Arnab Goswami’s arrest in the abetment to suicide has led to ugly scenes on Republic TV as BJP supporters fought on LIVE TV. The controversy was triggered by a right-wing panelist alleging that Goswami’s arrest had severely tarnished the image of the BJP among the ordinary public. This was to imply that the BJP had not done enough to extend relief to Goswami despite the party ruling the country and the Republic TV founder’s unflinching support for the Hindutva ideology.
Right-wing panelist Ratan Sharda made scathing observations about the lack of support extended to Arnab Goswami by the BJP. He said, “..Let me tell you with all humility to the BJP that the perception battle is lost in the minds of common people. My people shout at me saying what BJP is doing. Whatever we say on TV, but the perception about the BJP is damaged very badly because of this incident. Arnab will rise, but the BJP will have to show something on the ground that they were there (for Arnab Goswami). Hardcore BJP supporters are very angry.”
Even before Sharda could complete his argument, BJP spokesperson Sanju Verma interrupted to slam the former for his criticism of her party. “The BJP is not running a kangaroo court Mr. Sharda,” she said adding that ‘we need to believe in courts. We are not a banana republic.”
A visibly angry Sharda warned the BJP spokesperson to not use ‘such language’ against him. “I respect you, I respect the BJP. I’ve fought for years for the BJP. You’ve lost the perception battle, people are angry and you are teaching me about kangaroo court,” Sharda exploded.
Sharda said that he only spoke about the perception and it was up to the BJP to correct that perception. Verma said that whilst Sharda had the right to give his opinion, she too was entitled to express her opinion.
A Republic TV anchor shared her grief over her ‘editor-in-chief’ being forced to spend his third night in judicial custody. But the fight between two right-wing supporters on Republic triggered a huge backlash on Twitter too where Sanju Verma began to trend.
Nupur Sharma of right-wing blog page OpIndia tweeted, “Watching Republic. Sanju Verma is the most uncouth, rude and annoying spokie who picks fights with people on her side, hence, possibly stupid too.”
One Twitter user asked the BJP to remove Verma as its spokesperson arguing that ‘she has started picking fights with people of the same ideology!!! This is not how we build a strong ecosystem!’
Another right-wing Twitter user, Manish Kumar, lamented, “These motormouth recruits neither understand the organization nor have the brains to identify friends and enemy.”
Many right-wing supporters later shared screenshots alleging that Verma had blocked them on Twitter.
Goswami was arrested from his house in Mumbai on Wednesday morning in an abetment to suicide case. He was later sent to 14 days of judicial custody. The Republic TV founder later challenged his judicial custody in the Bombay High Court seeking his urgent release.