Senior journalist and editorial director of India TV Qamar Waheed Naqvi resigned Monday from the Hindi news channel in protest against an allegedly “fixed” interview of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Modi was interviewed by India TV chairman and editor-in-chief Rajat Sharma on April 10 for his weekly show Aap Ki Adalat. While Naqvi did not respond to calls and a text message sent to his phone, Sharma confirmed Naqvi’s resignation. “He sent a one-line email announcing his resignation,” said Sharma, adding that “he didn’t mention anything about any interview in his email, nor did he raise this with me”.
Naqvi, however, is learnt to have told his associates that he quit in protest against the “scripted” interview of Modi. He had joined the channel only six months ago.
“The interview with Modi was recorded on April 10 in India TV’s headquarters in Noida in the presence of 300 people sitting in the audience. How could an interview happening in presence of so many people be scripted?” said Sharma. The recorded interview was telecast on April 12. According to Sharma, the interview was trending on Twitter the first day, and has had 16 million views on Facebook and 6 million on YouTube so far.
“I asked him (Modi) about the allegations raised by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Nitish Kumar, Mulayam Singh among others. It wasn’t a cakewalk for him. Of course, getting the interview took a lot of effort and it was cancelled a few times before it could be conducted”.
Sharma said Naqvi’s resignation was being wrongly linked to the interview, the latter quit for some other reasons.
Modi has given only a handful of media interviews since he began his election campaign in September. He recently gave one to writer and journalist Madhu Kishwar, who is known for her support to Modi.
India TV in a statement confirmed that Naqvi has resigned. Ritu Dhawan, its MD & CEO, said, “We have accepted his resignation and asked Naqvi to serve his notice period…. We are surprised at the reasons being attributed to it in the social media. Such reasons are baseless, and we condemn the effort being made to use it for political gains.”
Sharma said, “There is a continuous attempt by some people to defame electronic media which has been officially condemned by Broadcasters… we cannot allow our industry to become a tool in the hands of interested parties during elections.”