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What was India thinking about on April 16th 2008?

April 17, 2008

Yesterday our three major national dailies were caught up with the issue of issue of Congress President Sonia’s Gandhi‘s snub to HRD Minister Arjun Singh. Sonia showed her displeasure to Arjun Singh for proposing her son Rahul Gandhi‘s name for the Prime Ministership after the next general elections (to be held early next year). The Indian Express (Delhi), The Hindu (Chennai) and The Telegraph (Kolkata) made this issue their main Front Page story.

Indian Express

The Telegraph

This is from the Hindu:

The Hindu

Well, certainly whether Rahul Gandhi becomes Prime Minister or not is of great significance to the future of our country and therefore so is whether the Congress projects Rahul Gandhi as the future P.M. I feel the Congress is plannning to do this, but wants to do it more subtly, not the way Arjun Singh did it.

Apparently, Arjun Singh is not close to Sonia Gandhi and he blurted out the party’s line before the party was ready. Therefore Sonia reprimanded Arjun Singh, and called his mention of Rahul as P.M. as sycophancy. A wise move on her part, because according to this article it was Arjun SIngh who had first proposed Sonia’s name for the P.M. after the last election, and we all know what happened. There was opposition, even from within the Congress party, and finally Sonia backed down. The Congress perhaps feels that Arjun Singh’s suggestion will result in a similar fiasco, more so because it is a direct insult to the present P.M. Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Well, usually I don’t like to agree with Sonia Gandhi but cannot help but agree with her on the issue of Arjun Singh’s sycophancy. It must be quite embarrassing for Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Karunanidhi, as he spoke too soon by echoing Arjun Singh’s rhetoric. I think he should have shown more restraint. Sonia herself has gained immensely by this criticism of Arjun Singh, and this is what makes one feels suspicious as to whether all of this is nothing but staged political drama…

Here is the Hindustan Times, Delhi edition. Although they reported on the Olympic Torch run which is scheduled today, the Sonia Arjun story was given equal prominence.


Where Times of India (both Mumbai and Delhi editions) is concerned, they focussed on the sensational meeting of Priyanka Gandhi and her father’s killer, Nalini. The Hindu and The Indian Express also reported this story in a prominent manner, but the Times went to town with it! I don’t think this story deserved this much importance and in fact one cannot help feeling that the meeting was a some sort of publicity stunt to garner brownie points for the Congress and Sonia Gandhi. It was Sonia Gandhi who granted a pardon to Nalini and that is why this convicted killer (in the conspiracy to murder Rajiv Gandhi) has only a life sentence to serve. I have a feeling that many more such publicity gimmicks are in store for us in the run-up to the elections. And the media is going to play along with the powers that be. We the public need to be prepared and on our guard.

Times of India

Interestingly, the Hindustan Times Mumbai edition was different. I liked their Front Page story on SIMI’s terrorist network. They did report Sonia snub to Arjun Singh, but it was sidelined and pushed to the left of the page. They did not give the Priyanka-Nalini story any importance.

Hindustan Times

DNA was on a different tack from other major dailes yesterday. It talked of Maharashtra’s lazy ministers, a good story but I wonder why a regional story was on the front page? Surely it should have been a story of national importance…but no, DNA is basically a Mumbai paper.


And well what can one expect from the tabloids? At last they don’t disappoint!

Mumbai Mirror


(All the images are screen shots from the sites)

Related Reading: India was worrying about Kashmir on 25th of August 2008 (post with front pages of English newspapers from all over the country)
The front pages of both Indian language and English newspapers show that there is too much sensationalism in our print media. (pictorial post)
Is Print readership falling in India?
In defense of the Indian Media
Indian print media in trouble
About fake stings and fraudulent journalism
Screen shots of the Front Pages of newspapers (English dailies, Regional dailes and some global newspapers)

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 17, 2008 9:17 am


    Excellent analysis, but let me begin towards the end:

    //DNA … It talked of Maharashtra’s lazy ministers … I wonder why a regional story was on the front page? Surely it should have been a story of national importance…but no, DNA is basically a Mumbai paper.//

    I don’t agree with you. Are you suggesting that only stories with Delhi/North Indian at their centre are of national importance? In that case, how is it that Raj Thackeray’s tirade against north indians dominating over Mumbai becomes national news? It should have been dismissed as another piece of “Madrasi” nonsense.

    Anyway, to come back to the main part of your post, what I really appreciate is that, possibly for the first time in 60+ years since it came to power, someone from the Congress party has gone on record to admit that it is a sewer of sycophancy. Hat’s off to Sonia Gandhi for that, whatever her other merits or demerits.

    As for Arjun Singh, well, he does belong to the feudal, bowing-and-scraping, cow-belt cultural ethos that is routinely portrayed in 99.99 per cent of Bollywood regurgitations purporting to represent India. How could you be so naive as to expect anything else from him. Scum will always be scum.

    I must say I am amazed by Karunanidhi, though. Not that his state is wanting in the culture of sycophancy. But at least it is not deemed to be vested in perpetuity in a single clan.

  2. Prax permalink
    April 17, 2008 9:44 am

    wow vivek
    ur analysis is as good as nitas
    i think mama is planning to retire and give the mantle to daughter dear – with baba at the helm

  3. April 17, 2008 11:54 am

    Cool Blog… adding to my favs…

  4. April 17, 2008 2:09 pm

    Nita, I am not too fond of Arjun Singh and so I didn’t mind this criticism at all. He deserves much more than this.
    I agree with you //many more such publicity gimmicks are in store for us in the run-up to the elections. And the media is going to play along with the powers that be. We the public need to be prepared and on our guard.//

  5. April 17, 2008 2:31 pm

    Even if we consider this as a publicity stunt, to prepare the ground, I dont think there is any thing gravely wrong with that. Especially when the majority of the nation would be very happy to get their sons/dsughters in influential positions, even though they dont deserve it. How can we expect our leaders alone to behave any differently? (One day i hope to give the first comment Nita)

    Destination Infinity.

  6. April 17, 2008 6:16 pm

    Vivek, thanks. You do have a point about DNA, but no I don’t think stories of north indian importance are of national importance. If a delhi paper had written about their lazy state ministers on the front page I would have felt the same.

    Prax! You said:

    i think mama is planning to retire and give the mantle to daughter dear – with baba at the helm

    Now that reads like the plot of a horror movie! 🙂

    Prerna, thanks.

    Destination Infinity, yeah I know what you mean. The politicians are after all just the junta!. But aren’t we supposed to have a higher expectation from them? And well, the stakes are higher too. Chote sarkar may ruin a company’s fortunes, but here we have India at stake na?
    And about the comments, I don’t always get a lot of comments. Its just chance. So you will get your word in first soon I’m sure!

  7. April 17, 2008 6:54 pm

    the media seems to be playing along with the politicians and given them more space to pull off their stunts…but the media is supposed to be voice of the people…

  8. April 18, 2008 5:37 pm

    Now what is so wrong in suggesting Rahul’s name?? Lemme guess….he is only half Indian???? So that is a problem too with the Indians and that is why Congress is terrified that things will end up in a “Deja Vu”ish style??
    But don’t we Indians puff our chest with pride when some xyz Indian reaches an important post in the West??? 😐
    Loved the colourfull front pages, btw. 🙂 Specially the last two. 😉

  9. amlistening permalink
    April 21, 2008 10:54 pm

    Well amongst all this….I also realized its the death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi today. I can still recall the early summer morning. There was no power to add to the drama. I was too young to have a favourite politician but was old enough to realize that something had happened. No power meant that news travelled through word of mouth and that implies it was even more significant. Rajiv was my elder sister’s ideal! (yes that’s true) and dad was interested because of his interest in politics.
    I was a silent spectator, who only realized a couple of years later that Rajiv Gandhi was a really charasmatic individual. (I think I realized that after reading/watching something on this death anniversary few years later, just like today). Rajiv influences a lot of Indian because of his good looks, political family and something else that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have.
    Well he might have made some good and bad policies but he did give a clean (shaven!), handsome and fresh face to Indian Politics. My gratitude for that man…..and thanks for reminding Nita

    You are welcome. 🙂 – Nita.


  1. Just Rajiv….without Gandhi « Amlistening’s Weblog

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