Indian Express

Questions and non-sequiturs

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Mamata Banerjee was up against Arnab Goswami, and she dealt with him the way she does with most people — like a school marm reprimanding a naughty schoolboy. Mamata Banerjee was up against Arnab Goswami, and she dealt with him the way she does with most people — like a school marm reprimanding a naughty schoolboy.

For TV channels, election season is about trying to get politicians to give straightforward replies.

In the time of elections, who do you expect to see? Why, politicians of course, not Salman Khan. But there he was, trying to appear comfortable in an oversized chair that, believe it or not, almost dwarfed him. He was a guest at the India Today Conclave, answering questions put to him by Koel Purie Rinchet. If you can call them answers. Question: “Who is in your heart right now?” Answer: “Just now I am in a transit period.” And so it went — questions and non-sequitur answers — so much so that finally Rinchet burst out, “You might as well ask your own questions and
answer them!”

That is something politicians might like to do when they are in the firing line. On Saturday, many of them were. Mamata Banerjee was up against Arnab Goswami (Times Now) and she dealt with him the way she does with most people — like a school marm reprimanding a naughty schoolboy. Asked about a possible alliance with Narendra Modi, she replied tersely: “I cannot adjust with communal forces — that chapter is closed.” And Amar Singh re-emerged from we don’t know where to wax philosophical (India News). Asked if he was going to fight the Lok Sabha elections, he ruminated, “Kal kisne dekha hai?” As it happened, of course, the very next day his candidature for the RLD from Fatehpur was announced, so clearly he was more of a clairvoyant
than he made himself out to be.

Modi was taking a tea break with women from different parts of India on chai pe charcha and Lalu Prasad was having a session with Madhu Trehan on Facebook Talks Live (NDTV 24×7/ newslaundry.com) without the tea.

But where was news television’s favourite subject? Arvind Kejriwal was on News24 informing Anuradha Prasad that Mukesh Ambani was the “real” face of the nation. We saw another face of Aam Aadmi Party’s leading man on Monday, when a clip posted on YouTube was run on news channels. It showed him in muffled conversation with Aaj Tak’s Prasoon Bajpai at the end of an interview — without his muffler (sorry for the poor joke), requesting parts of the interview to be played up.

In this season of polls, it’s all about asking questions and trying to get straightforward replies. For those, you need to speak to the voters rather than the political aspirants. On NDTV India’s National Highway, we were at Baba ka Dhaba in Kanpur, where foodies were asked about the elections, Modi and Kejriwal. One customer declared that Arvindji could no longer continued…

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