Modi’s tryst with the Media-a factual analysis


“Portrayal of negativity is fine. But optimism is the oxygen we require so much.”-a BJP sympathizer told me yesterday. The direct sources of communication which the Prime Minister employs to connect with the republic is not only a euphemism of articulated democracy, but it only shows how the view of Modi towards the media has only forged greater indigence and lesser empathy. The name of Modi got scuffled with controversies, as the inner party mechanism sabotaged him as a trouble maker within Gujarat in the initial 1990’s after the historic Rathyatra. Modi was packed off to the national capital where he resided along with other pracharaks and ate in a common mess.

Modi got what he likes and he was made the go to man in the media cell. Rajdeep Sardesai in his book on the 2014 elections show the affinity they shared while Modi was in Delhi and Sardesai in NDTV. “I would call Narendrabhai, whenever we were freed of the pleasure of spokespersons of the saffron end. And invariably he would turn up.” The bonhomie which Modi inculcated with the media flagged of humour and light heartedness . On NDTV, in the show “the Big Fight” Modi pitched for the title of Islamic Terrorism. He lambasted Rafiq Zakaria, eminent Islamic scholar and Congress leader.

But there is a caveat or a corollary. Modi even then irrespective of his bonhomie attacked the “pseudo-secular media”. He roared,”It has taken so long for the pseudo secular media of India to acknowledge the existence of Islamic terrorism.” Siddharth Vardarajan, then with TOI also seem to take on the future PM. But Modi, with his rocky eyes seem to come out as the macho speaker in the otherwise sensitive, volatile debate. The charisma only seemed to better itself in the years to come. Interestingly, though Modi had great inhibitions against the left of centre NDTV pattern of media, he approached a person who flaunted himself as nothing but a pseudo-secular.

His name is Vinod Mehta. Modi, to believe the enfante terrible Mehta supplied the editor papers against Keshubhai, who had reportedly failed to carry on effective administration and relief with the Bhuj Earthquake. “The next thing I heard, was that Narendra Modi has become CM in Keshubhai’s place” tells Mehta in his memoir sequel- Editor Unplugged. The conflict between Keshubhai and Modi was well known. But the way the media seemed to have engaged itself as a party to the situation makes an interesting read.

If you consider these initial years of Modi and Media, you will find it a bit mismatched to the reality in the present. Like most politicians on power, Modi is not cushy towards criticism. But the media with its own vigour has reposed little morality, to take a larger ground on ethical magnanimity. The Niira Radia scandal has only proved how hollow journalism as a profession has become. Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi, Prabhu Chawla as well as Vajpayee son in law Ranjan Bhattacharya are interesting characters in convoluted, power struggle the journos are part of today.

But here lies an antithesis. No politician discovered #Barkhagate as it came to be known on a then relatively new nascent Twitter. It was Manu Joseph and Vinod Mehta who exposed the hurly burly of power broking to which a largely self-interest driven media honchos are part of. Media has always been arrogant. Take for instance, what Dileep Padgaonkar said about his profession. “I do the second most important job in the country after that of the Prime Minister” he said, with greater snobbery and lesser self-restraint. However blaming Arnab Goswami is like comparing apples and oranges.

A man who exposed the CWG, 2G, JijaG was threatened to be censored by the erstwhile political dispensation under the Congress. He never budged. So to expect him to stay mum, while our Shiv Sena supported PM candidate (who now is in charge of the Lalit Mess) fails to practise propriety which she preached as LOP is unconvincing. To be intrinsically frank, both the Media and the Modi Government have flaws and favours-both have had their honeymoon. Now, we should look for grounds of ethical governance rather than mudslinging at each other. The cyber army of Modi must also be taught to express restraint, rather than abusing specific journos and celebrities who fail to agree with the Government on a number of issues. To call the Vice President a “jihadi” has to be condemned in the strongest of terms. If the Government fails to do it, voices of dissent must arise. To quote the “Flood of Fire” author, “what is left of free speech, if there is no space of criticism?”

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Smriti Irani: empty vessels rattle much….more


Deadlock,revulsion,incompetence,snobbery,arrogance,cryptic-these adjectives summarize how my Human Resource Development Minister has performed in the last one year.When the party with a “difference” talked about a rejuvinated,rebuilt India,we bought their arguments,we bought their views,we bought their oratory,and above all we cultured around Narendra Modi,who was a “chaiwala” challenging the quid-pro-quo and stereo-types plaguing the system for long. The charismatic Tulsi of “Kyunki……” fame presented herself as articulated,humble yet a challenger hard to suppress. Yes,she was the woman who excreted vile on the Vikaas Purush after Godhra,yet she cloaked no apprehensions about admitting her “mistake”. Her great affinity to the Gujarat CM gave her a Rajya Sabha seat. It gave her greater marketing as being Modi’s right hand woman.

Smriti Irani took upon herself as the sole challenger to Sushma Swaraj as the lead female in Modi’s cabinet. What came forward? A typical DNA of enfante horribilis.Both today may slip out of their respected jobs-one for breaching the lakshman-rekha of ethical wisdom,other for allegedly not even being standardized to view the Lakhshman-rekha. Education ministry in the last one year has shown many instances of immaturity and diverse prospects of being cowed down by elements of Nagpur. As the PM was busy giving what now seems to be idealistic, hollow,superficial oratory,the position of Smriti is said to have become untenable. The country definitely deserves a better educational advisor than the short sighted, myopic individual called Dinanath Batra. Incidentally as he preaches on his bigoted history lessons based on hard Hindutva,a modern lady with a past of being a finalist of the leading beauty pageant seems to absorb them with ease and cheese.

As  you saw Smriti Irani cavalcading the BJP attack on the Newshour, you felt the fire that this woman possesses in her belly. You could loath on her sharpness of mind,on the intensity of her political will.Still,she seems to garner utter disappointment. The woman who had the courage to speak up against zealotised Sanjay Nirupam,did not utter a word as Giriraj Singh sang his usual obsolete,nonsense and in particular racist rant against Sonia Gandhi. See the history of see-saws. This same woman stood in the Parliament against Sharad Yadav when he lambasted his innocuous knowledge on busty South Indian woman. No body stood to support her on the floor. When later asked about this indifference of her own Party members in the Parliament,Smriti dodged it off. ‘I am not a Political Cinderella’-she said

If my memory serves me right, in KBC 2nd Season Smriti Irani came with Sakshi Tanwar to play the Amitabh hosted show. There she spoke of how an astrologer through his panditgiri had earlier invalidated her dreams of becoming an actress. Almost a decade later, Smriti Irani went to see an astrologer who to believe the tabloish tone, had predicted one day the HRD Minister will become the head of the state of India-to put it more simply she would be the President of the country. Introducing Sanskrit in place of German seemed to serve little purpose as entire education structure stared at hypermetric funeral. The saffron bumchums for the time being had to retreat. The ego and blatant robbery of humbleness seemed another problem as Smriti went after the secretaries of her department. A senior official in the Government says”Smriti madam,does not allow the officials to settle down. She lectures the secretaries on what they should do and what they should restrain themselves from. She does not like being asked or interrogated”.Smriti Irani reportedly has changed half a dozen bureaucrats from her department.

Coming to lecture part. Even today after being in the political dispensation for 12 years,it seems uncertain which was the institution Smriti can adjudge the title of alma mater to?

“She studied up to class 12 at Holy Child Auxilium School and discontinued further education.[7][8] Irani has herself provided conflicting affidavits of her educational qualifications. In 2004, she submitted that she had obtained a graduate degree in Arts (B.A, 1996) from Delhi University (School of Correspondence); and in 2014, she submitted that she had completed a part of a graduate degree in Commerce (Part I B.Com, 1994) from Delhi University.[9] Furthermore, a leak from the School of Correspondence, as reported by a newspaper, claims that Irani had enrolled in 2013, but had not written her examination”-this is what Wikipedia says about her educational qualification which seems to crucify the Modi Government lately.

B.A and B.Com don’t really share a honeymoon. A commerce and an Arts Graduate may add well to the documentation of Curriculum Vitae, but twin-in one production is limited till now to ice creams only. School of correspondence also seems to gel rather uneasily with Smriti’s aura. Smriti Irani volatilised the situation to the hilt,when she lambasted about having a degree from Yale University. To believe my eternal vigilance,it was basically a crash course which not only Irani but a host of other MP’s went through in 2013. The leadership programme lasted for 6 days where Irani’s counterpart was TDP’s S Ramesh. Democracy and nuclear non-proliferation were reportedly the topics exercised.How happy would have been my mother had she known a degree is nowadays available from Yale in 6 days!Infact 11 politicians from national and regional political parties participated in the crash course.

Now a Delhi court has found merit in the entire mango pickle surrounding the minister. A case filed by Ahmer Khan,a freelance writer and represented by lawyer KK Manan were successful in patronising the first big setback for the Minister. The otherwise intrinsically frank Smriti, got carried away while being asked about her qualification. Madhu Kishwar,another controversial Modi enthusiast had difficulty in accepting Smriti Irani’s appointment.Well life is not always a Uday chopra film-sometimes applying logic is an obligation more than a necessity.

Author’s crisp thought-Smriti ji try something constructive,rather than only competing in Amethi with the Gandhi scion……..

Propriety,Politicians and Presstitutes-part I


Propriety is better preached than practised. And it has never been an unholy sport played by a single political player. Over and over again,such a stance has been displayed-many a times with utmost disgrace by the netas of this country. The matter of accommodation of a number of instances of nepotism has always been a pre established fact. Those, who today sign up for facebook and hope to change the country must remember that such a rot has always been there-most of the times not embodied by any sense of moral justification.

At a point of time,when P.H.D degrees can be won over at 2 lakh bucks without submitting a single thesis,the mask of social justice seems to be embroidered with immorality and disgust. Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was one of the most infamous and iconic characters of the mid 80’s disempowered the slide mandate behind Rajiv’s victory. The concocted view of impropriety that the opposition including the 2 MP backed Bharatiya Janata Party thundered seems today nothing but a matter of mere story telling.

The matter of morality has always in some way or the other exposed itself to be a relative term of sorts. The Kashmir issue for Musharraf is based on morality, while the same pendulum seems to sing a different tune in the case of Gilgit-Baltistan.But,somehow the case of propriety seemed to have been a major USP,that the Modi Government had set out to champion. The Modi speech at Shanghai calling for a #scamfreeIndia stands today critically challenged in front of an armoured opposition.

Author's crisp thought:Hope the Foreign minister is not threatening to slap arnab Goswami!
Author’s crisp thought:Hope the Foreign minister is not threatening to slap Arnab Goswami!

Sushma Swaraj has been a major disappointment for a party which failed to take her into confidence initially when Modi was being elevated. I heard Rajdeep sardesai,on the shapath day on the 26th in the month of May last year getting somewhat enamoured and slightly surprised at the fact that Sushma was being engaged into the PM’s confidant-ship. Swaraj who promised to shave her hair,lest Sonia became PM could have thought little that her image in 2015 will prove to be a slander towards her nationalistic credentials.

Swaraj, who is known for her unrelenting oratorical machismo,had stood for morality during the December rape of 2012. However, now when she is the subject of cacophony and immorality,her preceding stance seems to haunt her. The sati-savitri stereo-typed image which till today emboldened her stature in a ultra dominant male world till a few days back was admirable. Alas! no more it seems.

Sushma’s daughter Bansuri and husband Swaraj Kaushal have been legal counsels to a fugitive called Lalit Modi. The man who fortunately for idolent people like me made cricket more of an entertainment was always under the scanner for his not so clean vests. But what is all the more intriguing a fact is the PR rifles that the not so fair both personally and facially Modi has. While, Rajdeep Sardesai was getting wined and dined-to quote the acid tongued Arnab Goswami , it was surprising for me how Lalit to believe Rajdeep had made friends with politicians in Cuba.

author's crisp thought: Nicotine does ease tension!
author’s crisp thought: Nicotine does ease tension!

The lack of judgement being exercised by the External Affairs Minister by partially bailing out Lalit on the grounds of humanity has fewer buyers after repeated exposes. Sushma infact panicked after the Times Now broke the story at 9:07 a.m on the 14th of the month. The Portuguese research centre whose quality of treatment allows a patient to party post two days of operation was a must have for the ex IPL Czar. And Sushma whose family connections bisected that of Modi’s could not forbid the appeal of Modi.

The Bigger Question-Did the Prime Minister know??? A man who has always showcased himself to be someone with absolute control over the Government can’t afford to say that he was negligent of the fact while he toured the foreign countries taking upon himself the role of Sushma, A man, who was so intricately absolved in the articulating external affairs was indifferent to the matter of quid-pro-quo carried by one of his own top 4 ministers? Sushma was only a few days back being honoured as one of the most successful ministers. So the review system must have faulted somewhere.

Kirti Azad tweets...
Author’s crisp thought:Sabotage angle? Swapan Dasgupta don’t get offended!

When the tweet of Kirti Azad mentioning the hashtag #asteenkasaanp appeared it did provide a compelling story into the divided family of the BJP. The role of Indian surrogate Keeth Vaz has also sqandered troubling questions. Propriety,it seems is something the BJP can now sacrifice with ease. Troubles it seems awaits the already infected malady….

The beard is burning-Naqvi at his hillarious best…….


Well politicians often make lesser sense than Rakahi Sawant.Yesterday,AAJ TAK Manthan was party to one such peculiar instances.The so called Muslim face of the BJP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi showed how the mentality of this Government was no better than Saif Ali Khan’s Humshakals.While,a mud slinging match was taking its toll between Naqvi and Owaisi senior, moderated by a seldom irritated Rajdeep Sardesai,a bombshell awaited a mixed audience.

It is said that once the ultra nationalist,anti Muslim progeny MS Golwalkar took up the issue of Hindutva and beef with Verghese Kurien,the “Milkman of India”. The Sarsanghchalak said to Kurien,”you know something……all this hubble and bubble surrounding beef ban is nothing but just a game of politics.” Well,well,well I cannot authenticate the statement nor can I virtually declare the mood of jest and humour which may have led to the remark.

But if this was the real mentality of a RSS stalwart,the great sacrifice of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Shyama Prasad Mookherjee may be nothing for the BJP,but a mere lip service to vote bank politics.The agitation against cow slaughter in the 1960’s by the Jan Sangh had few buyers and still lesser rational advocates.even the JanSangh leader,who is today the Bharat Ratna not only distanced himself from the entire issue,but he also trivialized the Right wingers for their short sightedness,

The fringe elements have enjoyed cosy atmosphere in the last 365 days.More than that,the sense of denial coming from the Home Minister of this country was not only expected,but to some extent unacceptable.Turning a blind eye to the evils does not make the matter any less docile.An angry Naqvi thundered that if a person cannot survive without beef, he is most welcome to go to Pakistan.It seems that the BJP has some kind of nostalgia for the so called Land Of the Pure.

Giriraj Singh,whose physique can be matched with a Bollywoodi villain,dared the people who don’t want Modi as PM to go to Pakistan.The Prime Minister called a couple of politicians agents of Pakistan including a minister of the Union Government who came from Kerala.The statement that the half pant Minister of Parliamentary Affairs made is nothing but a self mockery of himself.The caviet being that Modi should be ready to meet a hibernated Congress breathing new life.

Perhaps,Naqvi is eyeing for the cabinet berth which he hopes will diffuse to him in the times to come. Najma Heptullah,already is nearing the expiry date required to be a Modi confidant in his cabinet. The ferocity with which Naqvi fired his arsenals,seems to be a very well crafted endeavour to climb up the peeking order of the RSS and the Sangh Parivaar. The Tamasha that this Government has shown will give a hard fight to Rahul Gandhi’s ordinance machismo.The beard is burning. Naqviji,Contact the local RSS cadre from UP.And don’t forget to invite me to your Home Return-sorry! Ghar Wapsi!

the hue and the cry………365 days(the Beginning)


The expectations of the people climbed up the ladder post the 2014 elections.The long drawn battle between a stereo typed Congress and a jubilant BJP had sealed the fate of the elections long back. Rajdeep Sardesai,the then Editor-in-Chief of the IBN Network had commenced the Election Tracker as early as July,2013 itself.Though it gave a slight edge of the NDA over the UPA,the rise of a third front seemed imminent.But the equations saw a rapid change as the chant for Modi was looming large on the BJP National Executive.

Troubled letters from the patriarch Advani and discontent shown by miniature coterie of yesteryear stalwarts and PM aspirants failed to stop the juggernaut that had already started rolling.The rest as they say is history. The empowerment of Modi as the chief of the election campaign and later in September as the Presidential candidate in a Parliamentary election brought out the best of the energy of the Gujarat CM with the riots being completely overshadowed by the charisma and enigma surrounding his oratory and punchlines hard to forget.

But that was the rhetoric of the elections.Now after spending 365 days under the rule of what Diggy Singh and Journo Kumar Ketkar(a habituated Modi Basher) call a N.R.I PM,one over the wallet can profess satisfaction to a great level.There is a certain perception that something at least is being done to empower and publicize the brand of India.Well India Shining was a similar brand built on the impulses of an young,aspirant India. Pramod Mahajan,at that point of time was the second in command to Vajpayee in many ways.

Nitish Kumar in an interview said

“The only time I was overconfident in winning elections was in 2004.Pramod Mahajan took me to a room.There was the technically superior components handling the elections of a globalised India.”

But history proved otherwise. The NDA faced a shock defeat with Vajpayee putting the blame squarely on Modi for the loss.So hype and PR exercises can also be detrimental for a public figure.This is something that Modi should be vigilant about in the future.The great number of MOUs being signed with foreign countries to me is a positive change.At last the people of this country feel,that they don’t have a lame duck government.But hysteria and hype many a times are shortlived.The astounding victory and the shock defeat of Indira Gandhi in 1972 and 1977 prove that.Hope the Prime Minister excludes such tendency,in case they prop up…..