Proceedings in a conclave organised by Hindi TV channel Aaj Tak faced unusual disruptions after BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra repeatedly urged the channel owner Aroon Purie and his daughter Kalli Purie to come to his rescue when Congress representative Kanhaiya Kumar began to corner him for allegedly making false statements.
Kanhaiya explained how he was never against the issue of nationalism but highlighted that the topic had been hijacked by BJP leaders for personal and political gains. He explained how Patra had made a significant capital out of the nationalism narrative as he was recently rewarded with the plum posting as the new chairman of the ITDC.
Kanhaiya sought to ask what qualifications did Patra possess to be first made a director in the government-owned ONGC followed by the latest appointment as the head of the ITDC.
Cornered by repeated interventions made by Kanhaiya, Patra angrily asked the programme’s moderator Chitra Tripathi if this was how she intended to treat a spokesperson from the ruling party. Not satisfied with Tripathi’s subsequent conduct, the BJP spokesperson began to address Aroon Purie and his daughter Kalli Purie, who were both sitting in the audience.
This prompted Kalli Purie to make an extraordinary intervention as she interrupted the LIVE discussion. She said, “Kanhaiya ji, one second. Can I ask all the speakers on Agenda Aaj Tak stage to keep the line of discipline, please? Please let Sambit Patra ji or any other speakers keep their entire point. Then you make. Please don’t fact-check them in between. Let the moderator do that. Otherwise, as an audience, we don’t know what’s happening. We can’t hear anything. This is not a TV debate. She doesn’t have the facilities to mute you.”
A visibly ‘grateful’ Patra thanked Kalli Purie for the ‘intervention.’
He said, “I have to say with pain that what’s happening here is what is also happening parliament too. They don’t let us speak.”
Kanhaiya, who fought the last Lok Sabha polls on a CPI ticket, recently joined the Congress party.
Patra was recently appointed a part-time Non-Executive Director and the Chairman of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC). He has also been an independent director of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).