It is said that real obsession needs an unconscious motivation behind it. Obsession, like every intense emotion, is all-consuming. It is an emotion where the world, the rest of the world, simply melts away almost become a haze. When one looks at the world, all but the object of obsession is visible. Obsession, it is said, has the foundational bases of either pure love or unadulterated hate and when it comes to Rajdeep Sardesai, one doesn’t really need to analyse too much to understand what the foundational emotion could possibly be for his mindless, passionate obsession with Modi and the Gujarat model.
Through the years, almost with surgical precision, Rajdeep Sardesai has obsessed over the ‘Gujarat model’ and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For any normal person, this sort of passionate obsession would stem from unbridled love. But for Rajdeep, it probably stems from chilling fear born out of passionate hate. While the world burns, Rajdeep, almost an evil avatar of Arjun in another, hateful universe, keeps his eye on the Modi shaped bullseye that he needs to hit with his poison laced arrow.
In January 2020, Rajdeep Sardesai wrote an article that spoke about the Gujarat model entering Delhi via JNU. Of course, he misses the larger point that if the VC of JNU can be called ‘Modi’s man’ then most other people who work in JNU can be called the cadre of the Maoist party.
Before 2020, the Gujarat Model had come to Delhi in 2018, per Rajdeep Sardesai. Same headline. Same logic. Different incident.
The obsession did not stop there. Recently, even during the Coronavirus pandemic, Rajdeep Sardesai was obsessing over the Gujarat Model. He forgot to talk about the Tablighi Jamaat that spread the pandemic far and wide just as India was beginning to get a handle on the pandemic, or even Maharashtra, where the “best CM” Uddhav Thackeray let his state spiral out of control. Rajdeep was bothered about Gujarat. Not because he believes in the pursuit of truth, but because he is obsessed with his pursuit of PM Modi.
He writes, in the very first paragraph, “The much-hyped Gujarat model is in a mess as the coronavirus pandemic progresses. Consider the following: One, not only does the state have among the highest number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country, but more worryingly, it has a mortality rate of 5.9%, which is nearly twice the national average of 3.09%”.
Rajdeep, of course, forgets that by mid-April, Maharashtra had a death rate hovering around the 7% mark while he harps on the 5.9% mortality rate in Gujarat. And while this is not a competition and journalists should be more focussed on how to fight the pandemic, Rajdeep was seen obsessing over the ‘Gujarat model’ to bring PM Modi down.
The obsession of Rajdeep Sardesai with Modi and Gujarat Model has been rampant and far-reaching. Several tweets and articles over the years have been wasted trying to discredit the Gujarat Model and by extension, PM Modi.
There is a Gujarat model Mahesh ji and it’s done some solid work on physical infra, esp roads and power. But has abandoned Edu/health to private hands but worse, allowed panchayat system to decay. https://t.co/AcDJNiDLfM— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) December 10, 2017
It’s the darker shade of the Gujarat model. https://t.co/ZqLJsPttkH— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) November 2, 2017
Shameful pics coming from Ahmedabad of cops breaking cars, scooters at Patel rally. Not quite the Gujarat model we want to see!— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) August 25, 2015
Long before Delhi 2020 there was Gujarat 2002 (same numbers too!).. a page from my 2019 election book which is a reminder of the old adage: more things change, more they remain the same! Read carefully.. #DelhiViolence pic.twitter.com/8NTYN3JsNM— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) February 25, 2020
An obvious conclusion drawn by anyone who is not exactly in the know would be that Rajdeep Sardesai is speaking “truth to power”. However, for the ones who know Rajdeep, the realisation that the “truth” and “Rajdeep” stopped living in the same zip code a long time ago. For the uninitiated, Rajdeep perhaps fights against the corridors of power. However, for those who have followed Rajdeep, the famed interview of Sonia Gandhi proves that Rajdeep would dance with twinkle-toed shoes in the corridors of power if the corridors have name-plates that Rajdeep adores.
Perhaps in a Freudian slip, Rajdeep, in his 2018 article quoted above, exposes the real reason why he is so madly, deeply and passionately obsessed with the Gujarat Model – The fear that the Modi-Shah duo can repeat the run at the power they had in Gujarat, for over 2 decades, at the Central level. What if Modi were to repeat their political performance in Delhi, as they did in Gujarat.
In his 2018, in a Hindustan Times article written by him, Rajdeep Sardesai gives us a window into his charred, extremely terrified soul.
The underlying fear that has forced Rajdeep to be obsessed with the Gujarat model is not the critique of governance, speaking truth to power or even his vulture-like love for violence post-2002, but his deep-seated hatred for PM Modi and Amit Shah and the fear that the duo could rule at the centre for the foreseeable future, just like they governed Gujarat and never lost an election. This fear is not just limited to Rajdeep Sardesai, however. For all those ‘liberals’ who have been close to the Congress, the fear of Modi and Shah ruling the country for the foreseeable future is almost unbearable. They have tried everything in their power to arrest the possibility. And that their attempts have failed is what frustrates them.
The career journalists breastfed by politicians are usually obsessed with the side that provides them with most nourishment. Just as hungry children who crave undivided attention, nourishment, and most importantly, crave the hold that they have over the parent, journalists of the cash-for-vote and Radiia variety crave a Congress government at the centre. A Congress at the centre is mostly a constant source of nourishment for those journalists who wish to buy expensive flats and farmhouses without doing an honest day’s work. Their access journalism works only with friendly governments and friendlier NACs.
And thus, the thought of Modi-Shah duo reigning supreme for the foreseeable future inspires these journalists to display with abandonment issues with much aplomb, veiled behind the seeming critique of governance.
Rajdeep Sardesai who admits, rather openly, that his journalism is that of a vulture, fluff interviews with one who shall not be called Antonia Maino, and his unbridled hate for Modi, is obsessed with the Gujarat model because if the Gujarat model comes to Delhi, his source of nourishment disappears for the foreseeable future too. Perhaps, instead of lashing out at the bellowing, hungry child, we must observe a moment of silence for the mortal remains of his career that await burial.