The news television show of the week award would undoubtedly go to the telecast of the Arvind Kejriwal session at the India Today Conclave.
I regret having not been there in person despite being invited to it. One was of course aware that the group’s channels — Aaj Tak and Headlines Today — would have it on air.
Like the Rahul Gandhi interview on Times Now, the AAP founder’s address last evening could change the public discourse over the next few weeks. And if the BJP and Narendra Modi don’t do any damage control, they could be in a spot right through to the last phase of the polls.
In his trademark understated style, Kejriwal rubbished many of the claims made about the much-acclaimed success of Modi’s Gujarat model. The impact would’ve been a lot more had he not agreed to the extended Q&A thereafter. Some of the questioners were direct, many unpleasant, but there was one which clearly had Kejriwal looking for cover.
TV Today’s Editor-at-Large Rahul Kanwal asked him why he didn’t institute an inquiry on the Somnath Bharti case despite many exposes by his channels and the India Today Group. Flummoxed, Kejriwal said he hasn’t watched the shows, as he doesn’t find them interesting. And he said that once again. Uff!
I couldn’t believe what I saw so I checked with a friend and he too was equally aghast with the way Kejriwal reacted. “Under stress, he has shown his true colours,” my friend said. Perhaps.
While I am sure there is going to be much discussion on the question marks raised about Narendra Modi’s claims on Gujarat, to my mind, Kejriwal messed up what was turning out to be a stupendous performance. That’s the beauty of our news television: it can make and break reputations, within seconds.
Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it.
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