By Aditya Aamir
The fault-lines have deepened. Opposing armies are arms-ready. Supporters have marked themselves in watertight compartments. Poison-tipped verbal barbs cut across boundaries. Media, the ever-ready facilitator, is telling stories bolstering and blistering egos, chances. The BJP and Congress are at the throats of each other’s top icon: Rahul arraigned against Modi.
Note the incongruity, the surname that slips past the lips is ‘Modi’ not ‘Gandhi’! Have things changed so much? Unbelievable. But that is how it is. Times they have a changed in four and a half years.
One journalist speaks of other journalists in a Facebook post: “There are two kinds of ‘political’ journalists”; one, who works to get into active politics, enters parliament, the other ideological, happy with newspaper columns and television channels. “Kumar Ketkar is one of those who can fit into any mould with his vast experience of dealing with political parties. Eventually, he chose to enter the Rajya Sabha on a Congress ticket.”
Two points: One, Ketkar had “dealing” with only one party, the Congress. Two, he was nominated to the Upper House not given a ticket. Ketkar returned the favour one more time the other day. He wrote and he asked: “Why media does not question Narendrabhai Modi on 2002, though he was then the Chief Minister of the state, but quizzes Rahul Gandhi on 1984 when he was only a teenager?”
Ketkar blames media. So soon after moving to the political camp? Media has been questioning Modi for the longest time on ‘2002’, from 2002 to 2014, never sparing him, reminding him again and again, he was ‘culpable’ in the 2002 Gujarat riots; so much so, media ensured Modi became an untouchable, barred from countries, from the USA to sundry in Europe.
The editor turned Rajya Sabha MP says, “Modi has admirers, Rahul has advisors.” What’s this, is Ketkar with Rahul or is he mollycoddling Modi? Some things don’t sink. But then, they do. “Since Modi never faces the media, he does not have to answer awkward questions,” writes Ketkar. “How many times has Modi been asked about 2002 after he became the Prime Minister? Rahul can be questioned and even cornered for 1984 anti-Sikh riots although he was only 14 then.”
The veteran journalist who paved his route to the Rajya Sabha by defending the Congress in television talk shows, especially the one anchored by Arnab Goswami, says Modi was a mature 52-year-old in 2002 and chief minister to boot, while Rahul was a raw 14-year-old, wet behind the ears youngster. “2002 took place under his watch and yet Modi gets a free pass from the media.”
Ketkar’s stout defence of Rahul comes in the wake of Rahul’s ‘free-wheeling’ statements made while on his European tour, especially the one regarding the “1984 anti-Sikh riots”, in which Rahul said the Congress was not involved though he is on record that “certain Congress leaders were involved.” He made that assertion to Goswami, the Congress-hating television anchor.
Rahul was not a callow youth when he gave Goswami the chance to roger him. A decision he must still be having nightmares about. It appears Rahul’s advisors, then and now, are giving him crap for advice. Was it Sam Pitroda who advised Rahul to link joblessness with ISIS? Muslim Brotherhood with the RSS? 1984 with no Congress involvement? If it’s strategy then it stinks. Ketkar should ASAP tell Sonia Gandhi to dump Pitroda in the Pacific.
Rahul could do with some solid Ketkar-advice. Technocrats wouldn’t know zilch about politics and Ketkar is a political journalist from way back when a pair of slippers ruled Ayodhya and Lord Rama had to survive on wild berries. Ketkar, however, blots out the advisors’ role and bloats the media nexus. “(Rahul) on the other hand, is an opposition leader and obviously does not get the saturated media coverage like Modi,” he points out.
Stating that Rahul’s visits are for “vipashyanas” or “psychological inward search rather than changing the world outside”, he charges media with juxtaposing Rahul all the time with Modi. “Media enjoys this juxtaposition, which can easily tilt the balance in favour of Modi. If Rahul is condemned or made to look like a fool or a dimwit, then the intelligent columnists and pontificating commentators are happy,” writes Ketkar. “All of them become well-meaning and empathetic advisers to Rahul. They all want Rahul to improve. But nobody wants Modi even to learn or improve.”
Looked one way, it’s perfect. Don’t let Modi “improve”, why give people reason to return Modi to power? Kumar Ketkar should look at the brighter side. What Rahul needs is a growing army of admirers not advisors unless it is Advisor Kumar Ketkar! (IPA Service)