The final resignation in the ABP News saga, a much-expected one, was announced this morning by news anchor Abhisar Sharma. In a Facebook post, Sharma said, “Five years isn’t a short time. Not a long one too. Finally resigned from ABP news. Did some fabulous stories that had a massive impact. Time to move on. Thanks everyone who was a part of this journey with me.”
ABP’s managing editor Milind Kandekar and host of Master Stroke show Punya Parsoon Bajpai had already resigned from the channel in the first week of August. Bajpai had stated that his firing was owing to pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party government on the management.
Newslaundry had reported earlier that Sharma was taken off-air from ABP News for a news bulletin. On his show Aaj Ki Badi Khabar, he had read out “breaking news” of a shootout in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district, where three gangsters had opened fire on a businessman. Sharma had said, “Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi kal Lucknow mein the, vyapariyon ko sambodhit kar rahe the. Uska maqsad ye tha ki bade paimane par vyapari aaen Lucknow-Uttar Pradesh nivesh karein … ye sawal uthna lajmi hai ki apradhmukt kab hoga Uttar Pradesh (Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Lucknow yesterday and addressed the business community. He wanted businessmen to invest in Lucknow and Uttar Pradesh … In a situation like this, it is a pertinent question to ask, when will Uttar Pradesh become crime-free?)”
This had allegedly upset ABP’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ABP, Atideb Sarkar. While Sharma was still live on the channel, on July 30, Sarkar had reportedly stormed into the newsroom and stated, “…why is Sharma taking the Prime Minister’s name in a stray incident of crime in Sultanpur.”
Sharma was taken off air for 15 days after this heated conversations. His video blogs on Facebook—in which he is visibly anti-establishment or critical of the saffron party—was also under scrutiny. Meanwhile, Sharma maintains that ABP was the golden period of his journalistic career as he “did some fabulous stories that had a massive impact”.