Thursday, Nov 27, 2014
Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Posted: March 27, 2014 12:51 am
Politicians appear to have understood that for TV news to turn the spotlight  on them, they  need to make some outrageous comments about one of the three leaders. Politicians appear to have understood that for TV news to turn the spotlight
on them, they
need to make some outrageous comments about one of the three leaders.

The respite from TV coverage of Modi, Rahul and Kejriwal did not last long.

For once after a very long while, the triumvirate who rule the airwaves had been upstaged. By the old guard. Between them, the BJP’s elder statesmen, L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh, have obliged newshounds to train their cameras on them. By Tuesday, they were joined in the spotlight by another gentleman whose time may also be up — BCCI President N. Srinivasan. No Modi, Rahul or Kejriwal. At least for a few hours, a few days.

The Supreme Court’s strictures on Srinivasan were the main draw on Tuesday morning, although a channel like NDTV 24×7 was equally excited by the news of the arrest of Indian Mujahideen commander Tehseen Akhtar. Times Now, meanwhile, had a detailed conversation with BCCI vice president and former cricketer Shivlal Yadav, who said the Board had to abide by whatever the SC said and ended by generously offering to do anything that was asked of him (such as take over as president, perhaps?).

On the weekend, Advani’s wanting to stand from Bhopal and Jaswant Singh being ignored by the BJP and then leaving the party managed to gatecrash and steal the headlines.

But by Tuesday afternoon, order had been somewhat restored. The insurrection raised by Advani, Jaswant Singh and N. Srinivasan’s predicament had briefly given us respite from the usual suspects. However, once Arvind Kejriwal made his way through the lanes and bylanes of Varanasi, he became the headline breaking story. All news channels dodged egg missiles, followed protesters and even allowed us the great privilege of watching Kejriwal take a dip in the Ganges. What a memorable sight: far, far better than seeing him wrapped up in his quilt for a cold night on a street in New Delhi not so long ago.

Barkha Dutt (NDTV 24×7) was on hand to interview the maverick politician and one of her questions was: who would be the better prime minister, Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Or was there a possibility for Arvind Kejriwal to seize the post? We need not concern ourselves with his answer. What’s important is the framing of the question. It reduced the Lok Sabha elections to a three-man race and thus highlighted once again the obsession of TV news with these three gentlemen.

All TV opinion polls thus far have indicated a high number of seats for smaller, regional parties with chief ministers such as Mamata Banerjee and J. Jayalalithaa projected to win sizeable numbers by themselves and play a crucial role in the formation of the next Central government. But there’s been almost no coverage of them or their states. continued…

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