The missing questions from the Media as Gujarat elections approach

With the Gujarat assembly elections just around the corner, it is quite evident — from ‘liberal’ point of view — that democracy is under threat due to the possibility that Narendra Modi’s party may win. The mainstream media is indeed right, though the threat to democracy comes from their own behaviour that changes when they feel that Modi’s party could win.

We have been fed with news and opinions about how a strong leader has made India less democratic, with opposition voices being suppressed and media being sold out to the incumbent administration. We are even told that the coalition governments, also referred to as multi-party governments, are the true representation of the country.

Now with Gujarat elections around the corner, we can see again how the media is coming up with a new definition of electoral democracy – of course, in complicit with Congress and its allies.

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One of the new anti-Modi poster boys of the media, Jignesh Mevani, asked all parties to withdraw candidates so that BJP is defeated. He said, “Since the ruling BJP is our key enemy, I request aspiring candidates of other parties and independents not to file their papers, so that we can have a direct battle with the BJP”.

We can sure that how this will be spun as Rahul Gandhi’s brilliant strategy of winning over opposition parties. Further, one shouldn’t be surprised, if by any chance Congress wins Gujarat – a virtue will be made out of such announcements. Even after 22 years of BJP rule and thus anti-incumbency, if Congress has to beg independents to not contest elections, one can imagine its political bankruptcy and the abilities of its new leader. Forget asking about this desperate strategy of Congress, how many times has any journalist asked or any media organisation fact-checked Rahul Gandhi over his wild claims and plain lies that he has peddled during campaigning?

Not to be slighted, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal also has voiced his opinion. His intellectual bankruptcy is well known. He further reinforced that by saying, “Vote Who Can Beat BJP In Gujarat”. A few months ago, AAP was giving bytes of how they will contest all constituencies in Gujarat. The mainstream media lapped it up, by conducting polls to measure Kejriwal’s popularity in the state.

NDTV had reported, “After Delhi Win, Buoyant AAP Plans A Challenge For BJP In Gujarat Polls” – after a AAP win in a by-election in Delhi. NDTV anchor was with Kejriwal and AAP IT cell head at an event recently to talk about elections, but she did not have the integrity to ask Kejriwal about downturn in his fortunes. She was more interested to get anti-Modi comments from Arun Shourie, who too was present at the event, than ask such tough questions to another panelist. With PM Modi starting his campaign only now, expect many more definitions and criteria of democracy that we aren’t aware of.

Prior to every election season, a tragic comedy is seen unfolding in the opposition camp as well as the news studios. Tragic because the self anointed door keepers of democracy and morality act as the unofficial mouthpieces of political parties. They seem to celebrate every proposition that presents itself as a tool to thwart the essence of democracy, because they may not like the outcome. Because every election, we seem to realise that opposition space, has not only shrunk but has become sadly irrelevant. They seem to be so consumed by hatred for the one ‘chaiwalla’ that ended their political hegemony, that often, that hatred transcends the political sphere and manifests itself as hatred for the nation.

Comedy, because it is indeed hilarious to watch them clunk around like headless chicken, specially, post the 2014 elections. Every municipal corporation election becomes a ‘test for Modi’ and Assembly elections become practice matches for the crown prince of Indian politics, Rahul Gandhi. Their bias is so transparent, that their shoddy attempt to cloak it with secularism and ethical questioning becomes laughable.

We know by now that the opposition is bereft of ideas. What we are also fast realising, is that the media is bereft of ethics.


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