Does India's Center Right need a Fox News ?

Ideas may be flowing at a right-of-centre conclave in Goa, but most of the participants are painfully obscure. There are hardly any media or political stars, and any that might be counted to serve, can be reckoned on the fingers of both hands.

The Right Wing Indian thinkers and professors don't live in India; they come if transported in, all expenses paid, five-star and first-class. They are employed in the West, mostly in the United States, where they are appreciated and well paid.

As for Right Wing Indian novelists and litterateurs; do they exist at all? The newly minted Ministers of the Modi Government are bravely trying to hold the fort, but they all lack authority and track records, and seem very self conscious.

Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is indeed a stellar presence, but his being there is by way of an oblique blessing. But if it is wattage to be compared, the only one who can surpass his luminescence, though in quite a different way, is Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.

Indeed the Prime Minister, risen to his present prominence via his own merit, patience, and determination; with  large dollops of assistance  from alter-ego Amit Shah, and the erudite support of legal beagle Arun Jaitley; is the only one who can hold his own in any arena, Left, Right, Centre, or Foreign.

This poignant state of affairs underlines the lack of space and opportunity for the Right Wing species in a Bharat that was officially Socialist and very Congress, till lately. Aficionados of the Right were labelled Communal by rote, and segregated from serious consideration.

The sad thing is that it is anybody’s guess how long the BJP Government, with an absolute majority to boot, will continue to allow itself to be pilloried by a media and intelligentsia that still clearly ‘belongs’ to the previous  dispensation. Every day that passes, the Press and TV criticise this Government’s every little peccadillo, all in the name of democratic discourse, with nary a word against a UPA Government that failed the people of this country on almost every front.

The noisy bias and distortion in portrayal continues as if the BJP is still languishing in the Opposition. The bulk of the media makes no effort to reflect the verdict of the people and their demonstrated willingness to give the Modi Government a chance. This lot instead talks of curbs on Press freedom and media witch-hunts, when the only person who ever imposed that kind of thing formally was once-upon-a -time Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Current Congress President Mrs Sonia Gandhi, preferred patronage to get her way. And the old media stars grown substantial under the ancien regime’s ‘system’, are now plotting the downfall of this Government by the process of a thousand deprecating propaganda cuts. If they praise at all, it is faint, and qualified; but if they find cause to condemn and reject, the blood is up, and everyone is in full flow.

But as yet, the BJP has no mechanism in place to counter this adverse propaganda. DD and AIR is simply not enough. There has to be a substantial Right Wing private media akin toFox in the US to drive home the message. Here, Times Now has appropriated elements of the Fox Style, but the politics of the Times Group does not serve.

The Left-Lib establishment is relentless and well-organised. It controls almost every prominent media group, both in English and the vernacular, and is populated with masses of well-regarded spokesmen, embedded in the media, and by way of external commentators and talking heads.

This can only be countered by an equivalent presence in media and civil society as powerful as the one the Congress Party has built up over the decades. Unfortunately, the BJP does not have decades to turn the tide.

Much has been done right by the Prime Minister and his techie friends in terms of the Social Media, but much remains to be done in the mainstream media. It therefore loses points on the PR front on a daily basis. The fringe elements in the Sangh Parivar who say and do bizarre things are played up continually, and end up defining the BJP narrative.

The Prime Minister, the only star in the firmament with the ample goodwill of the people, is being boxed into a corner. Not only that, the legislative agenda of the Government has been clearly stymied by a reviving Opposition seizing its opportunity.

The Prime Minister never tires of saying his sole agenda is development and progress for all. But too many, not very important people in the Parivar, are promoting obscurantism, misogynistic views and blood-curdling communal agendas. 

Courtesy Niti Central



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