Freaking News: It’s business as usual after the election euphoria

09 Mar,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


Of course the media was to blame for the Bahujan Samaj Party’s loss in UP’s assembly elections. Sure, the Samajwadi Party, Congress and BJP were also involved but the media certainly played a role in the rout of Mayawati. Thankfully – perhaps – the former chief minister of UP did not blame the people, as Prakash Karat, chief dictator of the CPM did, after the Left managed to lose West Bengal to Mamata Banerjee.


After the results were declared, TV land went into a sort of decline. Having expended this enormous amount of energy on getting the results out to the people in the usual frenzied fashion, the day after was a probably inevitable anti-climax. The arrival of Holi did not help either, because everyone went into holiday mood which for most TV channels means showing a stream of Hindi film songs (no point asking) and other fillers.


Life was not different for newspapers as Holi meant holidays on different days across India. Was this a conspiracy by the Election Commission? If I were Mayawati or Salman Khurshid, I would certainly think so.


The Times of India’s early edition for Dehra Dun on March 7 (more on the perils of being stuck with a mofussil edition coming soon) headlined the results as ‘UP has spoken, no Rahul Maya’, with the ‘sp’ of spoken in red. Other puns were also in evidence (Sonrise for Akhilesh and Bad Heir Day for Rahul Gandhi). The Hindustan Times went for ‘Akhilesh Pradesh’, DNA Mumbai had a bit of fun with ‘Rahul knocked down by cycle’.


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Newspaper editorials summed up the results quite cogently. The Hindu argued that just depending on anti-incumbency isn’t enough; parties have to make more effort that expecting the other person to lose. The Times of India emphasised the fact that the Indian voter knows when someone is trying to take them for a ride and rather than traditional promises, deliverance and governance are the keys. Several commentators also pointed out that corruption at the Centre had an impact on local polls, which is bad news for the UPA and Anna Hazare, his team and Baba Ramdev had a little chuckle here. No one missed the fact that the regional parties had trumped the big two in UP either. The forthcoming perils for the UPA and the BJP have both been underlined.


As expected, it takes print to make sense of anything and TV would do well to develop some expertise and analytical skills of its own.


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By the time the euphoria died down, it was business as usual and the Samajwadi Party was up to its usual tricks which TV jumped on with alacrity – a young boy killed, journalists under siege, houses burnt. An IPS officer was killed in Madhya Pradesh, apparently by the mining mafia, several people in Mumbai were hospitalised by poisonous Holi colours and BS Yeddurappa wants his job back!


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