New Delhi: Two of the three contentious farm bills were passed in Rajya Sabha Sunday evening amid scenes of chaos, with MPs climbing on to the chairperson’s podium in protest, grabbing his microphone and even tearing up official papers — in the process forgetting all physical distancing norms. But you couldn’t tell this from most channels’ prime time segments, which focused on Payal Ghosh’s allegations of sexual assault against Anurag Kashyap, complete with sound bytes from, you guessed it, Kangana Ranaut.
Mirror Now was one of the few channels that discussed what went down in the Upper House of Parliament and what it said about India’s democracy.
Anchor Afrida Rahman Ali asked the BJP’s Tuhin Sinha, “There is a legitimate democratic process that must be followed. It seems that the government has the confidence of the numbers and now any bill can be passed through brute force, through a voice vote. Isn’t that a travesty of democracy?”
Sinha responded, “We have seen the Congress come up with similar behaviour with other bills. Congress is used to behaving in a certain way. We couldn’t have a prolonged discussion due to Covid.”
And Amee Yajnik, a Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha, noted, “When a bill is being passed without any discussion or debate, without hearing the concerned stakeholders, is it not the prerogative of the MPs to ask why due procedure is not being followed?”
On Aaj Tak’s ‘Halla Bol’, the scene was completely different, with anchor Anjana Om Kashyap declaring, “Payal Ghosh’s allegations have put forward the dirty picture of Bollywood.”
“Anurag has alleged that it’s a conspiracy to sabotage his reputation,” Kashyap added, as a video of Ghosh’s quote was played on the channel. As usual, actor Kangana Ranaut had a statement on the matter that was a part of the show. “Bollywood waits for a new hot girl,” Ranaut said, cryptically.
Kangana Ranaut’s views on the allegations were the subject of discussion on News18 India as well. “Kangana Ranaut has demanded Kashyap’s arrest,” anchor Arpita Arya said. “Ranaut has said that the allegations against Kashyap were extremely serious,” the anchor said, before going on to read out Ranaut and Ghosh’s Twitter exchange.
“Ghosh thanked Ranaut, she felt as if only Ranaut was the only one who supported her,” Arya said.
News Nation, too, trained its lens on Bollywood, but on a different aspect. It raised questions about the late Disha Salian’s fiancé, Rohan Roy. The channel even displayed a video of Salian applying make-up, for no apparent reason. “The entire country wants justice for her except her near and dear ones, the ones who were partying with Disha have nothing to do with justice now,” anchor Vidya Nath Jha said cryptically.
NDTV 24×7‘s Sonia Singh opted for a completely different path for her prime time segment. She spoke to author and head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, Ruchir Sharma, about India’s economy post the lockdown.
“A lot of the domestic business people in India feel that the regulatory environment is very hostile to them and I think…we need to do more to favour domestic business in India,” said the economist.
“I am concerned that we’re in this era of tech colonialism, where a lot of the wealth creation is happening outside of India. One can argue that in a developing country like India, we have to keep in mind the welfare and the handouts, but I think this is where we have to learn from the other countries,” he added.
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