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THE MEDIA AND GUJARAT ELECTIONS

Ravi Ranjan Sinha / Tumult and  noise  of Gujarat elections  have  died  down  and   a government  elected  peacefully and democratically is in place. All political parties have accepted   it , some  reluctantly, but without much clamour nonetheless.. The media  however, does not appear to have reconciled  to  it  even  a week after  the results  of elections  became known.

Soon  after  exit poll results   on December 20 in  panel discussions on TV news channels some participants  representing political parties came  up with the argument  that   the outcome  of  Gujrat elections  should be  viewed as Narendra Modi’s  victory  and not  of the  Bhartiya Janata Party.This argument  clearly implied that the electorate did not  prefer the BJP to the Congress in a visibly bi-polar polity but  was swayed  by a personalized  campaign of the Gujrat chief minister which, some of them including  anchors of TV channels suggested and not very indirectly, had clear sectarian slant.To buttress  their  argument   they pointed  out  that Modi had not fielded a Muslim  candidate ignoring the fact that members  of the community had  probably not sought BJP’s  nomination.

On December 20 a known  TV anchor, a lady, was virtually wailing over the exit poll  projects  calling  the  possibility of  Narendra  Modi an unfortunate  development. Such a partisan approach by a person  who is supposed to be  objective  was most uncalled for and  was characterized   by  a very senior  journalist Tavleen Singh  as being  against journalistic  ethics. Tavleen  went on  to say that the leady anchor and another  known face of  Indian TV had been carrying  out a campaign against  the Gujrat  chief minister for years.

 The  media  expectedly reacted  sharply to Modi saying in his  victory speech that  it had been  anti-Gujrat (Gujrat Virodhi) and not been able  to digest the fact the  he had sought votes on the basis of  development the State  had   won.

The media  persisted  with this  slant  when commenting on Modi’s  victory speech  insisted that the Gujrat CM had  apologized for his “mistakes” suggesting that it was in the context of 2002 riots  though  it  had  an entirely different undertone. It was comment  made in humility assuring his electorate  that if   he could  not fulfill his promise made earlier  he would review  it and rectify the mistake.

In  an article published on  the edit page  of a multi-edition Hindi daily  on December 24 an editor of a TV channel  after a long argument  concluded that Modi’s  was  victory of sectarian politics and  against the secular India’s policy of inclusive growth.Surprisingly, this distiguised  editor  seems  to suggest if  there is no Muslim  of the BJP  results of development, roads, electricity, industrialization,  would elude the  community. This , at best, is  a jaundiced view of things.

Such an opinion on  the part of  a  political party like the Congress is understandable  but  for if  the media  has this it opens itself  to the charge of being biased.

 

 

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