So Rajdeep Sardesai did not go leave wef June 1 as we were being told. He was on primetime last night and I only watched that channel last night (as I did on Thursday and Friday) to see if he says he’s quitting.
I switched to Times Now, Headlines Today and NDTV 24x7 in the breaks and was happy to be back on CNN-IBN. Arnab Goswami was hassled about being intimidated by the political class, though to me – and a few friends online at that time – it was he who was intimidating the politicians!
Headlines Today had an interesting session with an invited audience in Hyderabad and NDTV had, well, I don’t quite remember.
On CNN-IBN, I found the discussion on the Badaun double gangrape and murder pretty engaging. Sans the noise, just a bit of cross-talk. While all the panellists spoke on expected lines, I must make a special mention of Shaina NC. No, not because of what she wears – mostly her own creations – but because how bad she is.
Shaina for me is possibly one of the worst of the BJP’s spokespersons. Yes, Meenakshi Lekhi is repulsive, but she makes a reasonable point on the topic of discussion. Shaina looks exceedingly uncomfortable and is just a few notches better than that Congress loyalist Tehseen Poonawalla (who’s awful).
She appears to be on the defensive always, and even though she’s armed with a fair bit of data, she looks as if she’s forever worried about some tough ones coming her way. I got a mail from a friend quoting a mail that Rajdeep is said to have sent to his team yesterday.
Excerpts: “To end the speculation and concern expressed by so many of you, just think I should clarify: after a long and wearying (and highly enjoyable) election season, I am taking a short break from the newsroom (haven’t taken one in over a year!). I will be on a month’s leave.... Aim to be back on the 1st of July.”
The friend hastened to add that he’s not been able to verify the authenticity of the mail. Guess we’ll know for sure in a day or two and one mustn’t read too much into the very happy and long ‘Goodbye’ Rajdeep ended the show with.
Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it.