After having raised the hype to a level nothing less than ‘migraine to Pakistan’, when Republic TV finally let the “nation know” about its first breaking news, it turned out to be a damp squib—especially for the national capital’s journalist fraternity. There wasn’t anything breaking about the apparent sting operation on RJD chief Lalu Prasad chatting with Mohammad Shahabuddin, who was imprisoned in a murder case. “It’s a one-year-old tape that many media houses were offered but hadn’t taken it. It wasn’t newsworthy and was just seen as a weapon for the political rivals,” said a senior scribe who had looked forward to the channel’s launch with great expectations.
A Patna-based journalist had, in fact, tweeted that four media houses were offered the tape:
But, of course, Republic TV lapped it up.
Without the resources of his previous employer Times Now, was Arnab Goswami just taking whatever he could lay hands on? Not really, thought another scribe. “This expose clearly exposes Republic TV’s true agenda. Target the BJP’s rivals, or to be more precise, the Modi-Shah opponents,” said another senior hack, hoping he would be proved wrong. Perhaps he wasn’t off the mark. The channel was targeting Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who recently has been trying get the Opposition parties together. Moreover, a beaming BJP chief Amit Shah was already responding to the so-called breaking news—a slew of top BJP leaders were happily appearing on the channel. “Today is a very memorable day for the BJP. The party has got its ‘Republic’,” quipped the senior journalist.
Though it seems a distant possibility, some political pundits believe that Delhi may soon see a midterm poll. The grapevine is that the 21 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may be disqualified by the Election Commission. The hearing of the office-of-profit case had concluded and the verdict is expected soon. There’s a strong possibility that these 21 MLAs may be disqualified.
In the 70-member Delhi assembly, 36 seats are required to form the government. At present, AAP has 67 MLAs and would still be placed comfortably even if all the 21 are disqualified. But, the BJP—buoyed by the MCD victory, will leave no stone unturned to destabilise the Arvind Kejriwal government, according to political observers. Another theory doing the rounds is that the Centre may dismiss the Kejriwal government and declare election in Delhi along with the general elections in 2019.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal is said to be chalking out counter strategies, but with limited options.
One would imagine, it would be the rarest of the rare cases, if the mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), The Organiser, lead with the story and photograph of Karl Marx. After Maoist attack in Sukma, the right-wing organ has carried a story titled ‘Roots of Red Terror’ in its latest issue. But as usual, that the organ which claims to express the “voice of the nation” does not know the difference between Marxism and Maoism.
To depict “red terror” the magazine used a sketch of Marx and two gun-wielding men on the cover page. Even those who know a little bit of history would understand that Marxism and Maoism are two different ideologies, though they begin with the same letter. Marx wanted revolution but never propagated violence as an indispensable means to achieve the goal. He was a supporter of democratic revolution—transition from democracy to socialism, was his idea of revolution.
On the contrary, Mao Zedong, father of modern China was a revolutionary who used violence as a political means to over through “class enemy.” He mixed Marxist philosophy with military strategy and derived his own ism. He famously said, “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”.
“Any political idea can be criticised. In a democracy like India violence has no place. The Organiser has every right to criticise Marxism and Maoism, but it should at least use the correct picture,” said a senior journalist.
Late socialist stalwart Madhu Limaye’s 95th birth anniversary was celebrated at the Constitution Club in Delhi. Limaye, who wrote over 60 books is regarded as a great theoretician of socialist ideas, which practically meant anti-Congressism in his time. But, in this changed scenario, his legacy is being used to unite Opposition parties against BJP.
This is perhaps why most of the Left leaders including Sitaram Yechury, JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav, RLD President Ajit Singh and DP Tripathi of the NCP came together to celebrate his birth anniversary. BSP leader Sudheendra Bhadoria was also present in the audience.
Several leaders delivered speech after speech against increasing saffornisation, danger of communalism, but when asked about the details of a new alliance against the BJP, all of them maintained a studied silence. Some of them were seen avoiding media. Perhaps there’s no concrete plan yet.