Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami has all along faced roasting from his critics for pushing the BJP’s agenda in the guise of journalism. The criticism against him gained momentum particularly when he dropped all pretence and came out in the open in support of the BJP when he launched Republic TV with the help of the saffron party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Though there were few occasions when Goswami attacked certain BJP leaders, he always followed one cardinal rule to never criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. However, Goswami appeared to violate that rule on Monday night when he mocked both the leaders for ‘gleefully’ tweeting on the formation of a BJP government with the help of NCP’s Ajit Pawar on Saturday.
Goswami said that ‘top BJP leadership’ that includes Modi and Shah could face humiliation if the party failed to prove its majority in the Maharashtra assembly. Midway through the programme on Monday evening, Goswami turned his attention to Madhu Kishwar and said, “..Now the BJP comes across as a party, which is willing to do anything to get into power. A party that is afraid of facing the people again. A party that has closed nine cases in irrigation scam against Ajit Pawar and corruption was one of the strongest themes for Devendra Fadnavis. If it (BJP) gets defeated (in the floor test) after this, in my view, it has national ramifications. Because the entire top leadership of the BJP has put their might behind this. They were tweeting with glee on Saturday morning. So there’s a lot of risk in what the BJP is doing.”
PM Modi and Shah were two prominent BJP leaders, who had tweeted on Saturday morning to congratulate Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar after both were sworn-in as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra respectively.
Congratulations to @Dev_Fadnavis Ji and @AjitPawarSpeaks Ji on taking oath as the CM and Deputy CM of Maharashtra respectively. I am confident they will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 23, 2019
मुझे विश्वास है कि यह सरकार महाराष्ट्र के विकास और कल्याण के प्रति निरंतर कटिबद्ध रहेगी और प्रदेश में प्रगति के नये मापदंड स्थापित करेगी।
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 23, 2019
Goswami’s criticism of the BJP leadership did not end here. He also wondered if the BJP had ‘bitten off more than it can chew.’ “Is the BJP sure that it did not overstretch its own claims that it had 54 NCP MLAs? I think there’s a big twist that is coming,” he declared.
The controversial TV anchor felt that either Sharad Pawar or Home Minister Amit Shah or both of them will have the final say on the script of the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra. Later, addressing the BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia, Goswami asked mockingly, “A question that the nation wants to know is ‘if you have a number, then you should go for an immediate floor test.’ If the Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar combine has the number, then why’s their lawyer Mukul Mohatgi (sic) going to court and saying ‘no no no, my Lord, I don’t want to do a floor test now. My Lord I am scared of a floor test.’ If you have the numbers, do a floor test immediately.”
Goswami said that he was almost convinced that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar were faking their public fight. He continued, “Now Maharashtra is either a thriller or a farce depending on the way you look at it. But one thing I would like to say. There’s something very fishy about the way Ajit Pawar and Sharad Pawar are dealing with each other. I don’t think it’s a real fight between them because they have a comical fight going on between them on Twitter. They almost seem to be desperate to tell all of us that they are at war.
“I don’t believe they (Ajit Pawar and Sharad Pawar) are at war. Absolutely not. Mark my words. Either this week or sometime in the near future, they will be back together. Sharad Pawar cannot or is not doing this simply to make Uddhav Thackeray of Shiv Sena the chief minister. Anyone who knows Sharad Pawar knows that he is not a generous benefactor of others in his last 60 years of politics.”
The BJP had pulled off a political coup by forming a government with the help of Ajit Pawar, who claimed to have the support of 54 MLAs. However, all NCP MLAs with the exception of one have returned to the NCP fold extending support to Sharad Pawar.