parliament, the bail granted to former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family, the performance of Indian productions at the 95th Academy Awards, and the arrest warrant against former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan were among the other issues on the front page. 

ThePrint brings you a weekly roundup of the news that made headlines on the front pages of prominent Urdu newspapers this week. 

Also Read: Communal tensions have already hurt India’s image: Urdu press on row over Rahul’s Cambridge speech

Parliament logjam

The BJP’s protests against Rahul’s comments in the UK continued to remain the principal focus throughout the week. 

In its lead report on 14 March, Roznama Rashtriya Sahara said noisy scenes were witnessed in both Houses of Parliament. 

The same day, Siasat quoted Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge as asking Piyush Goyal, the leader of the House, how he and his party could continue to target Rahul, a member of Lok Sabha, in the other House. Rules, he told Goyal, don’t permit a member of one House to be attacked in another. 

In its editorial titled ‘Using Parliament for Political Gains’ on 15 March, Siasat said it wasn’t right to push issues of public importance to the background while protesting against  Rahul’s remarks. Both the Treasury and the Opposition benches, the paper wrote, should refrain from wasting Parliament’s time.

On 16 March, Sahara reported that the Opposition was united on the row surrounding American short seller Hindenburg’s alleged revelations about the Adani Group. The fight, the report said, had spilled onto the street, with 200 MPs from 17 opposition parties participating in a protest march toward the office of the Enforcement Directorate that the Delhi Police eventually stopped at Vijay Chowk. 

Inquilab and Siasat, too, carried the news as their lead.

In its editorial on 16 March, Inquilab was critical of the BJP’s decision to protest over Rahul’s remarks. Never before, the editorial said, has Parliament’s proceedings been stalled, not by the Opposition, but by the Treasury bench. 

The BJP, the editorial said, must explain why it took the words of a man they have repeatedly called irrelevant so seriously. 

On 17 March, Sahara reported that no business could be transacted in either House of Parliament for the fourth consecutive day. 

A separate report in the same paper quoted Rahul as saying that he would respond to allegations made in Parliament in the same forum. 

Siasat, meanwhile, carried Rahul’s press conference as its main report of the day. In this article, the Congress leader was quoted as saying that his statements weren’t against the country and that the Modi government was avoiding questions on Adani by raking this up in Parliament.

Oscar wins

Telugu superhit soundtrack ‘Naatu Naatu’ won Best Original Song at the 95th Academy Award on 13 March, while the Tamil documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ won the award for Best Documentary Short Film. 

The victories made not only the front pages of all three Urdu newspapers but were also much talked about in editorials. 

On 14 March, Sahara said in its report that India made history by winning two Oscars. The report was carried alongside a photo of the Oscar recipients. 

Siasat, a Hyderabad-based newspaper, also carried the news on its front page.

In its editorial of the same day, the newspaper said that while it’s true that several Indians such as costume designer and painter Bhanu Athaiya, filmmaker Satyajit Ray, music composer and director A.R. Rehman, and sound designer Resul Pookutty won Oscars in the past, nobody, apart from Ray (who got a lifetime achievement award), had got it while working for an Indian film. 

That’s why the success of the song ‘Naatu Naatu’ from the Telugu film ‘RRR’ and of the documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ will encourage Indian filmmakers, Siasat’s editorial said.

Lalu & land-for-jobs scam 

The probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family in the alleged land-for-jobs scam also made front-page headlines. 

The scam, which allegedly involves acquiring large parcels of land at throwaway prices in exchange for railway jobs, pertains to a time when Lalu was the railways minister, that is, between 2004 and 2009. 

On 14 March, Inquilab reported on its front page that Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said a frightened BJP was trying to scare him. Tejashwi was speaking in light of ED and CBI raids on premises connected with his father Lalu, his mother Rabri Devi, and his sister Misa Bharti.

On 16 March, Siasat and Sahara reported that Lalu, his wife, and daughter were granted bail in the case by a Delhi court. 

H3N2 virus

The ongoing bout of the H3N2 virus and the health advisories from the central government also made the front pages of the Urdu press.  

In an editorial on 11 March, Siasat wrote that there is an immediate need to take measures to deal with the H3N2 influenza and the government’s job couldn’t end with simply asking citizens to take appropriate precautions. 

Doctors have to stay alert, it said, and it has to be ensured that there’s no shortage of oxygen. 

On 15 March, Sahara reported on its front page that at a time when the changing weather was causing many seasonal illnesses, India is facing the dual challenge of H3N2 influenza and the H1N1 swine flu.

On 17 March, Siasat reported that the Centre had written to six states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka — asking them to take measures to control rising Covid cases. 

Imran Khan & Toshakhana case

The drama involving former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan and his alleged involvement in what has now come to be known as the Toshakhana case also made front-page news in the Urdu press.  

On 14 March, Sahara reported that a non-bailable warrant was issued against Khan for threatening a female judge. 

On 15 March, Siasat reported that the Islamabad Police made yet another unsuccessful attempt at arresting Khan. Inquilab reported the situation had become tense. 

On 16 March, Sahara reported that the Lahore High Court stayed Khan’s arrest till 10 am Thursday. 

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: If Rahul’s making false claims about Adani, why isn’t govt rebutting point-by-point: Urdu press


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