- NL Sena
A section of the television media that couldn’t see anything right with the Congress President Rahul Gandhi, has suddenly found in him the leader the Opposition has been waiting for.
Over the past four years, Gandhi was derided for being an utter failure. All of that seems history (for now) on the back of the recently-concluded state elections. A special mention must be made here of channels like Times Now that have run a sustained campaign against Gandhi with primetime debates that, well, never really merited a debate. For example, Gandhi watching Star Wars after an electoral defeat. Yesterday, their anchors were trying hard to get BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra to congratulate Gandhi. Rahul Shivshankar, who till a week ago was busy spreading falsehoods about the Congress’ manifesto in Telangana, thought Congress party’s victory was an “unbelievable” and “unscripted” comeback. “…out has sprouted Rahul Gandhi, the challenger to Narendra Modi in 2019,” he said. “If anyone thinks that they are going to career into prime ministerial seat on autopilot, they can forget that,” Shivshankar added.
He went on to ask BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao: “Do they [BJP spokie] now finally respect Rahul Gandhi…do they recognise that he is, in fact, the preeminent challenger to Narendra Modi in 2019.” *Insert appropriate phrase on nothing succeeding like success even if it is as underwhelming as the one we witnessed in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh*.
Aaj Tak had a particularly sycophantic presentation, where we were told “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar“. The report noted: “…yeh us Rahul Gandhi ne kiya hai jiski kshamtaon ko Pappu naam ke jumle se dabaane main paanch saal tak PM Modi se le kar prkhand adhyakh tak age rahe…sansad se leke sadak tak unka mazaal udate rahe [Modi and Amit Shah made fun of Rahul and reduced him to a joke, while he managed a victory].”
Meanwhile, in newspapers today, Gandhi made front-page news. In Hindustan Times, the lead paragraph of a front-page report by HT Correspondent tells us: “Never write the obituary of a party. Or a leader. And never write the obituary of a party which is 133 years old, and a leader who belongs to a family which has produced three prime ministers.” The headline: “Resurgent Rahul Gandhi emerges as Opposition’s tallest leader”
The Times of India lead with the headline: “For Rahul, A Happy 1st Anniv”. The report states: “Exactly a year, to the day, that Rahul Gandhi was named Congress president, his party colleagues gave him the best gift he could have hoped for, tapping into anti-incumbency and widespread rural distress to defeat BJP in three states. The outcome boosts Rahul’s stature as PM Narendra Modi’s main rival for the top office and may help set up a closer-than anticipated duel for next year’s Lok Sabha polls.”
How long till the media honeymoon lasts, especially on TV news channels like Times Now?