Congress spokesperson Rajeev Tyagi has alleged that he was hit by News18 India anchor during a debate that he took part on Monday.
Tyagi was taking part in the debate titled ‘(Rahul kaa haath Bimaar Lalu ke saath) Rahul’s hand with ailing Lalu’ when he reached out to the show’s anchor Sumit Awasthi to ask him to also ‘show courage’ and conduct TV debates on Rafale defence deal, Judge Loya’s death and Amit Shah’s son.
It was at this time, Awasthi appeared to have lost his cool and asked his team to remove Tyagi from the TV frame. He was seen instructing his team, “Inko screen se hatao (Remove him from the screen).” Awasthi then slapped Tyagi on his arm ordering him to return to his chair. “Mujhe drama nahi chahiye. Baitho wahan jaa kar. Chup Chap baitho. Baith jao chup chaap.(I don’t want this drama. Go and sit there. Sit quietly, Sit quietly.)“
Awasthi kept repeating the lines ‘sit quietly’ in a menacing tone. This despite Tyagi pleading to anchor that he had hit him. “You’ve hit me. Just because I’ve held up a mirror to you, you are hitting me Sumit Awasthi.”
This was met another round of disdainful comments from Awasthi, who said disparagingly, “Stay within your limits. Rajiv Tyagi, you are an honest person but make arguments.”
Later speaking to Janta Ka Reporter, Tyagi expressed pain on the incident calling it unfortunate. He said, “All I was saying that the media must raise the issues that affect people at large. India is a country that has the most number of youth in the world. What about their jobs? What about the promises made in BJP’s manifesto in 2014? What about thousands of crores worth taxpayers’ money being thrown away to help cronies in the Rafale deal? Should Indian not focus on these shows? Was I being unreasonable on the channel?”
Tyagi explained that he had merely reached out to Awasthi to get his commitment to do future debates on these topics with a hand-shake.
The BJP representative on the debate, Shahnawaz Hussain, said that the decorum of the debate ought to have been maintained. Coming in defence to Awasthi, he said, “Such things happen on Pakistani TVs. Indian TV channels don’t have such things (shenanigans).”
Awasthi wasn’t available for comments. This story will be updated if the anchor in question chooses to react to Congress spokesperson’s allegations. The Congress party refused to comment on the development.
News18 India is the Hindi channel of Network18 group owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries.