The 2019 Lok Sabha election has seen “journalists” who have thus far pretended to be neutral while subtly peddling their come out in the open and shamelessly further a line that shatters their carefully crafted image of political neutrality. NDTV’s Prannoy Roy, who is currently under the scanner for insider trading, did just about that when he was talking to young voters of Uttar Pradesh.
In the show, one can see the same youth telling Roy that they are based elsewhere (one said in Mumbai) and they have come all the way to Uttar Pradesh just to cast their vote for PM Modi.
The voter then says that he is a second time voter and the first time around too, he voted for Prime Minister Modi. Now, the young voter sort of punctured the bubble Roy was hoping to create, so, he digs a little more and asks him “vote zyada zor se denge ya thoda kam”. Basically, Prannoy Roy was fishing for one sentence from the voters’ mouth that he could spin as discontent.
One almost feels sorry for Prannoy Roy when the youth tell him that they will vote for Modi and ensure that others vote for him too.
After some silly joke that sounded both condescending and stupid, a sidekick of Prannoy Roy tries to change the narrative. He tells the voters that the local MP from the area has not done much work. The sidekick is also brushed aside when the voters tell him that they are not casting their vote for the local MP, they are casting their vote for Prime Minister Modi.
Then, the young voters of Uttar Pradesh are seen telling Prannoy Roy that they prefer a strong, fearless Prime Minister like Narendra Modi. They say that he gives his speeches not from behind a bullet proof glass but talks from amidst the people. He stands by what he think is right and faces challenges head on.
One can almost see the colour leave Prannoy Roy’s face and his usual studio glow disappearing into the Uttar Pradesh heat.
Unfortunately, with these determined voters, the several twists and turns did not work. They stayed unwavering in their support to Modi.
What was Prannoy Roy to do? Roll over and accept that people support Modi? Of course not.
Out from the Uttar Pradesh heat, Prannoy Roy gets his studio sheen back while discussing this segment with fellow propagandists. Stammering, Roy says that these youth want to vote for Modi and have come back to UP just to cast their votes.
However, (there has to be a ‘however’), sometimes their reasons for voting for Modi is “worrisome”, according to Prannoy Roy. Continuing to stammer, he says the worrying part is that they want a “strong leader”.
Perhaps Prannoy Roy got extremely worried about the youth wanting a “strong leader” because if they do, they would perhaps never vote for Rahul Gandhi or the mixed bag mahagathbandhan that the NDTV has been batting for. Or perhaps, Roy doesn’t want the people to vote for a “strong leader” because that would also mean that the stream of doles to the Lutyens elite would remain dried up till a “weak leader” heading a “weak Congress government” doesn’t come to power. After all, we must not forget that there are accusation that NDTV itself was involved in the Aircel Maxis scam along with Congress leader P Chidambaram.
Then, Prannoy Roy outdos himself by lying blatantly and twisting the words of a voter just to suit his agenda.
After he got “worried” about people wanting a strong leader, Roy says that it is worrying that one voter did not want elections at all after 2019.
In actuality, the voter had simply said that PM Modi should be given a chance for another 5 years after he comes back to power in 2019, and then another 5 years. Only after Prannoy Roy joked about whether he wants PM Modi to stay in power ‘forever’, the voter jokes and says that there should be no election and Modi should stay in power forever. Then, Roy proceeds to bully the voter along with some shreiky woman from the background who keeps telling him that this is a dangerous thought.
This entire sequence gives a glimpse into just how shameless, brazen and elitist the Lutyens gang really is. Roy not only bullied voters and tries to get them to say something that he could then use to peddle his agenda, he also shamelessly twisted the words of a poor voter from Uttar Pradesh who is probably not as careful with his words as the studio sheen anchors.
Roy displayed no empathy and no willingness to truly understand what the voters want. Why they want PM Modi to stay in power or why they have travelled hundreds of kilometers to cast their vote in favour of the Prime Minister. Roy did not care what Modi has done for Varanasi when the voter was trying to tell him about the work done.
Roy had made up his mind. They either show disconetnt towards Modi or he will simply bully them, misreprent their words and confuse them to give him what he needs to run a show intellectualising 2019 elections.
This segment was also a stark example of what Prime Minister Modi had said in his recent interview to Indian Express.
Taking on Rahul Gandhi’s campaign strategy which was to destroy Modi’s incorruptible image, PM Modi said, “Modi ki chhavi, Delhi ke Khan Market ke gang ne nahin banayi hai, Lutyens Delhi ne nahin banayi hai. 45 saal ki Modi ki tapasya ne chhavi banayi hai. Achchi hai ya buri hai. (Modi’s image, whether good or bad, has not been made by the Khan Market gang or the Lutyens Delhi. It has been built by hard work of over 45years.) You cannot dismantle it.”
The support that the Prime Minister enjoys is indeed because of his tapasya and not by the manicured, wine-sipping studio sheen anchors like Prannoy Roy. This video was indeed a reminder of just how disconnected the Lutyens gang is from the realities of the ground and how, no matter how hard they try, they can simply never understand what the average voter wants.
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017