Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Election Victories

It was amusing to read all the newspapers and television channels waxing eloquent on how voters in all five states were assembly elections were just held voted for good governance. We are suddenly being told about the wonderful welfare schemes of Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh and Shivraj Chohan in Madhya Pradesh. But how come, till now, the only example of good governance was Shiela Dikshit. In fact, we were told, she would lose despite good governance!
In the case of Madhya Pradesh, most media reports were full of Shivraj Chohan's obsession with yoga classes and how he was furthering the Hindutva agenda. In the case of Chattisgarh, Raman Singh was being pilloried only for the Salwa Judum. But clearly, both these people have also done all the positive things that newspapers are now listing out. So why were these not highlighted earlier? I am not saying that the media should have glossed over the ridiculous things that Chohan was doing in Madhya Pradesh. Or that it should not have highlighted the so-called dangers of Salwa Judum. But should it have focused only on these and not the constructive work? Is that what a responsible media should do?
I find the same problem in the analysis of Vasundhara Raje's defeat in Rajasthan. All the reports are focussing on her arrogance, her personality-based politics and inner-party turmoil. There is hardly any reference to the fact that these pulled her down despite her good record on governance. Because from all indications (I have spoken to Planning Commission members and BJP-hating development journalists), she has done a good job in the social sector.
Yes, negative stories are more exciting than positive stories. But this natural inclination to negative stories should not lead the media to distort the reality.

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