Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday sensationally walked out of a TV interview barely few minutes after being asked questions on his party’s manifesto for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Prasad had appeared on a newly launched Hindi channel TV9 Bharatvarsh to talk about his party’s manifesto, which was released with fanfare in Delhi. Among those attending the much-publicised event were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was tasked with leading the committee on drafting the manifesto.
While on TV9 Bharatvarsh, Prasad was asked to explain why the BJP had decided not to include its commitment on building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, abrogation of Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir and Uniform Civil Code in its list of 75 pledges made for the next three years.
Prasad made desperate attempts to wriggle his way out but the journalist in question remained determined to elicit a satisfactory reply from him. The TV9 Bharatvarsh anchor also pointed out to Prasad that his party had simply copied segments from the 2014 manifesto on the issue of the Ram Temple and pasted it into this year’s election manifesto. This appeared to irk Prasad, who lost his cool and accused the anchor of not respecting his seniority as a union minister by asking difficult questions.
He reacted angrily, “See if you speak to me nicely, I will answer your questions. If you are a senior editor, then I am also a senior leader of this country. If you indulge in loose talk with me, then I will have to say good bye to you.”
No sooner did he finish his sentence, Prasad abruptly removed his earpiece and kept mumbling in anger against the channel.
As expected, the development evoked strong reactions on social media with journalists and social media users poking fun at the fear of BJP leaders in entertaining free-wheeling and unscripted interviews or press conferences.
One user wrote that ‘perhaps Prasad was expecting questions such as ‘why don’t you ever get tired’ but he was asked difficult questions on his party’s manifesto and he ran away.” Another user wrote on Twitter, “This shows Prasad’s anxiety in facing Shatrughan Sinha in Patna Sahib.”
Modi had recently lost his cool during a TV interview when he was asked a question on his involvement in the alleged Rafale scam. He had called the channel biased even though its journalists had come under fire for being too soft on Modi. That’s because some of their questions were about the secret to Modi’s energy and their refusal to challenge Modi even when he was seen to be making factually incorrect claims.
Modi is the only prime minister in Indian history, who has never held a single press conference. Prasad walking out of a TV interview appears to put Modi’s fear of facing difficult questions from upright media persons in perspective.
— Sunil Sharma (Sunny) (@Sunil_Congressi) April 8, 2019