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Did media outlets deliberately omit the part where Rahul Gandhi displayed his ignorance on Doklam?

Rahul Gandhi is on a multi-nation tour to Europe. In London, he spoke at the International Institute of Strategic Studies over a number of issues. The Doklam standoff of 2017 has been one of the constant issues over which Rahul Gandhi and his party have been attacking the central government, especially PM Modi and EAM Sushma Swaraj. Over the months, there have been many debates and noise in the parliament and many speeches and statements. At IISS too, Rahul mentioned the Doklam standoff between India and China and stated how PM Modi had ‘failed’.

At a crucial point, when asked how he could have handled the Doklam issue differently, Rahul, surprisingly, stated that he does not have any details on the Doklam issues and he cannot answer how he could have handled the issue differently. Clearly, for the President of the main opposition party who has been attacking the government over that specific issue relentlessly on national and now international platforms, this was a major embarrassment. At that point, for any careful observers, Rahul Gandhi ought to have had lost all the credibility to question the government ever again on the Doklam issue. Sadly, a major chunk of Indian media chose to ignore and even omit it.

NDTV, on its report of the event, Titled ‘Chinese still in Doklam, Rahul Gandhi says, Targeting PM Modi in London’ has carefully crafted the report over the utterances of Rahul around the parts where he attacks PM Modi and has also included his questions and attacks on EAM Sushma Swaraj over the issue.

Its headline too aims to obfuscate the basic fact that the Doklam is a large plateau and the Chinese are constantly present ‘on their own territory’. As explained here, China’s presence in that area was never an issue as long as they remained in their territory. The Doklam standoff was about the change in status quo which has since been established again after India’s tough stand. Somehow, Rahul Gandhi and some news outlets never bother to mention the fact. The NDTV report has carefully chosen to totally omit the part where Rahul Gandhi said he had ‘no details’ on Doklam and he cannot say how he could have handled the issue differently.

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NDTV report dated August 24

Sadly, NDTV was not alone in such ‘selective’ reporting. The Deccan Chronicle report of the event dated August 24, also has no mention of the fact that Rahul had ‘no details’ of Doklam. In fact, the report started detailing his statements ‘after’ that portion where Rahul diverted the question and started speaking about Doklam not being an ‘episode’ but a part in the sequence of events.

Deccan Chronicle report

As if omitting the pivotal part of Rahul’s talk was not enough, leftist propaganda website The Quint went a step ahead and made a fancy video of Rahul’s statements at the London event. In that video, they even carefully edited the part where Rahul says he has no details of Doklam and made their report about Rahul’s statements where he criticises PM Modi’s ‘handling’ of the issue and where he equates RSS with Muslim Brotherhood. The irony of a PM hopeful expressing his utter ignorance over the very issue over which he has been attacking the government and then going ahead to criticise PM Modi over the same issue is not lost on anyone, but unfortunately for certain media outlets, the glaring irony holds no importance over propaganda peddling.

The report on Outlook was no different. It stated that Rahul Gandhi has ‘come down heavily’ on PM Modi over the Doklam issue but had no mention of the ‘no details’ part.

The fact is, going by Rahul Gandhi’s incessant attempts to corner the central government over the Doklam issues and his activities during and after the standoff period, he had projected a picture of himself as a person who has a great insight over the issue. As mentioned by the report in The Times Of India, Rahul Gandhi is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on external affairs which had examined the situation of the military standoff between India and China last year.

In fact, as per reports, Rahul Gandhi had been the member with the maximum number of queries when the parliamentary standing committee was briefed by the then foreign secretary S, Jaishankar. It was a meeting over India China relations with a focus on the Doklam standoff. In February this year, the parliamentary panel was again briefed by the external affairs ministry and the panel had even called former Army Chief Deepak Kapoor, former ambassador to China Nalin Surie and other defence experts. If after all these meetings and briefings Rahul still claims he has ‘no details’ of Doklam, it is either a lie or a really big question mark on his credibility as a critique of the central government’s handling of the situation.

Over the months Rahul had criticised PM Modi, the EAM, MoS VK Singh and even the foreign secretary repeatedly over the Doklam issue. He had met the Chinese ambassador during the ongoing standoff. He has even defended his meeting the Chinese ambassador when it was criticised.

Rahul Gandhi’s Tweet during Doklam standoff

Earlier this month, the standing committee refrained from adopting the draft report on the Doklam issue because many members, including Rahul Gandhi himself, was not present in the meeting. On August 1, EAM Sushma Swaraj had clarified once more that there has been no change in status quo at Doklam.

The fact that Rahul Gandhi is contradicting himself and his admission of the fact that he cannot state how he could have handled the issue differently may not surprise many, for the Congress Prince is known for his goof-ups. But Rahul Gandhi has developed a habit of taking his goof-ups to a global level and it is unfortunate for the nation that a major portion of India’s media chooses not only to ignore his blunders but goes the extra mile to cover it up with a carefully crafted garnishing of spinning and fake-narrative building.

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Sanghamitra
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