In a dramatic development, comments made by a guest appearing on Republic TV about Subramanian Swamy, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made Arnab Goswami so uncomfortable that he decided to throw the panelist out of his show.
Taking part in a debate, political analyst Nishant Varma asked Goswami, “You say, who’s Subramanian Swamy?” Goswami replied sarcastically, “A human being.” Nishant continued, “He (Swamy) called (Former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee a womaniser and a drunkard. He’s in the party called the BJP.”
Varma was referring to articles published in Tamil weekly Kumudham in 1997 quoting comments made by Swamy about Vajpayee. The magazine quoted Swamy in its issue dated 20 March 1997 as saying, “In Delhi the Japanese external affairs minister had organised a party. Vajpayee, who was present there as India’s external affairs minister, was drunk. I was also invited for that dinner. I was shocked to see the external affairs minister fully intoxicated…”
On another occasion, Swamy had allegedly called Vajpayee a ‘cunning man’ adding that the late prime minister may have been a police informer during the Quit India movement.
No sooner did Varma make a reference to Swamy’s widely-reported comments about Vajpayee, Goswami lost his cool as he asked, “What did he say? What did he say? No, no, no. You cannot make any personal allegations. I condemn it…Subramanian Swamy is not the matter of this debate.”
The guest in question kept reminding him that he was only referring to comments made by Swamy about Vajpayee, but Goswami appeared to think that his panelist had attacked the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP. The Republic TV founder said, “You have no right to attack Subramanian Swamy personally. I won’t allow you. Enough.”
Then referring to his like-minded guests, Goswami said that Varma had gone crazy. The guest in question also highlighted Goswami’s own hypocrisy by reminding him that he had once questioned the mental condition of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath adding that he had now become a fan of the same BJP leader.
Goswami continued, “You’ve made personally disparaging comments. You are liable for it. I do not wish to be associated with what you said. You must apologise for it. You have no right to talk about Subramanian Swamy in such a manner.”
When Varma said that the quotes he was referring to (about Swamy and Adityanath) were available in public domain, Goswami announced, “You apologise or I will throw you out of my programme.” Varma replied, “You get me out your programme but I am not apologising…Never call me if you can’t deal with facts.”
As Varma removed his mic and made his way out of the Republic TV studio, Goswami appeared to have realised his mistake and almost pleaded for his guest to stay back. But, he kept walking as his window turned dark.
Goswami had organised a debate to attack the Congress for aligning with the Shiv Sena as he mockingly called the foot soldiers of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray #SoniaSainiks. Varma was trying to argue that the phenomenon of political convenience was not confined to the Congress and there were several examples related to BJP leaders and its supporters such as Goswami himself.