Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday drew sharp criticism from the National Union of Journalists (India) and the BJP after he termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s television interview as “staged” and said that it was conducted by a “pliable journalist”.
While the BJP demanded an apology from Rahul, NUJ (India) said it was unbecoming of the Congress president to mock the interviewer.
Smita Prakash, the editor of news agency ANI who conducted the interview, tweeted, “Dear Mr Rahul Gandhi, cheap shot at your press conference to attack me. I was asking questions not answering. You want to attack Mr Modi, go ahead but downright absurd to ridicule me. Not expected of a president of the oldest political party in the country.”
Dear Mr Rahul Gandhi, cheap shot at your press conference to attack me. I was asking questions not answering. You want to attack Mr Modi, go ahead but downright absurd to ridicule me. Not expected of a president of the oldest political party in the country.
— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) January 2, 2019
“Shooting the messenger!! Not done Mr @RahulGandhi, cheap stunt at your press conference to attack @smitaprakash who was asking questions not answering. Go ahead fight @narendramodi @arunjaitley @BJP4India but its unbecoming of President @INCIndia to ridicule the @ANI interviewer,” NUJ (India) tweeted.
Saying that the Congress president must apologise to journalists for his remarks, BJP’s national media head and Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni said: “This has been the Congress’s mindset about independent journalism. Rahul Gandhi’s DNA is of the Emergency. His party has a history of throttling journalism. He should
apologise to the country’s journalists for his petty remarks.”
During a press conference on Wednesday, Rahul told reporters: “He (Modi) does not have the guts to come and sit in front of you. And I am coming here… you can ask me any question… I come here once in seven-ten days… and you saw the Prime Minister’s interview yesterday…matlab pliable journalist, woh question bi kar rahi thi, pradhan mantri ka answer bi de rahi thi, side mein (she was asking questions as well as giving answers).”
Earlier in Parliament, Rahul had said “…The entire nation is asking why the Prime Minister can speak for one-and-a-half hour in a staged interview and not answer the fundamental questions of Rafale.”
“We demand a JPC probe into matter. There is no reason for BJP leaders to feel afraid,” Rahul had said.