On Saturday, the veteran journalist and the editor of The Print, Shekhar Gupta, faced the wrath of Congress party leaders and supporters after he published a video criticising the Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi.
In his weekly show ‘National Interest’, Shekhar Gupta spoke in detail about the state of Indian politics and the absence of any opposition to the ruling Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party. Criticising the Congress party’s leadership, especially Gandhi-scion Rahul Gandhi, Shekhar Gupta opined that the grand old party seems to have lost interest in the country’s politics as they have failed to put pressure on the ruling government.
Lamenting on the inability of the opposition parties, especially the Congress, to check the Modi juggernaut, Shekhar Gupta went on to blame the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi for the state of opposition parties in the country and the lack of fire in their bellies to take on the BJP. Throughout the show, Shekhar Gupta was, in fact, suggesting the opposition parties to step up their pressure on the government and hit streets against the Modi government.
However, as usual, Shekhar Gupta did with all the subtlety as he expressed his agony by blaming the Congress party for failing the ‘liberals’ and its ecosystem by not aggressively taking on the BJP.
Sharing a poem written by some Majrooh Sultanpuri, titled, “Aag lagi hum ri jhopadiya mein, hum gawain malhar/dekh bhai kitne tamashe ki, zindagani hamaar (my hut is on fire, but I am singing Raag Malhar, the happy rain raga/see what fun my life is), Shekhar Gupta picturised the state of Congress party and its lack of leadership.
The controversial ‘journalist said it is always hazardous questioning a government, irrespective of the party in power. However lately, the journalists are facing double trouble as they are being cursed for questioning the opposition parties. In his show, Shekhar Gupta further said that he has been so fearful of drawing this for the last few months and he was fearful of writing anything critical or even vaguely negative about the Congress party or Rahul Gandhi.
“I am now walking into that minefield with this question: We can keep complaining about the undermining of institutions, misuse of the ‘agencies’, sectarian and socially discriminatory laws, use of provisions like sedition as if it was a parking ticket, rail-roading of legislation through Parliament, even a GoM activity like this one on the media. But, would it have been a fraction as easy as it is now if Congress had just 100 seats in the Lok Sabha? Or the UPA about 130-150?” asked Shekhar Gupta in his show.
Attacking the Congress party over not keeping the BJP in check, Shekhar Gupta said that in a democracy, the primary accountability of respecting institutions, citizens’ liberty and constitutional guarantees lies with the ruling party. However, as per Gupta, it is also the primary responsibility of the opposition to fight for these.
Shekhar Gupta calls Rahul Gandhi’s Kerala campaign as an useless stunt
Speaking on Rahul Gandhi’s trip to Kerala last week, Shekhar Gupta lambasted the Gandhi-scion for his theatrics, asking whether Rahul Gandhi swimming with fishermen would turn into votes.
“Think then, about the de facto chief of our largest opposition party, with still 51 members in Lok Sabha and the control of three major states, heading for election in another four states and one UT, in each one of which his party has a stake. And here he was, showing off his phenomenal fitness to school children. I would never trivialise school children, I know how hard they are to impress. But, for a 50-year-old to dazzle them with his muscle power?” Shekhar Gupta noted in strong words.
Ending his monologue on the Congress party, Shekhar Gupta once again reminded that the joyful, viral visuals from the ever-so-cool Kerala brought back to him a line from the 1974 Dilip Kumar-Saira Banu film Sagina. He said that the Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri had no idea he was writing a line that would fit so perfectly with the Rahul Gandhi-Congress party situation, “Aag lagi hum ri jhopadiya mein, hum gawain malhar/dekh bhai kitne tamashe ki, zindagani hamaar (my hut is on fire, but I am singing malhar, the happy rain raga/see what fun my life is)”.
“Sorry, Majrooh sahib, I stole this. But no sorry Rahul Gandhi. This was written for you,” said Shekhar Gupta.
Congress party upset with Gupta’s analysis, calls him a pliable journalist
As Shekhar Gupta’s show gained a little bit of traction on the social media platforms, the Congress was perturbed. Perhaps, the Congress party was shocked to hear such harsh words from their very own Shekhar Gupta, who is believed to be one of the prominent faces of the ‘left-liberal’ media ecosystem in the country, which largely resonates with the ideology of the Congress party.
The Congress party, which could not digest the betrayal, soon started to attack the veteran journalist for criticising their leader Rahul Gandhi.
Pawan Khera, the party spokesperson who has been elevated as a leader due to paucity of leadership in the party, attacked Shekhar Gupta for speaking against Rahul Gandhi. Giving it back to Shekhar Gupta in the same poetic language as the latter, Khera altered the lyrics of the same Majrooh Sultanpuri’s poem to accuse Shekhar Gupta of being a pliable journalist.
Saral Patel, who was busy spreading fake news on social media last week, also tried his hands in carrying out ‘intellectual’ attacks on Shekhar Gupta. Criticising Shekhar Gupta’s journalism, Saral Patel said that it was easy to criticise the opposition, however, it was neither healthy for democracy nor journalism if someone is focussed on mindless bashing the opposition more than holding the government accountable.
The Congress leader referred to the style of Shekhar Gupta’s journalism as “D”. However, OpIndia could not decipher Saral Patel’s cryptic insult.
Sanghamitra, another Congress supporter too admonished Shekar Gupta for criticising Rahul Gandhi. The social media user said the journalists like Gupta, who were allegedly asked to bend, are now crawling in front of the government. The article written by Shekhar Gupta was itself evidence for that fact, she said.
Sonali Ranade, a Congress party troll, was quick to target Shekhar Gupta for speaking against the Congress party and its leadership. Sonali Ranade, who Shekhar Gupta gave a platform in the past, did not let go of her former boss and said that it was typical of Gupta to vent his ire on Rahul Gandhi for what the Modi government did to him.
Swati Chaturvedi, a troll masquerading as a journalist who often empathises with Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party, was not happy about Shekhar Gupta’s take on the Congress party. Targeting Shekhar Gupta indirectly, she said it was easy to target Rahul Gandhi and be mum Modi’s assault on democracy.
She said that the latest attempt by Shekhar Gupta to attack Rahul Gandhi was his attempt to protect the real estate rather than the fourth estate, i.e. media.
Another Congress supporter Laly Randolf said that she never imagined Shekhar Gupta to be such a ‘bootlicker’. She said that she knew him to be doing a disservice to journalism, but downgrading himself to this extent of losing soul is pitiful, she said.
In their hurry to attack Shekhar Gupta for putting out his opinion on the state of Congress party, the Congress party leaders and its ecosystem scored a self goal by proving Shekhar Gupta right. Gupta, who had claimed that it is fearful these days to speak on the Congress party as it would lead to personal attacks on him, turned out to be right as the Congress ecosystem pounced on him just a few hours after his show was published.
Ironically, the Congress party proved that it does not entertain any criticism or exhibits tolerance to the views of its own ‘journalists’ by launching a battle against Shekhar Gupta.