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Which news channel won or lost with the elections

So we have the Narendra Modi-led BJP winning with a thumping majority. That’s a huuuuuuge relief. Coalition governments are bad news and have ruined the country.

I am glad that the verdict is clear, even though there are fears whether we will now have an authoritarian regime, given that Modi is not known to take too kindly to criticism.

Counting of the results starts generally only at 8 am and for the first half hour, it’s essentially the postal ballot votes that are considered.

The real leads come in from 8.30 and as it happened, in less than an hour, all key channels could conclude that NDA is going to form the government and the victory is big enough for one to be sure that Narendra Modi will be prime minister.

India 'Modi'fied: In-depth coverage of election results 2014

A man watches the election day results on multiple television screens at an electronic store in Dadar. Pic/Satyajit Desai
A man watches the election day results on multiple television screens at an electronic store in Dadar. Pic/Satyajit Desai

But in their desire to be a score a point over the other, almost every channel started their special broadcasts at 6 am. Let’s look at how each of them fared.

NewsX, DD, LS/RS TV
You can’t fault all of these for not trying. DD News is widely watched. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV have their loyal following, but they aren’t a force to reckon with on momentous occasions like general election results.

As for NewsX, I thought Rahul Shivshankar would’ve grabbed the elections opportunity for his channel and himself. That didn’t happen and he has ended up being a fifth cousin to Arnab.
My score for Results Day: 2/10

Arnab all the way!
He started in a super mood at 7 am, and was in form all of yesterday. It was clear that Arnab Goswami was very excited about the win.

There was no cartwheel in the studio, but if he could, he would’ve gladly done it. In these last three months, I seem to have finally figured what the problem is with Times Now.

The super editor-in-chief gets so aggressive with his guests that seasoned and senior politicians don’t want to come to his show.

The result: he gets junior talent and the likes of Sanjay Jha who are good at out-shouting Arnab.

My score for Results Day: 6/10

The other Rahul tanked too!
Ever since Karan Thapar entered the channel, I thought Headlines Today had improved considerably.

In fact I’ve ranked it next to Times Now, displacing CNN-IBN as the #2. Note: this happened after Thapar came in and pushed Rahul Kanwal to before and/or after his show.

But on Results Day, Rahul was leading the proceedings, with Thapar sitting in on one of the round tables along with other guests.

Vir Sanghvi, who is a rockstar with lifestyle and interview-based programming, looked out of place, possibly wanting to have been hosting the show.

So, even though the mix of guests was good, this Rahul lost the battle for Headlines Today.

My score for Results Day: 4/10

Whattabore NDTV!
For me, NDTV 24x7 is the channel of choice on every Election Results Day or on Budget Day.

And with opinion polls. On Friday morning, given that my cable operator is fighting NDTV on carriage fees and hence pipes out a 20-minute deferred telecast of the channel, I started watching it on my laptop and kept it on, even as I moved from one channel to the other on my TV set.

While it’s still a delight to watch Prannoy Roy, Dorab Sopariwalla and Shekhar Gupta offering their insights and I find Siddharth Varadarajan one of the best formers on telly, the format needed to be slicker and with a lot more energy.

Yesterday’s show ranked high on the boredom factor.

My score for Results Day: 5/10

Rajdeep’s Jeet!
On normal news days, Arnab scores a march over him as he asks the tough questions.

Since you can’t put people in the cooker on an election day, Rajdeep Sardesai is a winner. What put him ahead yesterday was his choice of studio guests.

The discussion was richer with the likes of P Sainath, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Ramchandra Guha and Aakar Patel.

It will be a pity if Rajdeep leaves the channel, as it’s rumoured, even though I do know there’s an urgent need for him to rehaul the way his nightlies are structured.

My score for Results Day: 8/10

A reality check of exit polls

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