BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra once publicly praised Arnab Goswami and said that he owed his fame to the Republic TV founder. This was during this year’s Lok Sabha elections when Patra unsuccessfully contested from Odisha’s Puri Lok Sabha constituency. Weeks later, Goswami chided him during a LIVE TV debate for allegedly ‘playing a game with the people of India.’
Goswami was debating the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday night. Joining him in the debate was Patra along with at least a dozen other guests including JDU’s Pawan Verma. JDU is an ally of Patra’s party, the BJP, in Bihar. Verma’s party had opposed the BJP-led government’s move on the doing away with Article 370.
Speaking on Republic TV, Verma defended his party’s stand as he said, “We believe that if the goal of the government that they seek to achieve through revocation of Article 370 can be achieved with the overall happiness and prosperity of people of Jammu and Kashmir, we are not against that. But we believe that the manner in which Article 370 has been revoked, needs for all of us to ponder to understand what could be the larger consequences of such an action in the manner it has been taken in the world’s largest democracy.”
But Patra was seen defending Verma as he said that the revocation of Article 370 was a great step towards ending the politics of appeasement in India. It was at this point when Goswami asked Patra, “who are you addressing to?” Patra replied, “I’m addressing him (Pawan Verma) and he’s smiling.” This, according to him was a sign that Verma agreed with the BJP’s stand on Article 370.
A visibly irritated Goswami chided Patra as he said, “The problem with you is that..I don’t like friendly engagements, I don’t want false fights. Either you differ or…. Don’t play a game with the people of India.” Goswami told Patra to tell his ally Verma about his party’s displeasure for not supporting the BJP on Article 370.
Patra then launched a rant almost reading a passage from his party’s manifesto on Article 370 as he asked, “How dare this country tolerate that (separate flag and constitution for Jammu and Kashmir)?” Goswami told him bluntly, “You tell this to Pawan Verma. Why are you shouting at me?”
Goswami moved on to his next guest by ignoring Patra’s justification calling it a ‘childish game.’