Arnab Goswami has the reputation of being a BJP supporter and has often been seen as flying the flag for the saffron party from the studio of his TV channel Republic TV. This was largely linked to his business partnership with BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, with whose help he founded Republic TV in 2017. It’s, therefore not surprising, to have non-stop propaganda in favour of the BJP from his channel. But, last week, the founder of Republic TV stunned his viewers by openly admonishing a guest, associated with controversial godman Ramdev, for ‘advertising’ Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
This was during a debate to question the incompetency of the Bihar government tackling the enchapalitis-related deaths in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, where nearly 200 children have died so far because of the killer disease. Goswami, who too woke up late in giving due coverage to the story of a monumental human tragedy, has lately been spearheading a campaign against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Kumar is an ally of the BJP in Bihar and has been governing the state with the help of the saffron party.
Goswami lost his cool on Friday night when one Shantanu Gupta sought to explain how Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, according to him, had reduced the number of AES deaths in one year. This irked Goswami further as he reacted angrily, “Why are you doing advertisements for Yogi Adityanath on my channel? Why are you advertising for Yogi Adityanath on Republic TV?.. I am not discussing Yogi Adityanath. Don’t try it Shantanu.”
Gupta’s Wiki profile describes him as a communication advisor to Ramdev. However, Goswami’s open criticism for a known supporter of the BJP is something his viewers are not used to. But this wasn’t the only time that Goswami targeted Gupta with his stunning attack.
He slammed Gupta one more time before he concluded his debate on the children’s deaths in Bihar. This was because Gupta had accused him of seeking cheap TRPs in the garb of raising the plight of Muzaffarpur children. Once again, an angry Goswami launched a tirade hitting out at the BJP. He asked if he was also seeking TRPs by giving prominence to his channel’s coverage on the violence in West Bengal. “Don’t tell me about TRPs. People are watching. Have some sensitivity towards them….Don’t you dare tell me TRPs. Every time we report something that’s wrong with you (BJP).”
Last week, Goswami had also slammed NDTV, his former employer, in a rare outburst. Although many social media users said that there was nothing rare about Goswami outraging on his show, he has not openly attacked NDTV, which contributed immensely in establishing his career as a TV anchor.
After attacking NDTV, Goswami on Friday targeted India Today anchor Anjan Om Kashyap for entering the ICU at a hospital in Muzaffarpur and misbehaving with doctors and nurses. Accusing the Delhi-based channels of striking a deal with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for favorable reporting, Goswami also accused the Aaj Tak anchor of attacking nurses and doctors because she lacked the guts to ask uncomfortable questions to the BJP-JDU politicians in Bihar.
He singled out Kashyap and her employer the India Today Group for his attack after a pro-BJP guest on his show reminded him how people from his fraternity had controversially entered the ICU and obstructed doctors and nurses from performing their duties.
Reacting to his pro-BJP guest, one Shantanu Gupta, Goswami said, “First of all, ask that Delhi network and its journalists who went inside the ICU and heckled the nurses. I don’t do that.”
Goswami wasn’t done yet. He reacted even more vociferously,” First of all, do not club me with the Lutyens media. You know which channel did this. If you have the guts, go and ask that channel. If you have the guts, the next time you are on that channel, ask that channel. The whole country is asking them today. Ask them why they went inside the ICU.”
Goswami then explained why Anjana Om Kashyap had controversially entered the ICU. His reply may not go down well with Aroon Purie and the other senior management of the India Today media group. Goswami accused the group of lacking the guts to ask BJP leaders uncomfortable questions. “They (India Today journalist) went inside the ICU because they don’t have the guts to ask you…They are trying to make doctors the villain and I disagree with them.
“As far as the role of the media is concerned, let me tell you this. I am telling you this loud and clear. I said this on day one (while ecstatically thumping the table) that media is responsible…Just because till now Nitish (Kumar) had a deal with the media, you want this to be a paid six single-column story, you wanted this to be a two-minute news report, it will not be,” an angry Goswami replied to his pro-BJP journalist. Addressing his guest Madhu Kishwar, Goswami said, “There was a deal with the rest of the media, I’m sure. Without a deal, why wasn’t it reported?”
Kashyap had come for widespread condemnation from journalists after she entered the ICU in Muzaffarpur and attacked doctors and nurses treating desperate children despite their handicaps. One Bollywood actress had asked her to go to hell.
Last week, Goswami had attacked his former employer NDTV after a guest had questioned his credentials as a journalist.