Off the record

Off the record

Chosen ones!

BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has started responding to the criticism that he is avoiding media to evade uncomfortable questions. He is giving interviews to television channels. But his choice of channels is done cleverly to be taken as an honest move.

Those who know the background of the interviewers are not surprised over the choice. All of the chosen ones are old champions or new converts to saffron cause. Modi, through these interviews, is now throwing counter questions to the people who have dared to ask uncomfortable questions.

“Modi knows how to answer people. He is using these interviews to make his detractors uncomfortable. They could not bring him into their net. See how effectively he is using the media!” commented a mediaperson.

“But it will further erode his credibility. Interviewers are known for their ideological bias,” argued another.

“How does it matter? Common people can hardly differentiate between channels,” came the reply.

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

SP’s ‘panwala’ strategy

Samajwadi Party (SP) has decided to counter BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi’s ‘chaiwala’ campaign in a different way. The SP, which has fielded Kailash Chaurasia, a ‘panwala’ (betel seller) against Modi from Varanasi, is now explaining to the people about the harmful effects of tea.

“Tea leads to acidity while betel does good to digestive system,” said UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav recently. “Even doctors advise against drinking a lot of tea,” he added.
He said that the British had got the Indians addicted to tea and captured our lands. “We should stop drinking tea, which symbolises slavery,” Akhilesh said.

The SP has been trying to turn the contest in Varanasi as a fight between a ‘chaiwala’ (Modi) and a ‘panwala’ (Chaurasia).

Since the people of Varanasi are fond of eating betel, the SP feels that the ‘panwala’ strategy will click with the voters there.

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow

The Big Brother!

Those who have been following elections over the years would certainly find them to have changed for the better. They have all appreciations for the efforts the Election Commission has put in. However, this is not the case with those who are into electioneering - candidates and the supporters.

The strict observance of Model Code of Conduct is not going well with those candidates who have earlier been strongly advocating reforms in the electoral system and suggesting novel ways to make it ideal.

“Sir, you have to finish the meeting before 7 pm,” the police officer told the organiser during a public meeting in a Delhi constituency.

The organiser ran to the candidate and reminded him about the deadline, who had been known for his championing of electoral reforms. “How can we finish it in 15 minutes?” The upset candidate wiped his forehead with the handkerchief.

“The EC is video-graphing it,” said the policemen. “Oh!” exclaimed the candidate.
“It is good to see the Commission doing a great job,” remarked a rights activist. “It has emerged as a Big Brother, but for the better.”

A S, New Delhi

Baru’s private claim

As the book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ created ripples, author Sanjaya Baru has quietly sought an appointment from the Prime Minister’s Office to meet Manmohan Singh and talk about his book.

The PMO is yet to respond. Baru has claimed that he had not discussed about the content of the book with Manmohan Singh before but he had sent one copy a week before its release.

Despite some media report that said, after reading the book Manmohan Singh felt that Baru had back stabbed him, some Congress leaders have reportedly called Baru and congratulated him for bringing out the “truth”.

Baru privately told his friends that even if Manmohan Singh felt hurt now, Singh would later realise that he was right in writing the book.

Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

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