BJP suffers the wrath of young India

10 Feb,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


It was wishful thinking on my part that Porngate would slowly lose currency on television. Quite the opposite happened, in fact, as emotions in TV studios ratcheted up as the day progressed. By the evening, this was the worst transgression ever committed. Bad as it was, it is still open to question whether it deserved quite so much rage. It usually seems that TV channels inIndiaare quite sympathetic to the rightwing – except of course those which are seen as open Congress supporters.


But even those with saffronish tinges – or especially those with saffronish twinges – were the angriest with these porn-watching Karnakata ministers. A humble theory could be that the extreme Hindutva rightwing in Karnataka has been making life miserable for young people and this was revenge time for the young people in television.


The Times of India in its editorial took a sober tone but was no less damning of the behaviour of these MLAs. Nor did it fail to rip into the moral hypocrisy of the Hindutva rightwing. The Hindustan Times decided to take a more jokey tone, which seems as inappropriate as TV’s relentless coverage. Hindustan Times kindly informed us that the minister was mistaken in thinking he was watching a rape when it actually was a “bukkake”. One could thank the newspaper for increasing our knowledge of terms used in pornography but one is not sure if this has any connection to the case in point.


One has to agree with author and columnist Shobhaa De when she said on Times Now that this was one of the rare times that she actually felt sorry for BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman, in having to defend her party’s action (or inaction) against the three ministers.


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It was heartening to read Shailaja Bajpai in her TV review column in Indian Express asking whether such intrusive coverage was necessary about cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s cancer. It is also intriguing that the cricketer tweeted that he had not spoken to any newspapers since his latest treatment started. So where did all those “interviews” come from?


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The Economic Times has front-paged (I’ve decided this is a convenient noun to make into a verb!) a story about how Indian companies are now trying to be kinder to employees who are being laid off. The usual tendency is apparently to be as insensitive as possible. Citibank, for instance, is now looking for jobs for the 100 people it “let go” of. Does this give heart to people who think their jobs are on the chopping block?


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Pranab Mukherjee, Union finance minister, is losing sleep over the size ofIndia’s subsidy burden. I suppose that in itself is good news.


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