he last real interview Modi gave on the national television was back in 2007; I saw the glimpses on YouTube and social media and during those days, I took my baby steps in journalism. The interview was with Karan Thapar and we know what happened. Modi fled from the interview when Karan, in his usual style and tone, started asking hard-hitting questions to him. Since that incident, he has given very few interviews, most of which were scripted. I saw frightened and fixed BJP leader and the then CM of Gujarat in that video. Somewhere I feel that he holds that distress very close to his heart. PM Modi knows that he has failed to deliver many of his election promises made to people. In past five years, he was just ridiculing the Opposition in the most abased manner as possible, spending more time on foreign soil than in India, forgetting his prime ministerial duties, and campaigning for his party during the state elections for months. He twisted history, he twisted facts, and he kept silent on crucial issues and became vocal about non-issues. He still finds former late PM Nehru a threat and Gandhi a competition. Any journalist worth his salt can ask him very tough questions that he might not have answers to, and he doesn’t want to look like a fool on the national television. He doesn’t want to tarnish the image of him that he has made by lying to the public through his teeth and fooling them over the years. The BJP is a one-man show; but for him, winning elections for the party would be a colossal task. He speaks his “Mann Ki Baat” on the radio, he interacts with people on the pre-rehearsed platform, but he avoids direct confrontation. If he really dared to address the Press, trust me, he will never become the PM of India again or he will rule for long, if he could handle the Press with grace by answering their questions.
BJP’s spokespersons are going on every news channel debates and trying to justify the actions that PM has taken in his tenure, they know how crucial media is to shape public opinions. He himself tries to avoid this as he doesn’t want to project to the nation that his steps aren’t working and leaves the BJP IT cell and their PR management to handle his image instead. Not interacting directly, he can’t be held accountable to those spokespersons’ words and at the same time, he manages his image through an invisible hand. It is this media that has made Modi an everyday talking topic among individuals. Thus, you can’t be both pro and against at the same time while communicating with the Press.
Anyway, the media of India is divided into three parts — one is secular media with leftist ideology, one is right-wing media, and the third one is neutral and somewhat honest media that follows no ideology or political party or leaders but the profession of Journalism, they are harsh and making government accountable for all that they failed to deliver. They do not even hesitate when it comes to standing by the truth or praising any party or leader if they behave or conduct democratically for the welfare of the nation. The other two have selective targets to attack and ignore the good side of their targets. Well, this is the media of today. But being a Prime Minister of such largest democracy, its PM should have the guts and openness to address press conferences. There would be awkward moments and also many challenges because all will not be Modi follower media who has taken an oath to please the government and Modi. The questions can be uncomfortable, there can be the most unreasonable journo throwing all sorts of questions, but PM of this country needs the guts to take these questions on an open platform called Press Conference. Moreover, there are thousands of media houses and banners in India those are active in their own province and social media space, the PM can’t afford to ignore them as these collective small voices make a large impact. I, as the Editor of a small newspaper, always had questions in mind for PM — there are many citizens like me, who perhaps want to pose their questions through the media but the interaction is always one way. PM talks his mind, his views, his opinion, his fake pre-planned interactive sessions with people trained to speak; we have witnessed many such examples in the recent past where some journalists had to lose their job for exposing the false claims of the PM. As I told, there are other sides of journalists who deliberately make it obvious to attack PM proving him wrong on each and every issue! They blame him for over pouring rains to hot summer or sometimes if a dog of a particular community stoned by another community; they expect PM to comment on an incidence because they feel that it’s communal violence but never try to address these issues as personal rivalry or some other apprehensions.
Well, I am neither a supporter of BJP nor the AAP and Congress. I prefer NOTA when I don’t find any capable candidate. But as a voter, I do have the right to ask questions to our Prime Minister and for that, he should be available to answer. There is a significant difference between attending a press conference and delivering a public speech. In a press conference, you just answer the questions asked by the reporters. You need to be very precise while doing so. Even a slight deviation from the topic can create many problems for you that give the reporters an opportunity to cross-question you. But delivering a public speech is a whole different game. Everything is scripted and pre-planned. No one will cross-question you here. Being a good orator and speaker and also having guts and courage to stand against all odds, he should have some more bravery to face the Indian media. He knows that he won’t be able to answer the questions of the reporters if they ask about the effects of Demonetisation, India’s Black money in Swiss Bank, rising petrol prices even though crude oil price in the International market is low, rising unemployment, etc. Every aspect lies with the time management which is scarce at the moment. During the last leg of Modi’s tenure as the PM, he is finding it very, very difficult to cope with the topical political trends, corruption, brutal rapes, unsolved mysteries, farmers’ agitation, the most fundamental right of freedom of speech, demonetisation, and GST.
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