Ranjona Baneri: Media: BJP’s Biggest Enabler

16 Jul,2021

Ranjona BanerjiBy Ranjona Banerji

 

In that other world, the one we used to live in, heck, why am I wasting my time, right?

 

But anyway, I soldier on. In that other world, imagine what would happen if the Prime Minister of India went to a state where Covid-19 was so bad that bodies were floating in India’s most sacred rivers and the riverbeds were just shallow graves, and praised the state for the “unprecedented” way in which it handled the pandemic?

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bodies-found-buried-in-sand-on-banks-of-ganga-in-up-s-prayagraj-101621162366236.html

https://scroll.in/latest/995723/in-ups-prayagraj-covers-removed-from-shallow-graves-along-the-ganga-say-reports

 

“Unprecedented” indeed.

 

Instead, of course, we had Narendra Modi’s outright lies amplified again and again, especially by television media. The fact that Modi was either playing an intra-right political game or playing electoral politics or both would have been the main focus of the news in that other world. The way it is the news in the also poll-bound Congress-run state of Punjab where Chief Minister Amarendra Singh is at loggerheads with 2017 recruit from the BJP, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has chief ministerial ambitions.

 

O yes, this story is everywhere. The reason is obvious. Punjab is not a BJP state. So therefore, despite UP’s dismal law and order situation, the cruel highhandedness of the police, the high incidence of crimes against women including some of the most gruesome rapes of recent times, despite the continuing misery of its low human development indices, we must focus only on the PM’s high praise without dissecting it.

 

Oh, haven’t I mentioned the oxygen shortages, the miserable healthcare, the dying and desperate people during the second wave of Covid19? The dead bodies along and in the Ganga came later.

 

The media remains the BJP’s biggest enabler. Especially at election time. Perhaps that explains why the BJP has not increased its apparent rate of ₹2 per tweet for its troll army. Why pay more when media houses will do the work for free?

 

In that other world, as we see happening with Punjab, there should be endless analyses and opinions on the relationship between Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath aka Ajay Mohan Bisht. The priest of Gorakhpur is not from the RSS family. He has won elections on his own Hindutva steam, and his somewhat, er, controversial Hindu Yuva Vahini. His journey into Hindu majoritarianism began with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. His rule of UP has been marked by Islamophobia, misogyny and anti-caste policies – the hallmarks of success in the Hindutva world. We have seen already how excited and thrilled TV personalities like Rahul Kanwal of India Today were with Adityanath’s anointment as CM.

 

So, what is his relationship with Modi? Is it as fractious as Singh and Sidhu in Punjab? Anyone wants to spend night after night screaming about it on TV? If not, why not? It’s interesting, or isn’t it?

 

Why has Uttarakhand, despite being a BJP state, turned down the UP CM’s request to allow the Kanwar Yatra to enter Uttarakhand? Is that interesting or not?

 

**

 

Meanwhile, I remind you that our vaccination rate remains low. Our new Union health minister is looking for someone to blame, obviously non-BJP states. Our economy remains tanked. Our foreign affairs record is appalling. The Rafale deal remains a scam.

 

Is it any wonder that Singh versus Sidhu is the only newsworthy part of the BJP media’s life?

 

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She writes on MxMIndia every Tuesday and Friday. Her views here are personal

 

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