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The 30 days boycott?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on June 09, 2019 with No Comments

After receiving a severe drubbing in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the Congress Party of India has decided that it would not be sending its spokespersons on TV channels for debates for a month. The Congress, which only managed to win 52 seats, wants to steer clear of TV debates for one month. The party, which had fought the Lok Sabha polls on unemployment and Rafale deal, has failed to challenge the BJP as the saffron party won the election by winning 303 seats. Why has Congress taken this decision? This there more to just the statement or is there a hidden agenda too. India’s once famed media has now become a propaganda apparatus.

“I want this government to be criticized. Criticism makes democracy strong. Democracy cannot succeed without constructive criticism.” Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had said when he first came to office iin 2014. The electoral success of Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was predicated on two fundamental promises: removing corruption and strengthening and modernizing India’s democracy. Over a period of time, as the circumstances have changed, so did the media strategy of the government. Slowly and steadily, yet systematically the Prime Minister and his party moved to hijack India’s free press.

The government relies on independent news organizations to peddle its narrative. Important issues like unemployment, economy, mob lynching hardly found any mention in last five years where as issues related to religion, mandir-masjid remained in the forefront. BJP ‘s close relationship with the Sangh Parivar is a well known affair, and it made sure that the spokespersons of RSS are called to the TV debates obviously tilting the balance in its side. It is alleged that TV channels were under pressure to call subject experts as “prescribed” by the party, again creating an opinion that would favour the party.

After having tolerated the onslaughts of various anchors for good five years, the Congress party has now decided to boycott TV debates that too for only 30 days. The decision comes with certain questions attached. The results have brought the Congress party to backfoot and it has realized that it is not the right time to attack the Modi government. By doing so, it has gone into a damage control mode by asking its spokespersons to refrain from participating in TV debates as the party feels all these debates are arranged in a way to raise the TRP and the opposition parties are targeted in a smart fashion. Also the period of 30 days also doesn’t show the right intent. Does the Congress party feel that things would improve after 30 days? Will its boycott send a lesson to the TV channels to literally mend its ways? Well, the government machinery is so strong that none of this may not happen. These TV anchors have been in the frame of spokesperson of the BJP and would continue to remains so.

Essentially, the issues raised by the Congress party against BJP have failed to strike a chord with the voters. The decision to not send spokespersons for TV debate comes at a time when Congress is facing leadership issues. Congress president Rahul Gandhi had taken responsibility for the party’s failure in the general elections and had offered to step down. However, the party leaders have not accepted his resignation and have urged him to continue leading the party. It’s over 10 days, and the Congress party seems to be a leaderless unit and it has become conscious of the fact that with Rahul Gandhi’s stance not clear to the party, it is not in a position to take on the charged up anchors and the BJP spokespersons. Hence the stance! Congress party can’t explain the drubbing it has received, and the stance taken by the Party President Rahul Gandhi has no logic, the 30 days boycott is an attempt to save guard itself from further harassment.


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