Dear Patna media, why this Kolaveri Di?
Gone are the days when politicians or parties used to go into a huddle to hold meetings after being exposed or stung by news channels. Because ganging up against reporters from Delhi, whose journalistic endeavours leave the ruling dispensation red-faced has now become the new role of the local media personnel in Patna, a city that is the capital of my Bihar.
On Tuesday my brilliant video journalist Imran and I successfully carried out a series of sting operations in order to get to the bottom of the political tango that has affected the goings on in Bihar for several weeks. The future of the ruling coalition in Bihar hung in balance after the state’s deputy chief minister, Tejaswi Yadav’s name featured in the CBI’s FIR.
The story dominated the coverage of both the national and local media as it emerged that the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, also nicknamed Susashan Babu (Mr Good Governance) had sought an explanation from the embattled Yadav amidst growing rift within the ruling coalition.
My decision to conduct the sting operations was aimed at bringing out the truth. As a reporter, that’s what my audience expects me to do- to get to the bottom of the story. As a journalist, this is also my core duty to keep my viewers better informed.
Everything went as per the plan and among those stung was Shyam Rajak, a former Lalu confidante, but currently a JDU MLA.
The man spoke out his mind which he wouldn’t have done otherwise on record. He exposed how Nitish’s “Iron Man” posturing was only for cameras and nothing else.
“Dono ko kursi pyari hai. Kuch gadbad nahi hai gathbandhan me. Unko apni kursi pyari hai or Lalu ji ko apne pariwar ki (Both love to cling on to their chairs. There’s no threat to the grand-alliance. Ntish loves to remain in power while Lalu is bothered about his family)” said Rajak, exposing Nitish, his very own leader.
It was a good public interest story that sent ripples across political circles and put Nitish’s “anti-corruption crusader” image under serious scanner. The story was played big on my channel, Times Now, and garnered eyeballs of everyone.
But, even before the leaders could react, the local “journalists” came up with their reactions. Surprisingly, instead of lauding me for my report, they ganged up against me and called for an emergency meeting primarily to “condemn” my journalistic efforts.
So, instead of the political bigwigs, the veterans from my own fraternity had taken it upon themselves to speak on behalf of the leaders stung by me.
Those reporters, who were visibly embarrassed by a young journalist’s ability to steal the show in their own backyard, came out of their hibernation as their respective bosses reportedly chided them for being beaten in the game.
They held a joint meeting casting aspersion on my work and even ridiculing me for my undercover works.
They met at the office of a national English channel and passed a resolution threatening to approach the NBA against my decision to catch the candid confession of an MLA on camera.
To those attended and later sent out a release, I just want to ask three questions:
1- Why are you so hurt? Isn’t stinging those in power a common practice in Journalism?
2- Why didn’t you muster courage and question those in power who you take numerous favours from?
3- Are you also a part of the Maha-gathbandhan?
Last, but not the least, let me also say that it was just a teaser and “Picture abhi baaki hai”! Thanks to all my friends, bosses and Times Now for standing behind me!
Bihar me bahaar hai, media bhi Sarkaar hai!
(Prashant Kumar is a senior correspondent with Times and covers politics in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The blog above first appeared on the author’s Facebook page.)