Taking strong exception to sections of the media for playing the role of “cheerleaders” in Modi’s campaign for prime minister, one of India’s iconic TV journalists, Rajdeep Sardesai said that it was the media that made Modi the man he is today.
Sardesai was speaking at a book launch organized by Penguin Books India in collaboration with the MMAJ Academy of International Studies (AIS), Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) for his latest book entitled “2014: The Election That Changed India” on Thursday, 20th November, 2014 at Edward W. Said Hall, JMI. The discussion on the book after the formal release was facilitated by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, a prominent journalist and political commentator. (Scroll to bottom of the post for a link to the audio-recording of the session.) (Buy the Book from Flipkart.com here (aff))
Sardesai, a journalist-turned-author whose book has become a bestseller, said that failure of the Congress to address some serious issues of corruption led to the change of public mood in 2012 which resulted into a phenomenal rise of Narendra Modi, who being very clever was successful in “selling dreams”.
When cases of corruption surfaced, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in “silent mode” and “living in a resting home” at 7 Race Course Road, Sardesai said. He further said that losing control over the country’s economy was another big factor for “the Modi wave”.
Commenting on Rahul Gandhi he said: My book is little harsh on Rahul Gandhi, who could have rescued Congress. But “it was too late as Congress had lost in 2012, after serious cases of corruption against A. Raja, Ashok Chavan and others.” Therefore, had there been Rahul or not, Congress would have lost.
On being questioned by journalist and political commentator, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who coordinated the post-launch discussion with Sardesai, whether it was possible to replicate the Gujarat model elsewhere in India, Sardesai said that large parts of the Gujarat model that the BJP was talking about, was actually created by the Congress, but it failed to interrogate Modi. Therefore, taking a dig at the top Congress leadership, Sardesai remarked that “Modi should send thank you cards to Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi” and others for helping him sell his dreams.
People in the country want to have better life and Modi was able to provide them hope. If he is able to deliver even fifty percent of his promises, he is there to stay at least for next ten years, he said.
One of the greatest strength of Modi, Sardesai observed, is that “Modi is very good with the young people, who are also very happy with him” for giving them hope. However, if he fails in fulfilling those hopes, the same people will reject him, he averred.
On being asked if anti-Congressism was the new phenomenon, Sardesai remarked, “my worry is that these non-BJP parties have to change the way they do politics.” Adding further to it he said, Modi is a clever man and a 24 hour politician. “If things don’t go well with him, he will find something else,” he concluded.
Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Talat Ahmad; Director of AIS, Prof. Shri Prakash; faculty members, students of different departments, research scholars and media persons were present in the discussion.
Earlier, Dr. Mujibur Rehman of the Dr. K.R. Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies, JMI made introductory remarks followed by a brief review of the book presented Prof. Shri Prakash who said that BJP should not be very happy because it won with just 30 percent of the votes, which shows that “the support is not very wide-spread.” After the discussion, participants asked many questions most of which were answered by Sardesai.[Buy the Book 2014 : The Election that Changed India By Rajdeep Sardesai from Flipkart.com here (aff)]
Download and listen to the complete session here: