Rahul vs Modi: Mind your media manners

Oct 03 2013, 15:01 IST
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SummaryFrom Rahul Gandhi’s outburst to Narendra Modi’s village moment, our three leading politicians could do better with the press.

Here is some unsolicited advice on media manners, sorry media matters, offered with “humble feeling” (thank you, prime minister) to the three leading politicians of the moment: Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi.

Rahul Gandhi, please don’t barge into other people’s press conferences — it’s downright rude — hold your own.

Narendra Modi, please remember that at your election rallies (broadcast live to the entire nation via TV news) there are many “dehaati aurats” who will be insulted because you felt we should all be outraged by the alleged insulting reference by Pakistan’s PM to India’s PM as a village woman. Such remarks may cost you a few (million) dehaati votes. Also, it might be wise to avoid throwaway rhetorical lines such as, “This nation of 1.2 billion will not tolerate its prime minister’s insult” (or words to that effect), because you sound like an imitation of Arnab Goswami — and you might find that comparison insulting.

Manmohan Singh, please don’t expect us to read your mind, we would need to read your lips, hear you speak as you did to the media on your journey back to India from the US on Tuesday. More than Rahul Gandhi, you need to hold press briefings; and much more than Narendra Modi, you need to address the public, address all the scams, the cans of worms that almost daily tumble out of the government’s kitchen cabinet and corridors of power.

If you can talk to the people in the same composed and collected way you did to the media on the flight home, you will do yourself and the Congress a big favour. Modi is fiery and his passion is being fanned across the nation by live TV coverage of every breath he takes. You are a cool customer who needs to lower the temperature in what is already a high-voltage election campaign.

Even as Modi’s every move is faithfully followed by TV news, we see little of speeches by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, even on the few occasions that she makes them — her speech in Mandya, Karnataka (remote as it is) didn’t receive much coverage, despite its defence of a beleaguered PM.

It’s been a humdinger of a week. It began with Rahul G’s nonsensical outburst and will end with better sense prevailing in the government (or so TV news reported on Wednesday afternoon) on the ordinance on convicted lawmakers.

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