Barkha Dutt ‘Promotes’ a Book

barkha dutt (@BDUTT) tweeted at 6:01 PM on Thu, Oct 05, 2017:
This should be interesting to moderate this evening. And what do we make of Yashwant Sinha as Chief Guest at @ManishTewari launch?! https://t.co/q2yjblCemT
(https://twitter.com/BDUTT/status/915917415707443200?s=03)

Manish Tiwari of the Congress party has written a book called “Tidings of Troubled Times”; he organised a programme in Lutyens’ Delhi for the perhaps hundred odd members of what Surjit Bhalla, an economics analyst, calls the ‘Old Elite’, or what Sanjaya Baru, a political analyst, calls ‘Delhi Darbaris’ and ‘Nehruvian Elites’.  Apart from Yashwant Sinha (senior BJP leader) as the chief guest, the Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Admi Party, was also in attendance on the dais.

If one noticed those on the dais, they are united on only one factor – a virulent hatred of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.  One can understand the three politicians to be so disposed.  For Dutt to lend her weight to their agenda, tells a lot about her.

Barkha Dutt, Manish Tewari, Yashwant Sinha and Arvind Kejriwal (l to r) (Credit: inkhabar.com)

Essential message of the discourse

Dutt puts out four tweets, which are sound bites of the chief guest, giving what she thought was the essence of the message that Sinha wanted to convey:

barkha dutt (@BDUTT) tweeted at 8:21 PM on Thu, Oct 05, 2017:
“Will be the best day of my life if the BJP decides to take action against me”: Yashwant Sinha tells me at launch of @ManishTewari book ! https://t.co/MYrCbkpBnn
(https://twitter.com/BDUTT/status/915952650784530433?s=03)

barkha dutt (@BDUTT) tweeted at 8:24 PM on Thu, Oct 05, 2017:
BJP won’t be Happy to see you w/ @ArvindKejriwal & @ManishTewari I say to Yashwant Sinha.” Am past caring. Let them take action if they wish”https://t.co/bRzH07WjMj
(https://twitter.com/BDUTT/status/915953351648530434?s=03)

barkha dutt (@BDUTT) tweeted at 8:45 PM on Thu, Oct 05, 2017:
“Ridiculous to say I was chasing job of BRICS Bank: Why would I want a ‘tutpoonjia’ post like that” : Yashwant tells me @ManishTewari launch https://t.co/9YtKlCwXmL
(https://twitter.com/BDUTT/status/915958578149773317?s=03)

barkha dutt (@BDUTT) tweeted at 8:51 PM on Thu, Oct 05, 2017:
“If I’m so irrelevant why did PM make one & half hour speech on economy” : Yashwant Sinha to me at @ManishTewari launch w,/ @ArvindKejriwalhttps://t.co/rqk31WRUOI
(https://twitter.com/BDUTT/status/915960139106144256?s=03)

The next morning, after perhaps a good dinner and a scintillating party, she comes out with two more tweets, again sound bites of the chief guest:

barkha dutt (@BDUTT) tweeted at 9:13 AM on Fri, Oct 06, 2017:
“If bjp acts against me will be happiest day”: Yashwant to me after sharing stage w/ @ArvindKejriwal @ManishTewari  https://t.co/3RaEOJJCgx
(https://twitter.com/BDUTT/status/916146903519244288?s=03)

barkha dutt (@BDUTT) tweeted at 9:22 AM on Fri, Oct 06, 2017:
Yashwant Sinha dares BJP to Act against him in this panel with @ArvindKejriwal @ManishTewari moderated by me. Watch https://t.co/3RaEOJJCgx
(https://twitter.com/BDUTT/status/916149113233772544?s=03)

So, all the tweets are statements of the chief guest only.  Does it mean that the other two participants, the author of the book and the Delhi chief minister, were mute during the whole programme?  Or that they really had nothing useful to say?  Perhaps the statements of the other two were not punchy enough to project the agenda.

Reader’s comment

There are various comments to the tweets above, which would be worthwhile to read, since they give a clear indication that the people at large are really not bereft of intelligence.  An interesting one I found was:

अंकित जैन (@indiantweeter) tweeted at 8:46 AM on Fri, Oct 06, 2017:
Arvind Kejriwal attending Book launch of someone who called Anna Hazare “tum toh upar se neeche tak khud Bhrasht ho” in 2012. Much respect.
(https://twitter.com/indiantweeter/status/916140118842281984?s=03)

This would have been Tiwari.  What does it say about Kejriwal who shared a platform with such a person?  Of course, Keriwal has disowned Annaji a long time ago, and is conducting himself in a manner completely opposite to what he started off as. And Annaji has more than once spoken his mind about his disenchantment with what is happening in Aam Admi Party.

Inanity

I found the statements by Sinha to be inane, to put it politely.  It may be that the rest of the Old Elite found them profoundly intelligent.  And this is what the problem is in Bharat today.  The Old Elite is finding that their privileges are being seriously eroded,  and they are fighting back in a dirty manner, because of their sense of entitlement, a product of false sense of importance.  Bhalla (The Indian Express, July 17, 2017) wrote:

“(T)he old elite — politicians, corporates, left-intellectuals, academics — cannot be expected to give up their privileges so easily. They will try to derail the transformation and object at every turn: If that means fake analysis, they will do so. If that means intellectual gymnastics, they will do so. The key point is that they must do so.”

Fake analysis and intellectual gymnastics actually means telling lies. And so it is not just that Sinha’s inane statements are allowed to be pronounced in a programme, but that they are projected as words of wisdom.  And every one in the Old Elite will go ga-ga over them.

So, Shekhar Gupta tweets:

Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) tweeted at 8:15 PM on Thu, Oct 05, 2017:
Let’s call it the “Abhi toh main jawan hun” moment in politics. In any case there’s no age-limit for political jobs. We’ve had PMs in ‘80s https://t.co/zr6u0T7Zdo
(https://twitter.com/ShekharGupta/status/915951058832187393?s=03)

Why does Sinha not resign?

An Internet Hindu tweeted:

piyush (@gundechaps) tweeted at 10:34 PM on Thu, Oct 05, 2017:
This guy should resign from BJP . Shameless how can he sit on same stage with a congress guy who calls PM of india a bad word!
(https://twitter.com/gundechaps/status/915986096944644096?s=03)

This is the way any decent democracy should function.  Why is Sinha challenging the BJP to sack him?  Like in any organisation, the leadership takes a decision on the direction the party will move.  It is a collective wisdom.  If anyone thinks that this is wrong for the country, and he has failed to convince the leadership, the normal thing to do is to resign, and present the case to the people.  After all, it is not necessary that one has to be in electoral politics to serve the nation and its people.

The fact that Sinha does not want to consider this option is a sign of entitlement on part of the Old Elite.  And the fact that those who call themselves as journalists are willing to go along with this programme, is an indication of lack of professionalism on their part.

A hope

I hope that the BJP leadership reads the comments to the tweets of Dutt and Dutta as the mood of the people, particularly their core support base.  It is this support base that has really defeated the Old Elite, and not the Delhi based leadership of the party.  This episode is also a sign that the BJP leadership should treat the journalists in the Old Elite with disdain, and not give them any importance.  Sometimes it may be necessary to be present at their shows, so that there is an opportunity to present their viewpoint to the audience that watch such shows.  But, as the data clearly shows, the audience is miniscule, and consists of those whom make it a point to have a blinkered vision.

About the Author

Ashok Chowgule

Working President (External), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharat.