Well what should’ve been a primetime press meet enabling the people of the country to hear for themselves what their leader wanted to say was instead held at 11:00AM on a bright and sunny work day bang in the middle of the week. So raises the question – Was this a meet to appease the media ahead of elections in 5 states or was it an effort to make the parliament function for the budget session.
It looked to me as it was all for the media. Editors in chief of the news channels have their own programmes and talk shows in the prime time, inviting them to 7RCR would mean they have to do away with that programme instead calling them in the morning and then letting them having a field day dissecting and interpreting the conference in ways they want is better TRPs. Calling the editors in chief was another completely masterstroke, except Arnab(who actually did) no one else is stupid enough to act smart and make a fool of themselves in such a high profile meet. They are from the DD stable and have much more ethics and self respect that today’s sensation seeking journalists have totally lost.
Well whether for the common man this press conference instilled any confidence or not, I don’t think so. Everyone knows that prime minister alone cannot make policy decisions. This conference gave the complete sense of helplessness the man is facing in leading the country. Coalition politics on one side, whims and fancies of the Gandhi family on the other what is he expected to do. Deep inside he would have been screaming to say yes when the question on whether he wanted to resign ever had come up. The scams he has nothing to say. JPC, PAC or any other committee you setup he will attend and everyone knows that, its just about how the party stands above the person and doesn’t let him do anything.
Leaving aside the actual purpose of this news conference, it was amazing to see the quality of news channels in our country, a small cap of what I saw and heard during the hour long question session –
Asianet – bothered about elections in Kerela, was surprised that the issue of not inviting the CM to the 3 day PM visit was not taken up.
CNN IBN – Rajdeep was sober and smart in his question. After the Arnab episode he too got bitten and started slinging the question. The PM saw some sense in it and decided to answer it.
NDTV – Oh! Pranoy Roy was there too. It wasn’t a soul baring one on one with the PM Mr. Roy.
CNN – Shows how an international news channel has quality, she asked about food inflation and how the poor are coping with it and how the government is acting upon it. Truly a people question I suppose, the answer though was economics rather than populist.
Time Now – Arnab made a fool of himself. Literally. In a room full of journalist and the PM chairing it, you don’t raise your voice, even if your speculations turn out to be true in the course of time. As the mediator put it, it was not an interrogation of the PM and it wasn’t your studios Arnab. You reeked of inexperience and exhibited your need for sensationalism in all your stories. By the way, was wondering why your channel didn’t flash, PM refuses to answer Times Now question or PM deflects Times Now question, maybe him stating facts to you took you by surprise.
Coming to the Hindi News Channels –
DD News – Yes. I am terming it a Hindi news channel as Ms. Neelam decided to ask the question in Hindi even though they were the national network and were telecasting to the entire nation which includes states like TN, Kerela, Karnataka(yes there are places other than Bangalore in that state), AP, Orrisa, etc etc. The question was non-controversial and a comforting question, guess strategically placed between CNN IBN and NDTV so that the PM gets a breather if they did plan to go ballistic.
News 24 – Now please award the lady all the awards that are given to TV shows. In the middle of such shameful and embarrassing issues discussed, she wanted to know which team the PM supported and her supplementary question – Who is his favourite cricketer. Luckily the PM didn’t say Sachin and he said he hoped India won, else the man with already tremendous pressure will have a little more regret when he disappoints a billion and the PM himself at the end of the world cup.
Another news channel – Not all the Hindi channels had dumb editors. This one particular one, forgive my memory, had a damn pertinent question on revolution in the Middle East and whether one was expected in India. The PM had a nice reply that democratization anywhere is acceptable and welcome by India but we wont force feed it to any nation. The second answer he said was that India was a functioning democracy and that it had a committed and free media and freedom of expression that a revolution is not on the cards. Though I would’ve been more happy had he said that the real reason is that no Indian is really bothered about state of affairs in the country and those who do, don’t have the balls to say it in the open(they just blog about it and crib over a glass of beer :P).
Regional channels – the lesser said the better, Sun TV representative asked a question because he was invited there and didn’t know what to ask. Coalition Dharma here too?
All said and done, India is definitely lead by an honest man. A man who is ready to be assessed for his work done, who at heart is looking to lead India forward, who is helpless like his billion other friends. His accepting the ethical governance deficit comment of PC itself shows how far he is ready to go to accept shortcomings of his government. With efficient and deserving people like him, PC, Pranab Mukherjee in the cabinet India is safe, but the country and the people definitely needs to stop loving pasta, rasagulla and dark glasses for these gentlemen to function effectively.