April 2009 Newspaper Watch

Newspaper Watch (India) for the month of April 2009. For latest newspaper watch, view homepage

30 April 2009

Election Watch

The front page of Navbharat Times, Hindi daily, shows a cricket match, players- political leaders. The paper informs innovatively that today is the third match of the Indian political league, 107 seats, 11 States, 1567 candidates. Turn over, the same paper has published caricatures of top political leaders of Delhi on half a page. Taking a clue from ongoing IPL, the paper calls it - “DPL Delhi Political League” and states “The final of Delhi political league is near. On the political pitch, candidates with bat & ball, are trying to perform their best…”. What about candidates outside the capital? No problem, the same newspaper carries caricatures of key 8 candidates in dancing pose. Yes, its “Poll Dance 09” but in smaller size compared to candidates from Delhi! Cartoons in both Asian Age and Hindu are centered around - “Vote for Qongress”, carrying the Quattrocchi episode forward. Mail Today has published an interesting cartoon on this episode featuring a Quick fox & a skinny lazy dog! The toon in Aaj Samaj features Advani & Rajnath Singh, near Bofors Gun with lot of cobwebs. Advani-“Let us, by taking the name of Jai Shri Ram, start this gun, Rajnath”. Rajnath Singh agrees- “No harm in trying”. Editorial of many newspapers have not minced words about the Q sage. The editorial of Asian Age asks-”Do we really need a CBI?” While the editorial of Indian Express is entitled- “The two stooges When Attorney General & Law Minister are rubber stamps, they stain the government”. The editorial of Tribune feels that clean chit has lead to controversy. While Alok Mehta, editor of Nai Duniya, a Hindi daily has gone further and has concluded -“…The truth is that international businessmen desire that people to their liking should come in power in India. Is this the reason that during last 20 years during elections there is much noise about arms scandals and after commencement of elections do people in power businessmen and agents get on with their real occupation?” (Nai Duniya).

29 April 2009

Election Watch

The summer heat is up but what about election campaign? Delhi Special of Asian Age reports -“Parities out to woo caste groups”. Business Bhaskar, financial daily in Hindi, reports on page 10 that majority of candidates 61%) have not mentioned their PAN card number on their affidavit. The paper feels that “…It appears that majority of candidates have got a habit of ignoring the government orders..”. Guess, what will happen when these 61 percent candidates will form the government! Tribune reports that due to its report about a municipal councillor allegedly acting as a drug peddler, Batala police has formed a special cell to deal with drug related crimes. And in late night raid, drug peddler was nabbed and drugs were recovered. But, Chitleen points out that no action has yet been taken against the councillor, (who happens to be a woman) despite an inquiry being ordered by Deputy Chief Minister into drug peddling in Batala. This “ Tribune Exclusive” on its front page comes with headline- “Election come to the rescue of drug peddlers”. But what is the relation between elections & drugs? Take a clue from another report on the same page. Here Rajmeet Singh reports about Bumb, a village where young voters have resolved to close doors to workers of political parties who distribute drugs and alcohol for vote. However the problem is far from over as in this prosperous village every household has at least one family member on drugs. On the other hand, shoegate saga continues as a shoe was aimed at the chief minister of Karnataka, but missed. Unlike other targeted politicians, the Chief minister expressed his anger- “put him behind the bars for six months. If you have the guts, challenge me openly”. The cartoon in Nai Duniya shows one politician reading a newspaper carrying news- “Bofors a dire event ”, while another politician tells him- “I am trying to figure out whether this gun has been used more for army or on political front? While the cartoon in Aaj Samaj shows a angry politician, while pointing to a man who appears badly beaten & bruised, tells a surprised common man -”Will I not get angry..? We have worked very hard and he says that truth shall win….!??”.

Double Vision

The front age of Mail Today shouts- “Airports scramble to fight swine flue”. It also tells how the virus travelled by giving number of dead along with the name of countries & flags. But hang on, in a major goof up, here Republic of Ireland and Italy have the same flag!

28 April 2009

Election Watch

Shoegate seems to the highlight of this election. Take a clue- “Now the shoes is on the other foot. Epidemically speaking, that is. While in India there seem to be a spreading of flying footware fever, the world is waking up to a potential pandemic of so called swine flu…”(Editorial. Economic Times).

The cartoon carried by Mid-Day shows a politician addressing a election meeting- “…And my one humble request to all potential shoe throwers: please throw them in pairs! OK?” The cartoon in Hindu features Manmohan & Advani, happy to see shoe missile missing them but what they don’t see is ballot box of Election 09 falling on them! The toon in Times of India shows many shoes flying towards a politician at a election rally. His supporter tells him- “Don’t bother, sir. It has become a gesture of welcome to VIPs”. The cartoon in Navbharat Times features a politician standing amidst shoes of various kinds & fallen mike, raising his concern- “I want to ask is there no moral code of conduct for the votes” Another cartoon in Times of India shows Juliet on top of castle calling- “ Romeo, Romeo. Wherefore art thou, Romeo? In return she gets a shoe thrown from below. Guess what she says- “It used to be flowers but I guess this shoe thing is catching up..“. Is the General Elections a Romeo & Juliet love affair! Next landmark of this General Election is the presence of rich candidates. Chetan Chauhan reports in Hindustan Times that every sixth candidate possess one crore or more (one crore= Rs. 10 million). Is this sufficient for understand profile of the candidates? Nope! There is no information about the number of candidates possessing Rs. 100,000 or more and also the number of candidates whose net worth is less than Rs. 50,000 or less. Does a common man have any chance to win against these rich candidates? How effectively will these rich candidates represent 77 percent of India’s population, which is poor & vulnerable? Only time will tell! An advertisement in Times of India comes with the punch line- “Cast your vote and win the election”. The toon in Hindu show wife of politician sitting in front of mirror, surrounded by boxes full of jewellary. She tells her husband- “Don’t bother me about the affidavit, the polling is over, I need not hide these”.
27 April 2009

Election Watch

Devi Cherian point out that as many as 63 candidates with criminal records are contesting India’s elections, with 39 having serious charges against them. “..Because of fear created by such people. Elections have charged for worse…” (Tribune). The Election Commission has failed to contain these criminal elements, a toothless tiger. An advertisement in English in Loksatta, a Marathi daily asks- “You have seen them promoting electoral candidates. Is it just another role?” What does this mean, who is the advertiser? Keep guessing, as it mentions -”Watch this space for more”. This ad comes adjacent to an advertisement by National. Congress Party on Page 3. On the cartoon front, politicians remain hot. The cartoon in Navbharat Times features a kid holding a toy bus, asking a politician who is seeking vote from his mother- “you are healthy, why don’t you do some work?”. The cartoon in Times of India shows a politician ending his speech in a poll meeting- “ If I have criticized or attacked anyone in my speech, now I deny having done it!”. The front page of same paper reports that a shoe was hurled at PM during an election rally but it missed the target. Is the month of April to be blamed? Take a clue from Times of India- “April has been a cruel month for politicians. A journalist chucked his shoe to register protest but since then, netas have been targeted for flimsy reasons…”. The cartoon in Nai Duniya features a fat politician telling a cricketer - “We will give money more than IPL….well, all you have to do is to catch the shoes thrown on our senior leaders.” Jansatta cartoon features Manmohan Singh telling small Rahul Gandhi- “not you, this has to be decided by Madam”. He points to Sonia Gandhi. Take a clue from the recent statement by Rahul Gandhi- “I am not qualified to be Prime Minister”!

Report of Day

The illegal demand of dowry is not uncommon in India. However this time the villagers of Badarspur, district Mewat, have taught a lessen to the dowry seeking greedy people. The correspondent of Nai Duniya reports that after the wedding, the groom family demanded of dowry of Rs. 500,000 & SUV. When all efforts to dissuade them failed, the angry villagers made the groom & his 18 family members hostage. This was not all, they even beat them up for demanding dowry. Hair of the groom was also cut in many places. After intervention of Panchayat, the matter was resolved and the groom’s family paid back Rs, 800,000 for the expenses for wedding & the groom agreed for a divorce. The shocking fact is that this greedy groom was well educated and possessed MBA from Delhi. The front page of Times of India reports that “$27 bn flows out illegally every year from Indiä: No.5 on the list of illicit outflows”. Point to ponder - Now, what is the cure for this illegal greed?

26 April 2009

Election Watch

Sanjay Gupt points out - “…must think & ponder that what’s the constraint that the political parties are not fighting elections on issues like major change or reform programme….”(Dainik Jagran, Dehradun Edition). The conclusion that Sanjay draws is not very optimistic. Till last date of filing nomination, 104 candidates were in fray for 5 Lok Sabha & 70 Assembly seats In the State of Uttarachal. What are the real burning issues? Take a clue from Depu Dangwal who reports that 70 per cent of districts of Uttaranchal are drought affected. Pinki Rawat reports that schools are playing with the future of kids. Shyam Pathic reports that the crisis of electricity is getting deeper. (Nai Duniya. Uttarakhand Edition). Will these issue make presence felt during election campaign? Pradeep Gurg reports that poll betting is taking shape of industry in the holy city of Hardwar.
Rameshar Gaur informs that the same city is witnessing rich candidates from leading political parties. The same paper also reports that the member of parliaments belonging to Rajasthan has seen a phenomenon increase in wealth over last five years- as much as 1746 per cent! Poonam Kumari Sahrawatis not happy that the promise of 33 per cent reservation to women in parliament has not been honoured for long. She raises a question - “Why should women vote men?” (Amar Ujala. Dehradun Edition). A report on the front page of The Himachal Times (Dehradun Edition) comes with an eye-catching headline- “votes are being bought: where is the election Commission?”. It reports that vote purchase via notes is taking place in various parts of Mumbai. The In a cartoon, hearing a speech by a politician, one politician asks another- “speech of twenty minutes and nothing controversial said, is this his first election speech…? (I next. Dehradun). While a reporter asks a fat, happy politician- “…would you like to retract from this controversial comment now or after reactions come in? Another cartoon in same paper shows that one politician cautions the other who is giving briefing the media, rather aggressively- “Don’t blame any opposition party…who knows that after elections when we might have to form alliance with whom…?”(Punjab Kesari. Panipat Edition).

25 April 2009

Election Watch

The cartoon in Asian Age features a politician telling two tired voters, taking rest under a tree - “it’s unfair demanding money and liquor for repolling too!”. The Lok Sabha speaker (who is not fighting polls, this time) has called for electoral reform, including the right to recall the elected representative if he/she is not functioning to their satisfaction. “We can’t expect to get good governance from bad politics. Therefore, making politics aesthetically sound is one of the most pressing needs of our times.” What makes the right to recall important for vibrant democracy? Take a clue from the cartoon in Times of India which show a politician telling two poor people- “Never! Nonsense! I did not promise drinking water during the campaign! Don’t I know my own constituency? I promised ordinary water, that too only if available!”. While cartoon in Hindustan Times features a politician shouting on ordinary people, who appear shocked - “All your fault…You never gave us a majority!”. Guess, what this politician is holding a paper -“Unfilled promises”!

24 April 2009

Election Watch

The front page of most newspapers carries the news about voter turnout for the second round of Lok Sabha elections. Is the voter turnout of around 55 percent satisfactory? The cartoon in Hindustan Times features the leading political leaders- not happy with this turnout. Hindu Business Line reports that two panchayats near Posco Steel site in the State of Orissa boycotted the polls. Reason- villagers are demanding the cancellation of MoU with the Posco. The candidates from different political parties were not even allowed to campaign in the two gram panchayats. If one takes clue from the second richest candidate in the fray for polls (worth Rs. 5.14 billion)- During campaign trail, a poor man told him that there was no water, not even to drink. His response- “I have the cash to solve your problem right away. One phone call & enough money will be here. Only, the election model code of conduct will come in the way if I do that.” Next are jobless employees who worked for a cooperative bank. They need Rs. 140 million to revive the cooperative. His solution- “Other parties need to go around trying to collect donations to save your bank, not I. What’s a mere Rs. 140 million to me”.(Indian Express). Does this mean that any a member of the richest club can solve India’s problem? The editorial of Times of India starts off- “There were at least 193 crorepatis among the 1715 candidates in the fray in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections. Is this a worrying trend? Yes and no. Being wealthy is not necessarily a problem if the riches have been acquired though legal means….Ïs this a mere coincidence that there are so many of them in electoral politics?…”. A letter to Editor asks a pertinent question- Why nominate crorepatis to fight elections? Judge the mood of the main street, via Ashim Kumar Dutta - “…these leaders are greedy and amassing wealth by any means. They lead a comfortable and luxurious life, unmindful of the plight of common man…political parties should nominate party men who really fight for the masses and possess no such huge wealth & properties. (Hindu). Virendra Pandit reports from Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat-“Actors entering politics are at a disadvantage. Because they can act only in front of the camera, and face a stiff competition from professional politicians who are usually actors 24x7...” (Hindu Business Line).

23 April 2009

Election Watch

The front page of Tribune carries Editor’s Column entitled- “Vital Issues that politicians hate to take up”. Here H.K Dua has done some straight talking about the present of this elections. Take a clue- “… Decency and civility that ought to mark an exercise meant to choose the nation’s rulers for the next office years have given way to the trivialities of “The Great Indian Tamasha”….The politicians and their parties are too busy with the day’s battle and have neither the time, nor perhaps the inclination, to talk about the real issues that are on public mind at the moment…There appears to be a conspiracy of silence among the political parties on corruption that remains a major concern of the people….There is a similar conspiracy of silence on the issue of criminals in politics. This is clearly evident from the manner in which the members of criminal mafias have been rewarded with tickets for the Lok Sabha in varying numbers by almost all political parties… Silence of the political leaders on such issues as corruption or giving tickets to criminals is deliberate. They do not want to face such questions, because they do not want to face inconvenient truth…They are unmindful of the consequences of what they are doing.” Jangveer Singh reports, in the same newspaper, that the State voter has become secretive and are wary of talking about their preference. Singh also informs that in poorer areas and slums, it is the last minute wave which usually tilts the balance in favour of a particular candidate. And how? The wave is usually orchestrated through the use of money power or distribution of liquor. Not all can be taken for a ride. Neeven Grewal reports that in protest, over 10,000 inhabitants of 12 villages of Rajgarh area will stay way from polling in the Udampur Doda parliamentary segment. Reason - unfulfilled promise since 1987, successive governments have failed to built a road. (Tribune).

22 April 2009

Election Watch

The special report has been carried by Tribune on its front page. The journey has not been easy for the Tribune team- A drive of 60 Kms on a unmotorable road’ & trekking 14 Kms through a mountainous path. All this trouble to visit a village which no politician has ever visited. This village is unique in remote part of Kishtwar district, as more than half the inhabitants are hearing & speech impaired. Guess what, this village has decided to boycott the elections.

21 April 2009

Media Watch

It’s OK to place an effective mechanism to supervise media but not to control it. This is what the Supreme Court of India feels. Yes, this is what SARCAJC is doing through its daily - Newspaper Watch! While accepting the recommendations of Fali S Nariman Committee on the issue of media coverage of violent incidents, the three judge bench of Supreme Court however felt that it was not inclined to give any “positive directions” at “this juncture” and left it to the appropriate authorities.

Election Watch

S. S Johl has not minced words when he categorically states that democratic values are on the decline in India. His write-up reflects cynicism that has crept in the common man regarding the unkept promises and the lure of more promises. Take a look at the beginning his article-”Election manifestos, whatever they are and howsoever illogical, are often forgotten after these are issued by politicians of the day. Politicians are not campaigning on any solid ideological plank or socio-economic development programme….” And the conclusion - “…One wonders where are we heading for. Will we be ever to retrieve our steps from the political precipice we are standing on today?” (Tribune). Aaj Samaj reports that 60,000 voters in Ghaziabad have decided to boycott elections. Yes, Ghaziabad is situated in State of Mayawati, where law & order is not in best of health and women too are not safe. Still the Western media ( read Newsweek) continues to equate Mayawati to Barack Obama? If only western women reporter would dare to walk though streets of Ghaziabad at night, and as a commoner! A poster read- “don’t shame us by asking us for votes”. that The cartoon in Hindustan shows two worried politicians, one telling the other- “leave aside media…in our election meeting not even a dog is asking… should we arrange someone to throw a shoe on us?”

20 April 2009

Election Watch

Hindu is the only newspaper from Delhi which has bothered to compare various manifestos of seven leading political parties. The comparison are being made under section of Agriculture (includes Food & Land), Economy & Finance, Education, Foreign policy & Defense, Environment & Energy, Heath, Social Justice, Gender, Industry, Secularism & minorities, Terrorism & internal Security. Hang on, comparison on the crucial issue of Governance & rooting out corruption is absent here. P. Sainath as usual is his best in straight talk. This time the target is media. Take a look- “…The hypocrisy of the media in acting the opposite of what they tell their audience is the reality -gee, that’s part of business strategy…”. He concludes- “… there is little in the media that informs our audiences that we are part of the greatest economic crisis the world has seen in 80 years, the worst since the Great Depression. Nothing that prepares the readers, listeners and viewers for what could follow. The slowdown is in the news (and paralyzed editorial intellect). The big downturn is in media’s performance…”(Hindu).The speculative bubble had to burst, and it did! Point to ponder- What will follow, another bubble, leaving aside the main street?

19 April 2009

Election Watch

Can the money power buy votes? The front page of Aaj Samaj features a large colorful cartoons showcasing the riches of the candidates on a flying carpet. On a flying mission, these rich candidates are asking for vote- “please don’t forget to give vote to your poor brother’! While the common man, under the carpet is asking- “will anyone think about me too?”. Sunil Thapiyal looks into the self declared money bag politics in Pioneer. He concludes- “This is the first time in Indian history that such a large number of multi-millionaires have entered the political arena. …What remains to be seen is how this new trend affects the political situation of the nation”? The accompanying cartoon displays the helplessness of Election Commission and the surprised voters. Asian Age reports that bench of supreme court referred to petitioner’s grievance against squandering of money by political parties and observed- “How does it concern you. They are rich people and it is their private money”. The bench dismissed the public interest petition that sought compulsory voting by citizens.

18 April 2009

Election Watch

The front page of Hindu carries the tragic news of Shanno, a 11 year old girl, who died after her teacher at the government school made her stand in the sun for two hours. The reason- she failed to recite the full English alphabets string. Next to this news is another tragic news about a 23 old girl student who committed suicide as she suspected hidden cameras in bathroom of the hostel, while the school management did not provide security to protect her modesty. What’s up here? These incidences are taking places in educational institutions, which were believed to be safe for girls? What about remedial steps? Take a clue from the next page of the same paper which informs that Bollywood superstar has publicly endorsed the initiative to respect, adore and educate the girls child. Will this help? What about the response women candidates who are in poll fray? Scanned the paper, but could not trace any. The women representation in the parliament is already dismal and it is not expected to improve any further. Take a clue from Times of India which reports that in the second phase of elections only 6% of the candidates in the fray for 141 seats are women. During last Lok Sabha elections, only 45 women contested for 494 seats and these women belonged to the upper strata of society. What about BSP leader Ms. Mayawati? Take a clue from the cartoon that has appeared in Asian Age. It shows Mayawati standing in front of the parliament with a huge garland of currency notes and big purse inscribed- ’richest BSP candidate’. When asked by a woman journalist about her plans for the 15th Lok Sabha, she replies-“I’ll make sure it’s featured in the Forbes list!’ Times of India reports that poorest candidate of BSP among 7 party candidates in Delhi is worth Rs. 500 million. Will they make any difference to women? Take a clue from the state of law & order in Ghaziabad, the nearest city of Uttar Pradesh to Delhi. Here women are not safe, even when the chief minister of the State is Mayawati, a dalit leader who made her way the ladder. Why such apathy towards women’s issues & problem? Anyone listening?


17 April 2009

Election Watch

An Election Commissioner has conceded that the Election Commission (EC) has failed to control illegal flow of money (for wooing voters). According to Commissioner Quraishi - ‘money is changing hands because it happens between givers and receivers. Only when we observe something happening through media or though complaint, we come down heavily. I do not think we have been adequately successful on this front’ (Tribune. Front page). Now, that’s not a good news for the largest democracy of the world. It's not surprising that Kuldeep Nayar, a veteran journalist, is asking- Where are the issues? According to him - ‘ In a no-holds barred election campaign, hate, speeches and personality clashes are diverting the focus of voters from real issues like security, economy and unemployment…’ (Pioneer). Prominent coverage is being given to the assets of rich candidates in the fray. The front page of Mail Today is devoted to ‘ Mr. 603 Cr’ (Mr. 6.03 billion), the richest candidate in the polls so far. What about ordinary candidates representing the main street or the rich voters who have done substantial community service? Keep searching the pages!

16 April 2009

Election Watch

What is the connection between prediction of results of election & weather? Take a clue from Times of India- ‘Whom do you go to know if it will rain tomorrow? A classic Luxman cartoon has the common man consult a roadside astrologer outside the weather bureau! When it comes to predictions, the weather and the elections are not poles apart. Around the world experts and laymen keep their eyes peeled for what the bookies are up to…’ .This article goes on to inform the bookie’s betting rates on major Indian political parties. Will this article not adversely affect the rational decision of Indian voter? What is happening on the ground level? Take a clue from Times of India - ‘voters take cash from many, vote for one’. Is the Election Commission hearing? The editorial of Asian Age asks- ‘ Has the Indian voter got wiser’? And what is the conclusion- ‘ the real issue is not the price of potatoes, or strategies to become self sufficient in power, or indeed ways to end terror menace. The question is, will the elector travel to the booth to vote for the local satrap or to bring about a situation in which state parties are only assigned a subsidiary role?’


15 April 2009

Election Watch

The largest democracy goes to the phase one of General Election tomorrow. But no additional election supplement has come along with the leading newspapers in Delhi, which informs in detail about the candidates & issues in those constituencies. Wait, take a look at the lead report on the front page of Times of India. “In a bizarre directive, vulnerable to be misused by the authorities, Election Commission on Tuesday said that the electronic media cannot telecast anything which can influence voters in areas where elections are to take place, in the 48 hours proceeding voting…”. Times View has criticized this decision- “…To gag the media 48 hours before the elections amounts to defaming the watchdog at the most crucial time Cash & liquor, after all, are distributed by parties in this period. Should the media not expose such malpractices…..”. None of the other leading newspapers have expressed their views on this media gag. An ad in Business Bhaskar shouts- “Don’t let poison spread in country. Don’t give vote to criminals…”. How would one know which candidate is a criminal or not? The cartoon in Hindu Business Line features a rustic rural man telling a journalist- “of course he’s a terror in these areas! Exactly why we’ll elect him & send him off to Delhi! At the backdrop is a poster requesting - “Vote for” a dangerously looking candidate with folded hand. (Hindu Business Line). The news of General Elections has not appeared prominently on the front page of leading financial dailies like Economic Times, Business Standard, Financial Express, Business Standard, Hindu Business Line, Business Bhaskar. What about the rest of the newspapers. Take a look at the exclusively devoted space by newspapers for general elections-

Election Great Fest, 3 pages. Hindustan.

Political theatre, 3 pages. Economic Times.

My vote, my country, 2 pages, Business Bhaskar.

Mandate 2009, 1 page, Hindustan BusinessLine.

Vote 2009, 1 page, Business Standard.

My India my vote, 3 pages Hindustan Times

Dance of Democracy, 3 pages. Times of India

Elections, 2 pages, Mint.

Election war formation, 2 pages. Aaj Samaj.

I elect. 4 pages. Indian Express.

Election 2009 & my vote-my country, 2 pages. Dainik Bhaskar

Poll dance 09. 1 page Navbharat Times.

Great War for 15th power. 1 page. Punjab Kesai.

Issue Watch


Thomas Chandy questions in Hindu- where are the children in these elections? Yeap, non-issues like caste, religion, personal scores are all over the place, while the issues like child labour, malnutrition, right to education, safe childhood have not emerged prominently. Another such neglected issue is of Bt Hybrid Seeds. Business Standard reports on page 9 that Bt Brinjal, the country’s first genetically modified (GM) edible product, may be released commercially by year-end. Dismissing the safety concerns from NGOs against Bt Brinjal, the official of Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco) maintain - “..in terms of composition, it has not different from normal brinjal, except for the additional Bt protein. It would also improve the marketable yield..”. Hindu Business Line has highlighted this news on page 10. It also reports that Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco) is to license to other seeds companies the technology for the pest resistant genetically modifies Bt brinjal. However, Brijal is not alone, field trials of others including rice is underway in India. Now, is this a good news for Indian consumers? Take a clue from Dr. Suman Sahari- “… India is allowing careless field trials of Bt rice, guaranteed to contaminate the crop for the conservation and protection of which carries a global responsibility…No country in the world except for India takes a risk with its special crops….India has not only allowed all manner of research with GM rice, it has also sanctioned field trials in Jharkhand, which along with Orissa and Chhattisgarh, constitute the region which houses the greatest genetic diversity of rice…India must learn lessons from protecting the national interest…”(Asian Age). The huge advertisement in Hindustan Times comes with a punch line- “How can we squeeze more food from a raindrop?”. Yes, the advertiser is Monsanto, who also has 20 percent stake in Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco)! Moreover Monsanto & Mahyco have been given a green signal to produce Bt cottons,as hybrids. Just a reminder- hybrid are not viable seed, so the Indian farmer cannot use produce of hybrid seeds to plant the next crop.

14 April 2009

Election Watch

With poll date right in front, what’s the mood of the nation? Take a clue from the front page Hindustan Times Exclusive, which claims it is the most ambitious pre poll assessment ever and reveals what’s on the mind of Indian voters. The identifies top issues for voters- 47% Development, 46% area specific issues, 24% economic opportunities, 14% terrorism…. Surprisingly, the voters have been asked - “How visible is your MP” not “How effective is your MP”! Anyway, are the result of this first most ambitious pre poll assessment reliable? Judge it- First, the result of this first most ambitious pre poll assessment are not based on any systemic survey, but “…mood of the nation as gauged by 60 Hindustan Times journalist who traveled across India over the past two months.” Second, the number of respondents from whom the mood of the nation was assessed is absent from the write-up! The front page of Times of India expresses its concern- “This is a strange election- it’s an all India election with virtually no national issue. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm of voter like Chodipalli Lakshmana Dora, at the age of 108, is static. Chalapathi Rao reports in Hindu that Dora has been voting in every election since 1951 and still retains keenness to cast his ballot.

13 April 2009

Election Watch

Foul language of leaders & elections, what’s the take of voters ? Take a clue from extracts of letter to editor that have appeared in Hindu:

…it is unfortunate that leaders using foul language are having a field day. ..With 2487 media straining to break news, such speeches get unparallel attention. (Dilbag Rai. Chandigarh)

It is unfortunate that many of our political leaders make inflammatory and indecent remarks during electioneering…The so-called elite have no intention to vote…The poor hardly care for the issues on which the noises is made as they are busy with their day-to-day issues…(E.R. Arulanandham. Palayamkotti)

Election 2009 is one of the worst elections, if viewed in the context of campaigning by some of our leaders…(A. Bhandari. New Delhi).

The cartoon in Hindu also reflect the frequency of hate & anti-hate speech! Most leading newspapers are obsessed in providing front page coverage to high profile political leaders, elite candidates, verbal fights. But what about real issue faced by the main street? The race for high indiscriminate economic growth has nothing to do with sustainable development- this is no secret? Khimi Thapa reminds that there are 230 million undernourished people in India -“ No purpose is served if people remain hungry in a food sufficient country”(Pioneer). Yes, price of food products have reached unprecedented levels despite bumper crop. In such cases what would the poor, helpless voters do? Take a clue from Siddarth Varadaranjan, who reports in Hindu about a battle for livelihood overshadowing the war for votes in Kalahandhi. “…polls mask a more bitter and fundamental contest. On one side is the political clout and official muscle of a powerful business house- the Indian owned MNC, Vedanta- which established a massive aluminum refinery here in 2006 and is pushing for the immediate commencement of bauxite mining in the picturesque and ecologically-fragile Niyamgiri hills …on the other hand are thousands of local tribals and non tribals who say mining project will completely destroy their lives…Vedanta has built near its plant has already cut off water to dozens of acres of farm lands. And village after village, this reporter saw residents with skin aliments and heard an increase in TB….”. What is the scene in terms of candidates? Rabindra N Chaoudhary reports that Orissa may be one of the poorest states in the country, but there is no dearth of crorepatis (people who possess Rs. 10 million or more) in the State. As much as 27 crorepatis are in the poll fray in Orissa. Further five media barons are also fighting election from the same state. Is this true only for Orissa? The chart in Tribune gives details of “Çrorepati Club”. The front page of Mail Today shouts- “Charge of the Crorepatis in Ballot Battle”. While in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the key to the result of General elections, Amita Verma reports that elections are quite a family affair with new generations of political families heralding a “son” rise in the state. So, why so much stress on bringing the youth and retiring old politicians! Muslim girls have prepared their own manifesto that includes all issues (specific to girl child) that seem to have been ignored most political parties. The women are not safe even in the power capital of Delhi, what to talk about other places? However, safety of women is not a prominent issue during this election. How about informing the readers about the tainted candidates with criminal record? None of the leading newspaper has carried the details in a comprehensive manner. Still counting?

12 April 2009

Election Watch

The front page of Nai Duniya carries the rates of Satta Bazar (Speculative Market) on two main political parties - Congress & BJP. Why is the newspaper propagating the rates, which could affect the decision of the voters? The advertisement in English language has made an appearance in Navbharat Times, a Hindi daily. Its punch line shouts- “The Great Indian Neta. Allowed to tire but never retire? ”. The ad goes on to ask- “Isn’t there something wrong? If a 60 year old man is not permitted to hold an ordinary job, how is he expected to run an economy….Why is there no retirement age for MPs”? Is this not creating a bias against elderly candidates in the fray, who have equal say in vibrant democracy? Why corner only the politicians, what about Central University teachers who do not retire at age of 60, while their students remain unemployed? One full page of Aaj Samaj carries six cartoons reflecting the new flavour of elections -age of oldies- both candidate & party! There is no Indian Obama here! While staff reporter of Hindu reports that Jaspal Bhatti, a comedian, who is heading the recession party, has promised 50 percent seats for fools in the parliament. The members of this recession party have vowed to beg, borrow and steal to improve their financial health! Point to ponder- Indians lack sense of humour?

11 April 2009

Shoe Watch

Shoegate continues to haunt politicians, who are forced to step out to campaign for General Elections. Now after the Union Home Minister, Naveen Jindal, a rich industrialist and member of Parliament has been targeted. The shoe was hurdled at him by a retired headmaster during a public meeting in his constituency. Is this the reason why even the Prime Minister kept a safe distance from Women journalists during a press conference? The cartoon on the front page of Aaj Samaj shows many politicians in a bid shoe which kept on burning wood. Some politicians are being hit by shoes, while many shoes are flying in the air and a barefoot journalist is standing- smiling. But there are other ways to handle shoegate. Take a clue from the cartoon in Hindu which features a politician standing in front of mike with a shoe in his hand, smiling- “Officers, don’t arrest him, this size fits me - ask for the other one too”.



Quote of Day

“Criminal cases have witnessed a three per cent rise while there has been a six percent decrease in civil cases? This is a disturbing trend.”

(KG. Balkrishnan. Chief Justice of India. Tribune).

“ The British have a proud history of being eccentric and I am keeping with the tradition.” (Richard Kirtley, leader of T20 Cricket match on foot hills of Mount Everest. First match will be played on the occasion of Birthday of Queen Elizabeth. Tribune)

“Demand Swaraj these elections. Vote for that party which directly empowers you. In the past, we put parties in power. In these elections, we want power in return for votes”. (Arvind Kejriwal, Magsaysay Award Winner. Hindustan Times).

“It is beyond doubt that contributions by companies are given not because of any ideological reason but as a devise to be in the good books of any ruling party”(Rajendra Sachar. Tribune).

Advertisement of Day

An advertisement by a real estate company on the last page of Hindustan comes with striking punch line- don’t pay attention to this advertisement. The ad boosts- “many people wish to buy these (shops & houses), and for this we will receive unlimited calls. We can respond to all calls but cannot give house to all. If you are lucky then these houses & shops can be yours , so try, many be you will succeed”.

10 April 2009

Election Watch

Sunita Narain, one of the leading environmentalist of India asks -”When will India get a green party” (Business Standard). Hang one, get a political party from somewhere? Why not take the lead and form the Green Party, contest elections to give loud voice to environment in the parliament. Remember, larger issues are at stake. Take a clue from Financial Express - “GM crops are making headway in India despite protests over economics, safety issues”. Does anyone care? Nope, this alarming news has not become an election issue, instead more stress is on non-issues (read- caste, religion, money, clout, freebies…). Jaideep Hardikar reports that continuing agrarian crisis and farmer’s suicide is not featuring in the poll landscape of Vidharba region. But caste is. (DNA). Not surprising, even after 60+ years since independence, village like Singapur exists in Maharashtra. Gitesh Shelke reports in same paper that Singapur that has no supply of drinking water, no electricity, no telephone connection and it takes three hours of trek through rough terrain to get there. Haribhoomi toon shows two politicians, one telling the other- “Our acts are such!! Shoes can fall anywhere!! can’t say anything!! Take a look at the news at the background- “Mayawati sits 20 ft away from journalists”. Amar Ujala informs of unprecedented increase in wealth of candidates, rich have grown richer! In fact, growth of wealth of one candidate increased by 3000 per cent since last elections. Indian Express reports that richest candidate, worth Rs. 5.14 billion has floated a political party. This richest guy too has promised freebies. The editorial of Business Bhaskar rightly questions- “Why bear the burden of cheap rice and wheat”. Yeap, instead of promise of freebies to the poor people, why not spell out feasible polices to get them out of poverty? A cartoon in Virat Vaibhav which features a common man with folded hands, telling the politician- “Sahib, we poor have only one vote, that too you are asking from”. The toon in Punjab Kesari (Panipat edition) and Hind Samachar (Ambala) shows that before the elections the poor thin voter is riding a fat politician’s back. But after casting his vote, the fat politician is seen riding on poor thin voter’s back. Yes, this poor thin man can hardly breathe ! In the same light, a cartoon in Dainik Jagran shows a parrot sitting on the head of poor voter, telling- “ This cause of worry afterwards they will drink his blood”. The news in the background tells- “The use of money by candidates worries EC”. Election Commission is helpless in taking any decisive action against leaders of political parties who violate code of conduct during elections (Amar Ujala) .How about the poor contesting elections? Take a clue from Jaglal, a rickshaw puller who fought 22 elections during last 40 years. No surprise here- he had no chance to win without resources (Viraat Vaibhav). The ad in Dainik Jagran shouts- “Now all hands will stand up for casting votes for able candidates”.

9 April 2009

Shoe Watch

The cartoon on the front page of Assam Tribune features a policeman telling a journalist, who is entering Press Conference Hall- “Excuse me! Shoes are not allowed inside for security reasons…”. The editorial of the same paper point out- “shoe hurdling at VVIPs has become a convenient tool of protest adopted world wide…the shoe hurdled at Chidambaram might have missed the target but it has jolted the Cong party about the wisdom of offering a ticket to Jagdish Tytler against vehement of Sikh community..” The cartoon in Deccan Herald shows a barefoot journalist undergoing security check. Nothing unusual? Yeap, the security personnel are rigorously checking the barefooted journalists for any shoes! The editorial of the same paper point out- “The hurling of shoe at Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram by a journalist was an offensive & uncivilised act deserving of strong condemnation…The shoe thrown at Chidambaram is a reminder to the party (Congress) of the sense of gross injustice people nurture over this. It also represents the people’s trust in the country’s premier investigative agency.


8 April 2009

Shoe Watch
The cartoon the front page of Asian Age features a wife of a politician showing a large showcase in her house to another woman. Shoes on display! She explains - “He has a habit of collecting all that he receives…trophies, mementoes, shoes…!”. Another cartoon entitled- “The Indian missile Crisis!” appears on the editorial page. It shows Union Home Minister and Prime Minister running away as a shoe is about to hit them. Guess what is PM shouting- “Help,..Help…President Obama..” & Home Minister saying- “No, Sir, please contact our old friend Bush!”. Mail Today toon features the Prime Minister with folded hands, saying -“On behalf of the Sikh community, I apologise to the CBI”. A shoe is shown in the background. These cartoons come a day after the special correspondent of Daink Jagran, leading Hindi Daily, threw a shoe at the Union Home Minister. All newspapers have printed this news on their front page.


Shoe didn’t but message hit home: Sikh anger with Cong (Indian Express)

Sikh scribe hurls shoe at PC (Statesman)

Gandhigiri of Chidambaram (Aaj Samaj)

Shoe thrown at Chidambaram (Rashtriya Sahara, Dainik Tribune)

Jin comes out of Jasnail’s shoe (Amar Ujala)

Journalist tosses shoe at home minister over Tytler clean chit (Hindustan Times).

Missile misses PC, but hits Cong hard (Tribune)

Shoe lobbed at Chidambaram, misses him but may hit Tytler (Times of India)

PC ambushed (Asian Age)

I haven’t got my shoe back (Mid Day)

Shoe misses Chidambaram hits Tytler (Mail Today)

Journalist flings shoe at Chidambaram (Hindu)

Shoe-throwing at PC forces Cong to revisit Tytler ticket (Pioneer)

Shoe thrown at Chidambaram by journalist (Nai Duniya).

Editorials of all leading newspapers, including Dainik Jagran have criticised this shoe throwing act by a journalist. Take a look :

…It is a measure of how television has trivialised news that individuals, including misguided journalists, now crave such publicity…More importantly a journalist is not an activist. ..It is such abuse of journalistic privilege that puts a question mark over the integrity of the media as a whole. It also paves the way for curbs on media freedom by politicians. Neither is desirable…mediapersons cannot be seen to join the ranks of street fighters. Pioneer).

The incident involving throwing of a shoe at the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is extremely shameful and condemnable. It cannot be justified from any angle. (Aaj Samaj),

“This is a shocking incident…The state in the world of journalism cannot be more worst than this….It is correct for journalist community to condemn this with one voice. It is important to discourage people with such thoughts. (Rastriya Sahara).

“Dainik Jagran strongly condemns the undignified action of throwing of a shoe by special correspondent of Dainik Jagran on honourable Shri P. Chidambaram…Unsatisfied with the answer of the Home Minister, the mode of expression of opposition by Jarnail Singh was his individual. This institution has nothing to do with it.” (Dainik Jagran. Front page. To Regret)

This matter relates not only to Jasnail Singh, but of the religion of the whole journalist community. We all have a inside a inactive Jarnail Singh, who at times wants to stand up. But, journalistic values teach us that as journalist we should keep aside our personal considerations.

This is the key which gives us additional strength compared to other professions….If during press conferences we are asked to remove our shoes, with which face will we do journalism?…(Amar Ujala)

…Singh has broken this unwritten, yet sacrosanct code of conduct for journalists. For that alone, his act must be condemned in the strongest words..(Mail Today).

7 April 2009

Election Watch

Election time and ad watch gets more vigorous. The Election Commission has sent show-cause notice to three officials of the Commonwealth Games Committee who okayed and issued advertisements eulogizing the Central government under the grab of protecting the work done for Commonwealth Games scheduled for next year. The reason- “a violation of the model code of conduct”. The EC has rejected the plea that Commonwealth Games Committee was a non governmental organisation and therefore does not come under model code of conduct as games were financed by the government of India by means of an unsecured interest bearing loan. (Tribune). Do candidates fight elections to serve the people or to get rich or both? Take a clue from the front page report in Times of India which suggests no effect of melt-down on Indian politicians. In fact in certain cases it has risen as much as 3000 per cent as compared to 2004. Does anyone care? The advertisement in Hindustan Times informs readers regarding the new initiative between Hindustan Times & Google and claims -”the most comprehensive website on Elections 2009”. The ad also features a poll box (visually), raised to the power of ten! Why? “understand these election 10 times better with …”. Point to ponder-Mathematical puzzle- is a poll box to power of 10 = 10 time better understanding of elections?

6 April 2009

Election Watch

N. K Singh reports from Madhya Pradesh- “water is scarce. Piped supply has dried up, rationing is the norm, and anger palpable. To add to it, the summer has just began”. The shortage has began water wars amongst towns, knives are out…”. What is the response of the State authorities? Not much, as initiatives have got stuck in the election code of conduct. But why blame election code of conduct, the monsoon had failed long ago. Chitrangada Chaoudhary reports that Orissa State has allowed the mining firms to take over water resources, fertile land and covered with it with red dust, leaving the common man stranded without lifeline water. Why? “cash & freebies flow, officials seem determine to look the other way”. In other words, corruption. Chitrangada Chaoudhary points out a larger issue- “…while China has begun a national debate on the ecological costs of their economic growth India isn’t there yet.” (Hindustan Times). Further, there is no national debate on the external costs of rampant corruption and the means of curbing it in everyday life. Yes, sustainable development is not an serious election issue for the leading political parties. But same has been true for the mainstream media, which has been obsessed with economic growth. It’s only now that some change is visible. Point to ponder- for how long- till announcement of election results?

5 April 2009

Election Watch

The advertisement in Rashtriya Sahara questions - “Corruption till when! Responsible Who? You!” The remedy is also suggested - “do give vote, choose right candidate. One vote to blow”. The advertisement by Dainik Jagran assert - “Now all hands will rise against criminal leaders”. But none of the newspapers have been carrying details of all corrupt candidates, who are contesting the polls in India. How would the voters decide? The lead report in Sunday Supplement are still focuses on topics like - entertainment (Punjab Kesari, Asian Age), excepts from book on Indian silver (Tribune), emergency medial service (Pioneer). Look closer, the decision whom to vote will not be easy for the common man, given the enticements by political parties. The cartoon in Deshbandhu shows a follower suggesting a political leader- “Sir, why not start a scheme to give along with rice at Rs. 0.50 per Kg, Rs 2 free?”. At the back is the news- “Answer to rice promise by BJP, Orissa Congress will give rice at Rs. 1 per Kg”. Asian Age toon shows a BJP Bonanza store which offers- “free food items, eatables, consumer goods…”. Looking at this, Manmohan Singh is seen telling Sonia Gandhi- “In these times of dis-inflation & deflation, I don’t think consumers can afford even a free bonanza!“. The cartoon in Hindu features a rural folk with currency notes in his hand. His wife tells him the obvious- “You’ve have been caught on video accepting money from rival candidates? So what? There’s no model code of conduct for voters”. The cartoon in Navbharat Times shows a election meeting. One man interrupts the political leader from delivering speech- “leave aside issues, tell us which actress is with your party”. Four attractive election cartoons have appeared in Rashtriya Patrika. The bus of 3rd front has four seats for drivers- but all are empty. Another cartoons shows Lalu, Paswan leaving the bus on a buffalo, while Manmohan Singh is seen looking from the bus. While the third cartoon has one beggar telling the other- “can’t trace hidden black money in country, how will they get from abroad”.

4 April 2009

Meltdown Watch

Take a look at the take of the editorials of leading Indian newspapers in English on G-20 summit. Surprisingly, editorial of leading newspapers in Hindi have nothing to say on this issue. Does it mean that the common man who mainly readers newspapers in Hindi is not interested in the G-20 summit, further, the Hindi newspapers don’t want him to be- why this presumption?
Take a look at the take of the editorials of leading Indian newspapers in English on G-20 summit. Surprisingly, editorial of leading newspapers in Hindi have nothing to say on this issue. Does it mean that the common man who mainly readers newspapers in Hindi is not interested in the G-20 summit, further, the Hindi newspapers don’t want him to be- why this presumption?

They came, they talked, but did not conquer. The Group of 20 leaders, who met in London on Thursday in the backdrop of the severest economic crisis that the world has seen since the Great Depression, papered over sharp differences to come up with an agreed end-of the-meet communique. The leaders of the world's wealthiest nations and nine international institutions had different priorities, different problems. …The final document that emerged at the end of the meeting revealed a well-reasoned compromise…. But do not expect the world economic situation to change for the better anytime soon. The recessionary cycle would need time and patience to recede. Maybe the earliest one can expect the downturn to reverse is mid-2010 (Editorial. Free Press Journal).

…The summit unfortunately failed in making European nations like France and Germany commit greater resources to a fiscal stimulus…At the same time, issues such as exchange rate regimes too were not adequately addressed.. What remains to be seen is how much of the statement contains what each country wants other countries to do, and how much it has things that each country itself will be able to implement when the leader returns home from the G-20 Summit. (Editorial. Indian Express)

It is a good sign when elected leaders from all over the world come together to meet, discuss and agree to coordinate on a series of major steps to address common problems...one may as well note US President Barack Obama’s admission that there is no guarantee that what has been agreed to will work the way it is hoped…. But it is the specifics of implementation that will decide if the London meet was a turning point or a load of gas…(Editorial. Financial Express)

..Clearly, the direction of the reforms is positive, but there can be little doubt that the summit declaration has fallen woefully short of expectations in certain key areas... All in all, the G-20 summit was a mixed bag, significant and encouraging but not path-breaking. (Editorial. Tribune)

..there was a very bureaucratic response in the summit’s six-point pledge, which included the creation of a new financial stability board with greater representation given to the emerging economies…The proposed board is nothing more than a rehash of the International Monetary Fund’s financial stability forum, but if the IMF and the World Bank are going to be entrusted with supervision once again, even with larger representation from the emerging economies, it is hardly likely to install confidence since these institutions had signally failed to exercise their responsibilities and in a way contributed to the creation of the global financial crisis in the first place. (Editorial. Asian Age).

The just-concluded G20 Summit in London, billed by some as the new Bretton Woods is no nowhere near as epoch-making as the 1944 conference that gave the world its present financial architecture..Where the communiqué disappoints is in its complete silence on two issues that critically underpin both the on-going crisis and are of vital importance in any attempt to prevent its recurrence: the role of the UD dollar as international reserve currency and linked to that, global imbalances (Editorial. Economic Times).

The G-20 summit in London set out to do two things: put more money into the global pot and take away lessons from a global classroom. Both counts India has come away richer….(Editorial. Hindustan Times).

…Clearly, if economic lone-ranging is to be discourages, G-20’s announced commitment to naming and shaming protectionists much go beyond rhetoric. (Editorial. Times of India)

Or better still, for a quick sharp take on G-20, take a look at the two cartoons that have appeared in Times of India. The first one features Manmohan telling Obama, Brown & Sarkozy- “You guys broke it, you fix it.” Fix what- broken financial system! The second toon shows two modern women discussing G-20. ‘wow! What exactly is a trillion?”. Answer- “Oh, just enough for a couple of Wall Street bankers’ retirement packages”.Views of Day

Media is an industry with a social commitment. It is an industry in which information is the product circulated neatly and objectively. In the present world, it plays the role of bridging not only people, cultures, and communities but also hopes and aspirations. is acting as a vehicle of education and extension, and an instrument of social change and social justice; a watchdog and a social corrective… Newspaper is an offshoot of media which plays a significant role in nation building. contributes social and political image building and serves both tradition and modernity; continuity and change, historical process and contemporary situations and analyses and projects linkages between idea and event and also pushes for change with a hope. …There is no doubt that a newspaper plays a great role in the moulding public opinion and acts as a regulator and reflector of the same, interacting between the people and different organizations, parties and forums and in between the government and the people. Hence, if the character of newspaper is healthy, the democratic system would be more transparent and all thoughts, arguments and opinions shall be got accommodated without any second idea.(Dr. Farooq Ahmad Peer. Greater Kashmir). Election Watch

The Madurai Bench of the High Court has observed that police that police should ensure the safety of every citizen irrespective of whether a person was affluent or not and not act in favour of influential individuals (New Indian Express). A tough job? Take a clue- A spate of crimes by college students from well off families and office-goers earning decent salaries in Chennai has become a matter for concern for the city police, who see in the incidents a new trend and feel that it can be stemmed only with public cooperation. According to the City Police Commissioner K Radhakrishnan, the crimes were committed to sustain their high lifestyle -“Unlike the past, we are now finding college students and office-goers getting involved in chain snatching, theft and car lifting,” (Deccan Herald). It is not a secret that even the National Capital Region has become insecure for women. But still this issue has not been mentioned (read- compared) by Hindustan Times, while comparing the manifestos of three political parties- Congress, BJP and CPI(M). The toon in the same newspaper features a poor woman preparing meal. She says to a skinny boy who is seen smiling- “At least today’s Mid -Day meal is ready!!”The catch is that the cooking fuel is manifestos!

Advertisement watch

Full page ad of Mint features a inviting classroom with a flow diagram. Rural educationÞ better jobs Þ greater prosperity in villages Þ opening up of new markets. Hang on, education has a great intrinsic value of increasing one’s knowledge, right? What is the rational that person armed with rural education will want a job & and infact get it? The ever bleak employment market is no secret. Whatever happened to the spirit of entrepreneurship? The bottom of ad carries the punch line- “Mint brings clarity on general elections & issues governing them”. Keep guessing!

3 April 2009

Advertisement Watch

The advertisement in Times of India asks- “Why is the youngest country in the world run by the oldest parliament?” More questions to follow the punch line- “Why is there no retirement age for MPS? Or reservation for youth in parliament? Or national youth policy…”. Point to ponder- - If age appears to an important determining factor, why not a parliament performance appraisal between the so called youth vis-à-vis the oldies?

2 April 2009

Election Watch

The front page of Asian Age carries details of betting rates for seats opened on Wednesday for main three political parties. But wasn’t this this kind of betting illegal? Why publicise rates of betting, that too on the front page? The cartoon in DNA shows a political leader literally raining currency on the common man.

A happy follow tells the rationale- “ What’s wrong in it? This money belongs to them. All this is public welfare scheme money”. Yeap, another big leak. Bhartavi Kerur cautions in the same paper- “ ..Don’t let the money power sway your vote-power…”. Rajest Tiwari points out to the irony that rich leaders are hoping to represent the man in the street! “What's common about Sharad Pawar, Supriya Sule, Sushilkumar Shinde, Nilesh Rane, Sambhaji Pawar, Udayanraje Bhosale besides, D S Kulkarni apart from the fact that they are candidates for Lok Sabha Elections 2009...They are 'crorepati netas' in Indian politics”. The cartoon in Pioneer shows a Politian dancing on the stage. Why? “In the past he was a DJ, tuned VJ, now turned PJ! …I mean ‘Poll Jockey’! New Indian Express reports that stars are not that bright for many Bollywood personalities contesting the Lok Sabha polls. Now, what? Take a clue from M.V Kamath - “The parliamentary form of democracy has outlived its use and has now become a burden on the country worthy of being discarded. Under a presidential form of government the candidate has to prove his worth, in addition to his total capabilities”(Free Press Journal).

1 April 2009

Election Watch

The cartoon in DNA features a lock-up in a prison, in this lock-up, two people are seen wearing khadi (looking more like a politician) & are working- one on computer and another is reading paper files. A policeman explains this scene to the perplexed man (outside the lock-up)- “With so many elected ministers in detention, the government decided to start its branch office here”. But why do political parties give ticket to criminals? What an question, naturally to win. But is winning everything- muscle & money power?

A cartoon in Virat Vaibhav features a politician telling a TV reporter- “We have taken a decision that during this election our candidate will be one who has atleast 10 criminal charges against him”. What about Election Commission (EC)? Manan Kumar reports that EC did not find anything incriminating against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav who doled out currency notes on the occasion of Holi in his home constituency (New Indian Express). Given the soft stand of EC, the cartoon in Navbahart Times shows politicians celebrating - “Hurray, our candidate is not less than anyone. He has also received a notice from EC”. The advertisement in DNA (Mumbai Edition) assures readers that -”Over 2500 journalists will ensure that no candidate is left unaudited”. Now is the paper talking about candidates in State of Maharashtra or India? In the end, would voters have a wide choice of clean candidates to choose from? No wonder, the cartoon in Eenadu reflects freebies being used to lure the voter who is still sitting. Look down, he knows- it’s 1st April!

Sarcajc Research in Journalism Advertisement & Cartoon