For months, the media engaged in full freedom of speech, thought & expression before the local elections in UP. They had almost converted it into a referendum on the NDA government, its Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his revolutionary policy initiatives of demonetisation and GST. The opposition has the right in a democracy to criticize the government, its leader or policies and can’t be faulted even on grounds of ethics. A colleague, notorious for his hostility towards his colleagues who did not belong to his group or displayed independent mind or high moral standards, dropped for a chat with me in my office. Pakistan may not have needled India as many times as he practiced on me. So, after courtesies were exchanged, I asked him a question as the conversation progressed: Why do people have hostile feelings towards me when I am affectionate towards them? His answer was brief and straight: Don’t you know Iago? I was nonplussed at his reply, because Shakespeare’s unique creation Iago has become a metaphor for “motiveless malignity” for all times to come.
When I see the media industry, journalists or editors today, I feel cheated because they used to be a source of reliable information when I was in college in the 1960s as one could neither afford nor read all kinds of books on all subjects of public interest. Their analysis and expression used to be an inspiration to learn from them and write as well. Today, they tell lies without any compunction. They engage in politics on their own or under orders of their masters. We grew up with the ideas of independence of the press and fair, free and unbiased views of the editors. I regret that they are not to be seen anywhere today.
So, the imagined headlines “Voters Reject Demonetisation”, “People Reject GST”, “Modi Fails Referendum”, “People Reject NDA”, “UP’s No Confidence In Modi”, “Modi’s Economic Policies Rejected” or score others according to thousands of TV channels and Small/medium/big newspapers, were missing when the results of the Municipal Corporations, Municipalities and Municipal Panchayats elections became available on December 1, 2017. The ruling party of Prime Minister Modi, won 14 out of 16 Municipal corporations in UP and similar victories in other places. The next day’s newspapers disappointed their readers, especially of the English language, because these headlines were missing! In fact, they proved themselves so horribly wrong that they did not assign such a victory even the headline; instead it was published below the headline of the day and after a few sentences the rest were consigned to the inner pages to obscure its value. Had their predictions of defeat proved right, they would have demanded resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
They were targeting the BJP for the election to the Gujarat Assembly on 9 & 14 December simultaneously. They have put on stake all their assets and artillery in ensuring the defeat of the BJP in Gujarat, which is the state Modi and the Party President Amit Shah come from. Defeat in Gujarat buttresses their claim for change of government on ground of failure of economic policy, demonetisation and GST. They have the support of foreign forces as well as renowned domestic and foreign economists.
They have felt slighted since May 2014 and have not digested even after 43 months the victory of Narendra Modi with such a stunning mandate, repeated by the party under his leadership turning the tables in UP by winning a clear majority and installing Yogi Adityanath among all others as the Chief Minister for the first time. The public support prime minister Modi has won in the last 43 months has caused heartburn which is incurable. It has only been aggravated by the victory of Narendra Modi in the Municipal elections in UP.
Gujarat is going to deal another deadly blow to them. The election 2019 is already decided except for force majeure.