Tele Scope: When people speak

When people speak... parties and news anchors are forced to eat their own words.

Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Updated: February 12, 2015 12:34 am
AAP supporters outside the party office in Patel Nagar.  (Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi) AAP supporters outside the party office in Patel Nagar. (Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

Eggs for breakfast anyone? On Tuesday morning, Prannoy Roy and Dorab Sopariwala wondered if they would get “omelettes” in case the predictions of a BJP defeat were wrong (NDTV 24×7). Rajdeep Sardesai, anchoring Headlines Today’s exit polls show, Saturday, hoped the poll was correct, otherwise he might have “egg yolk” dripping down his cheeks. In the event, they need not have worried: it was the BJP that ended up with egg on its face and the Congress that got a big fat “anda” in the Delhi assembly election.

In fact, by Saturday evening, it was all over but for the counting and by Tuesday, 9.30 am, it was all over but for the “tsunami” in favour of the AAP. Barring one, the exit polls on Saturday had predicted a clear AAP victory, while a few gave the Congress zero seats. None came even close to the final margin of victory for the AAP. India News was the closest poll with 53 seats for “Abki baar Kejriwal” and, oddly enough, Data Mineria gave the BJP an edge with 35 seats — now who do you suppose they had spoken to when it is now clear that almost every second vote cast in the city went to the AAP?

With near unanimity on the result, TV news channels discussed the reasons for the BJP’s “defeat” Saturday to Monday. By the time counting began on Tuesday, most TV anchors were fairly relaxed. There were a few frissons of excitement till about 8.30 am, when NDTV had 10:8 leads in favour of the AAP; DD News, Times Now had 2:1:1 for the AAP, BJP and Congress, respectively. But by 8.40 am, News Nation had 42 for the AAP and calm descended. Except in the India TV newsroom, where the anchor’s breathless running commentary on constituency leads sounded like they were describing a horse race when the AAP was winning at a canter.

The only other studio where the excitement was palpable from the morning was Times Now. On Saturday, it had a panel of up to 15 people discussing the exit “poll of polls”, which might strike a few of us as a few too many, but excess is something we have come to expect from the channel. And to sex-up the counting, Arnab Goswami introduced us to his new toys on Monday: Spectrum, Clusters, Firewall and Heat Map. He used them on Tuesday to give us instantaneous analyses of the figures — for instance, he was able to inform us that Delhi’s “Punjabi cluster”, which traditionally voted BJP, had deserted them; or that the AAP polled over 40 per cent in most constituencies, etc. Fun.

Equally entertaining has been listening to the BJP spokesperson and chief ministerial candidate. On Saturday, Kiran Bedi said that if the BJP lost it was her responsibility, a win would be the party’s victory. After the BJP and Bedi lost, she said, “I think I haven’t lost, I did my best.” Why say this on national TV that has a long memory in TV clips to remind you of what you said before and after?

When the BJP was left with only three seats in the capital, TV breaking news became “historic”, with all anchors asking the question Bhupendra Chaubey did repeatedly: Isn’t this a verdict on the Modi-Shah combine (CNN-IBN)? No, insisted BJP spokespersons Nalin Kohli, G.V.L. Narasimha Rao and Sambit Patra in newsroom after newsroom, the loss did not reflect on them. The “Delhi unit” of the party had failed to capture “localised issues”. It was a “composite”, “collective” failure and the party needed to “introspect”.

Haven’t we heard such comments before? Perhaps from the party that has gone from being a hero to a zero in Delhi?

During television debates, in interviews with Kiran Bedi, in the campaign speeches by Narendra Modi telecast live and the radio ad campaign, the BJP got the tenor all wrong. It spoke of Modi’s success at the Centre; Modi spoke as he did during the Lok Sabha elections, all fire and brimstone, but without a sitting lame duck like the Congress for target practice. The BJP’s ads were about a “Modi sarkar — desh ki awaaz, Dil ki awaaz”.

But Delhi didn’t want to echo the nation, it wanted a voice of its own in the assembly election.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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  1. S
    Subhash Bennur
    Feb 12, 2015 at 11:06 am
    It is easiest to win when unfulfillable promises are heaped on aam aadmi to win elections! AAP will now sit on a singhasa of Thorns! I am not making this comment arrogantly. I wonder why we are going GA GA over Kejriwal/AAP. Politics is a different cup of tea and that too when in a democracy where 125 crore Aam Aadmi are involved. For example it is the same Aam Aadmi who litters and dirties the street, it is the same aam aadmi who takes money at govt offices, it is the same aam aadmi who does`nt give his 100% on any job he is doing, it is the same aam aadmi who eulogizes personalities like Jaya & Mamata, It is the same Aam aadmi who who wants the illegal jhuggis /jhompris to be legalized, it is the same aam aadmis who are involved in rapes....Not that I am not an aam aadmi but you cannot count on any aam aadmi votes..dia has 125Cr people the max % being what we call aam aadmi. Unless aam aadmis give their 100% or behave himself in public life, I feel kejriwal chariot cannot move.It will be the same aam aadmi who will vote kejriwal out if the unfulfillable promises are not honored but due to technicalities. Aam Aadmi is not straight forward as they are made to be by either Aanna or Kejriwal. It will be chaos in dilli if gulli sabhas are held for decisions and if there are 1 million gullies in dilli there will be 1 million different voices. It is not easy to keep listening to aam aadmis aspirations unless he gives his 100% in his daily cs! Let us not go ga ga over AAP! If AAP fails in the next 6 months it will be the very same journalists who will paing Kejri in black! Hi Ki Nahi!
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    1. H
      Haridas Rao
      Feb 12, 2015 at 9:49 am
      Why do they have the same faces on TV debates.Every one can tell what Kumar Ketkar,Swapan Das Gupta,Ashok Malik and Akshar Patel are going to say .Even the anchors are predictable . And horror of horrors there are the two eternals ,from fantasy world Suhel Seth and Shobha De . Even cricket is better .
      Reply
      1. K
        Komaal Rani
        Feb 12, 2015 at 9:19 am
        slogan was ,,,aao chalen Modi ke saath and Delhi refused ...
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        1. u
          us_a
          Feb 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm
          They (the news channels) have a business to run and revenue to show qsqt. No tamasha, no revenue to show.
          Reply