Indian Express

Will the real Modi please stand up?

He is moderate in TV Q&As, all fire and brimstone in campaign speeches. Tweet This
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Watching Modi on TV has been instructive of how politics is played: he switches from being the politician during the campaign to the prime ministerial candidate in his TV interactions. Watching Modi on TV has been instructive of how politics is played: he switches from being the politician during the campaign to the prime ministerial candidate in his TV interactions.

He is moderate in TV Q&As, all fire and brimstone in campaign speeches.

It was the unkindest cut of all. Narendra Modi was going out of his way to be conciliatory towards Priyanka Gandhi: “A daughter is after all a daughter, if she does not work for her mother, whom will she do it for? …If she hurls 10 more curses, then too a daughter is a daughter and as a daughter, whatever she does, I won’t be angry at her.” How’s that for magnanimity? Not as endearing as “she’s like my daughter”, which was incorrectly put out by the media first, but still, it suggested he had a big heart inside that 56-inch chest.

And what does Doordarshan do? It snips out Modi’s comments on Priyanka as well as on Sonia Gandhi’s political aide, Ahmed Patel, who, Modi claimed in the same DD News interview, had been a good friend. Modi released a copy of the recorded interview, embarrassing DD, which claimed it edited the interview for “technical reasons”. Now where have we heard that before? Perchance when Lok Sabha TV blacked out the Lok Sabha vote on the Telangana Bill? We didn’t believe it then and nobody believes it now, not even the CEO of Prasar Bharati, Jawhar Sircar, who used the controversy over the edited interview to demand real autonomy for the public service broadcaster. \

During the DD interview, Modi was at his affable best — relaxed, reassuring, almost gentle in his remarks as he and the interviewer, Ashok Shrivastav, strolled around the garden. This is one of many TV interviews you can now watch with Modi. Yes, there’s a veritable Modi wave on TV as we head into the last lap of the campaign.

If it’s Monday, it has to be Modi with Deepak Chaurasia on India TV, or then with Samay TV. If it’s Tuesday, it must be Modi on News Nation. Indeed, Modi has appeared in Q&A sessions on all the major Hindi TV news channels. In each session, he has spoken like a prime minister-in-waiting with measured, moderate replies to questions on everything from communal politics, his political opponents, Pakistan or Kashmir.\

This is in sharp contrast to his election campaign speeches of the same period, which are all fire and brimstone. Notice the shift in gears from TV interviews to campaign speeches, from campaign speeches of early April to campaign speeches in early May. Earlier on the campaign trail, Modi emphasised his development agenda, the Gujarat model and the UPA’s economic failures. Now he’s making an all-out frontal attack on the Gandhi family in continued…

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