#PrimetimeWatch: From Murky Politics in Goa to Congress Rocking the Boat in UP

A daily round-up of trends and patterns on news television.

New Delhi: A day after Manohar Parrikar’s death, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Nitin Gadkari and Amit Shah moved quickly to stymie any disruption in the party-led alliance government in Goa. By late evening, it became clear that another RSS man, assembly speaker Pramod Sawant, would be Parrikar’s replacement.

How did channels cover the day of behind-the-scenes politics in Goa? What other news did the primetime shows focus on?

English channels


During NDTV 24×7’s primetime debate, anchor Nidhi Razdan said it was terrible that even while Parrikar’s last rites were taking place, murky politics were being played out in the state.

Sagarika Ghose said Parrikar was a political figure who could take people along – and effectively, it has taken three people to replace one. Her reference was to the channel’s headlines: “Pramod Sawant set to be next Goa CM” and “alliance partners to get deputy posts”.

The channel questioned the timing of these negotiations, with headlines like “Politics eclipses Parrikar’s last rites” and “BJP ‘dealmaking’ in time of mourning”.

While panelists argued both sides, the channel asked if Goa should have fresh polls so it could have a stable government.

India Today TV

In its “big story”, India Today discussed the hectic political confabulations a day after Parrikar’s passing. It said a “unique coalition arrangement” has been arrived at, with two deputy chief minister posts being offered to allies.

The programme, anchored by Rajdeep Sardesai, also noted that “Parrikar’s legacy” was “key for BJP”, as he was able to bridge the divide between Hindus and Catholics.

Using the headline “Parrikar perfected Goa model”, the channel talked about how he “ensured Goa remained immune to ‘gau raksha’ (cow protection) politics”.

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Times Now

Times Now showed the results of an opinion poll about the projections in the wake of “The Big Balakot Surge”. It projected that the NDA would get 283 seats, UPA 135 and others 125.

The “poll tracker” programme debated how the airstrike had changed political equations and reversed the slide that the Narendra Modi government was experiencing.

Anchor Navika Kumar also asked how long the impact of the airstrike would remain as people also needed food and jobs for survival.

Republic TV

While most channels – perhaps due to their links with the Ambanis – did not mention the Anil Ambani case in the Supreme Court, Republic TV highlighted how elder brother Mukesh had bailed Anil out in the Ericsson case.

“Mukesh Ambani saves Anil Ambani” and “Anil Ambani thanks Mukesh and Nita for help” were among the headlines it ran.

The channel also showed some comments from the younger brother: “Anil: We’ve moved beyond the past”, “Deeply touched by this gesture” and “‘They stood by me in trying times”. “Mukesh helps Anil pay Rs 550 crore” spoke about the extent of help offered.

The channel also took up the story of a London court issuing a warrant against Nirav Modi with headlines “Another big diplomatic win in UK” and “Now, #NiravFacesArrest in London”.

Hindi channels

ABP News

ABP News played up the Nirav Modi story. “Sawalon say bhagta Nirav Modi (Nirav Modi runs away from questions),” the headline read.

Jise sarkar dhoond rahi hai usay ABP News nay dhoondha (We found the man the government has been looking for),” it proclaimed, adding that when its correspondent approached the jeweller, he evaded questions and fled.

During the show, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said Nirav Modi was told to flee and weak attempts were being made to bring him back. Shaina N.C. of BJP countered this, saying it was in the UPA regime that banks granted him loan after loan without collateral.

Watch | Elections in the Time of Fake News

Zee News

The channel ran an obituary of Parrikar – recalling how till his last days he worked with ordinary people and had come to be known as the ‘Scooter-wala CM (CM who moved around on a two-wheeler)’.

The channel remembered him through headlines such as “Saadgi wale CM Manohar Parrikar ki antim vidai (The last send-off for a simple CM)”. It also spoke to several friends, associates and colleagues of Parrikar.

The process of appointing Parrikar’s successor was not discussed.

Aaj Tak

Nahin chahiye Congress ki dariyadali (We do not need any largesse from the Congress)’ was how the channel portrayed the reaction of the BSP-SP alliance to Priyanka’s boat rally in Uttar Pradesh.

Aaj Tak insisted that her entry into the state has unnerved the alliance leaders. “Congress kay gameplan say Maya-Akhilesh parishan (Mayawati-Akhilesh rattled by Congress’s game plan)” was the heading it used to allude to their concern.

The channel also insisted that by talking of an alliance and then not getting into one, the Congress has left voters confused. “Gathbandhan kay voter ko confuse kar rahi hai Congress?” another headline said.

NDTV India

Noted anchor Ravish Kumar in his primetime programme discussed how “2014 ka chaiwala 2019 main chowkidar hua (How the chaiwala of 2014 became a watchman in 2019)”.

While within two days of Modi launching his #MainBhiChowkidar campaign most channels may have forgotten about it, Kumar said the question which needed to be asked was if a chowkidar indeed would have been required if the Modi government had fulfilled its responsibilities.

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