News Nation TV’s interview of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend became hugely controversial as not only did it bring out several shortcomings of the BJP leader seeking a second term in office but he was also caught lying and answering from a pre-decided script. The interview was yet another example of how members of the Indian media have mortgaged their freedom and would do anything to appease their political masters.
Modi faced unending embarrassment for claiming that he had ordered the airstrikes inside Pakistan despite going against the advice of military experts since he knew that cloudy and rainy weather conditions will help the Indian military jets dodge the Pakistani radar system. In the same interview, Modi claimed that he used the internet to send email in 1987, eight years before internet arrived in India. He also claimed to use a digital camera the same year even though this was nowhere available for general use in India.
News Nation’s Deepak Chaurasia came under flak for ‘respectfully’ asking Modi if he carried a wallet and also about his latest poetry composition. Chaurasia made sure that his body language and tone were respectful enough so as to not earn the wrath of the PM and his party, the BJP. Chaurasai smiled and sat in a posture, which was reflective of the respect a Supreme Leader ought to receive during his scripted TV interview.
Two days later, Chaurasia received an opportunity to interview Modi’s rival and Congress President Rahul Gandhi. In contrast, not only had he got his voice and aggression back, but he also appeared in no mood to inquire about Gandhi’s poetry skills or whether he chose to carry his money in a wallet! Here, he also remembered the most fundamental trait of journalism while interviewing someone i.e. to ask follow-up questions.
Chaurasia asked Gandhi how he could continue to embarrass Modi on the issue of demonetisation and GST when the BJP under his leadership had won elections both in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, two states that went to polls immediately after the two controversial economic decisions of the Modi government. The News Nation representative also remembered to not take everything that Gandhi said as gospel truth.
After he completed his fierce defense of Modi, Gandhi was asked by the News Nation representative if this answer featured in Modi’s scripted interview with the channel over the weekend. An alert Chaurasia countered Gandhi and said that ‘no, that page had his poetry written, not questions.’
Gandhi said sarcastically, “Yes, everyone on internet saw what it was” leaving Chaurasia red-faced.
A clip of Modi’s interview with News Nation had gone viral showing the prime minister flip through some pages as he pretended to find his latest poetry composition. However, the page, where the poetry was ‘supposedly’ written also had ‘question 27’ which read, “As we end this interview, I would like to ask the poet Narendra Modi if he’s written anything in the last five years.”
Modi blushed and then asked his staff to get a file which had his latest composition, which he said he wrote on his way back from Himachal Pradesh.
And here’s the question that did get asked! What a con man ? pic.twitter.com/3v2jGb96ei
— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) May 12, 2019
As expected, this became a topic of widespread ridicule as this came as conclusive evidence that Modi simply was incapable of giving unscripted interviews to anyone. This also explained why the man who occupied the post of the prime minister for the last five years refused to hold a single press conference.