Prime Minister Modi has given several interviews during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, one of them being to channel Aaj Tak, the Hindi counterpart of India Today. The interview was conducted by three journalists, Anjana Om Kashyap, Rahul Kanwal and Shweta Singh. Anjana Om Kashyap, one of the Editors of Aaj Tak who conducted that interview interestingly took to Twitter today to castigate what appears to be her colleague, Rajdeep Sardesai.
एक पत्रकार हैं। ऑन एअर सवाल पूछने का कोचिंग सेंटर खोल लिया है। एक बार मशहूर इंटरव्यू में सास बहू से आगे वो सवाल पूछ नहीं पाए। सबको सर्टिफ़िकेट देना इनका काम है। दरवाज़े के बाहर खड़े होने की छटपटाहट !
— Anjana Om Kashyap (@anjanaomkashyap) May 18, 2019
Anjana sarcastically said that she knows of one journalist who conducts coaching for asking on air questions. He is the same journalist who himself could not ask questions beyond ‘saas bahu’ and he now goes around distributing certificates to other journalists. She also said that he was frustrated for having to wait outside the door and not being let in.
Anjana Om Kashyap did not name anyone in particular. It is likely that in the future, Anjana might be forced to distance Rajdeep from her scathing tweet, however, there are enough clued in the tweet itself to conclude that she was indeed talking about her colleague, Rajdeep Sardesai. In her tweet, Anjana mentioned an interview where the said journalist could not ask questions beyond saas-bahu. Rajdeep Sardesai had conducted an infamous interview of the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi where he had asked her several questions about whether she cooked for her mother-in-law (Indira Gandhi) or not, and if she did, what was it that she cooked.
One wondered what might have triggered this onslaught on her colleague and whether the clue was hidden in her tweet itself. Anjana mentioned in her tweet that this journalist likes to distribute certificates and is desperate to stand outside the door. It would stand to reason that perhaps the trigger for Anjana’s tweet was Rajdeep pontificating on national television about how journalists let themselves and their profession down by not insisting that the Prime Minister answer questions during BJP’s last press conference before result day, where Amit Shah answered questions from the media in the presence of PM Modi.
— Chowkidar Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) May 18, 2019
Rajdeep Sardesai was distressed after BJP’s press conference on 18th May and had asked his panellists whether the journalists should have insisted that PM Modi take questions and been more aggressive. He had derided all the journalists who asked questions at that press conference. Incidentally, Anjana Om Kashyap was one of the journalists present at the press conference who had got the chance to ask questions.
He had also tweeted about the press conference saying that it was a ‘press appearance’ and not a ‘press conference’ by the Prime Minister.
Today, a press conference became a press appearance!😌😄😄
— Citizen/नागरिक/Dost Rajdeep (@sardesairajdeep) May 17, 2019
Interestingly, while trying to chastise other journalists, Rajdeep revealed his own ignorance on the matter. The press conference was a BJP one and not the Prime Minister’s press conference, to begin with. In fact, when a question was directed at the PM, he had passed that to Amit Shah, saying as a disciplined soldier of the party, he won’t speak in front of the president. By this, he had clearly indicated that he was merely present at the press conference, but it was a press conference of the BJP president, and the prime minister was present there as a BJP member.
It must be remembered that the press conference was held at BJP headquarters, not at a government venue. While earlier press conferences by prime ministers were held at government venues, not party head offices. For example, previous prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh had addressed press conferences at Vigyan Bhawan in 2010 and National Media Centre in 2014, he didn’t answer questions in Congress headquarters.
The allegation mounted by Anjana Om Kashyap doesn’t seem very off the mark. Rajdeep has for the longest time been a faithful soldier of the Congress party within the media. He lies regularly, demonises Modi and even has a long illustrious career of spreading propaganda. He has paltry respect for other journalists who don’t wish to behave like ruffians like himself (one recalls his punching fiasco at Madison Square Garden) and conduct interviews with dignity when it comes to PM Modi while he himself crawls in front of the Dynasty.
With Anjana Om Kashyap’s tweet, the war within the India Today network is widely visible. Several people had wondered earlier whether the rest of the relatively sane journalists from the media group actually respect or even like to work alongside Rajdeep Sardesai who is massively biased and not the brightest cookie in the cookie jar. With Anjana taking on the propagandist, the answer to that question seems rather obvious.