Channel Surf – Times Now

Rahul Bajaj ticks off Arnab, while the rest of Arnab’s panelists play “What’s The Good Word”.

On Monday, @dailymailstyle, a seemingly parody account of the paper Daily Mail had an interesting tweet which went, “Irregular verbs: Middle class people *receive* benefits. Working class people *claim* benefits. Immigrants *demand* benefits.”

That satiric take on the words used in the news was reflected in Times Now’s The Newshour on the same night. We know Newshour panelists fight over everything, but this time their insistence that correct words be used to describe events took the discussion to a tragi-comic level.

A major Cabinet reshuffle had taken place on Sunday. Cabinet Minister Jaipal Reddy had been removed from the Oil Ministry and given a new one. He was reportedly unhappy about it and there were whispers of him having been removed because of the corporate lobby.

The panelists were Madhu Gaud Yakshi – Congress Lok Sabha MP, Sheshadri Chari – National Exec Member of BJP, Bharat Kumar Raut – Rajya Sabha MP from Shiv Sena and Rahul Bajaj – Chairman Bajaj Auto.

Although the Times Now debate was ostensibly on “Who is better prepared for 2014?” it became all about Jaipal Reddy. Why was Reddy “shunted”, “demoted”, “removed”? You could choose which word you preferred. As Arnab repeated, the bigger question was about “perception” – a word he repeated multiple times as well. Just in case we didn’t get the point.

But Arnab’s usual hustling of his panellists was a little stymied thanks to the presence of Mr Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Baja Auto. He was introduced as a non-Congress, non-BJP voice and specifically welcomed by the host for coming on his programme after a long time. Being Rahul Bajaj, he didn’t shy away from naming the “industrial house” seen to be behind the transfer too – the big daddy of ’em all and “like a younger brother” to Bajaj – Mukesh Ambani and Reliance.

“Maybe” there were no reforms, “maybe” things weren’t moving. “Maybe” the discussion was going nowhere. The best part about being Hamara Bajaj is that you can get away with telling the host on his own show that you don’t support him. And don’t like to be told what to say. And the said host, even if it is Arnab Goswami, will be forced to laugh it off with an “oh you outspoken you”.

Even Arnab couldn’t refrain from commenting on the fact that if Jaipal Reddy was watching the show, he would have said that too much time was being spent on him. And as Oracle Arnab knew, “Reddy did not like so much attention”.

While the decibel levels were definitely much easier on the ear this time around, it would have been slightly welcome if everyone had stuck to the topic being discussed. But it seems semantics and word play is the order of the day to dodge the topic of discussion.


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