It was an arranged and mutually agreed encounter between the two – one from the arena of politics and the other from the world of electronic media. Also, generally speaking, was not either ‘Fake’ or ‘fixed’. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat and Arnab Goswami of Times Now.
Both are known for their aggression and attacking temperament. Both are seen working hard for earning greater TRPs from their respective fan-following. But, not very surprisingly, the encounter between the two on Thursday night on Times Now was a shade different or better, compared to Arnab’s earlier ones.
Arnab, during his interviews, does not make any departure from his chosen path of grilling the interviewee to the hilt – the treatment he meted out to Rahul Gandhi , for example. Arnab did ask all such questions which could make the Prime Ministerial aspirant feel uncomfortable – as if the anchor was duty-bound to do so, otherwise the viewers and advertiser would feel cheated. Modi, on his part, was also all prepared to face the questions – good, bad and ugly. For Modi, it proved to be yet another rehearsal to face the cameras. And for Arnab, one more feather or killing to score over rivals. Modi, during the shooting, appeared to take utmost care not to fall into the trap of the Anchor of Times Now.
Surprisingly, both appeared different, in terms of their looks, make-up, and body language and also content. Modi sounded more confident unlike before, forcing Arnab to search for appropriate words to his salvos. The Gujarat Chief Minister is by now an experienced interviewee. Arnab was less aggressive or comparatively more generous in approaching ‘the would be or would have been Prime Minister’ after May 16. For a change, the questions were different, to the point, but certainly aimed at provoking Modi to fall into the trap of words, though unsuccessfully.
Modi was at his best, smiling, sometimes taking a dig at the famous Anchor. The questions asked and the given answers provided some insight to issues likely to be confronted by the BJP under Modi’s leadership. For example, Modi’s likely attitude towards his rivals within and without. What was going to happen with the future of Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj? Smelling the rat, Rajnath Singh had already stated in an interview that he was not going to join the government and would remain confined to his present role of being the Party President.
Modi has so far granted a number of interviews to electronic channels and newspapers. The questions asked and answers given are almost identical. But this interview of Arnab with Modi would be remembered and recalled for the reason that Modi will not be available for such interviews after May 16, whether he makes it to the top post or decides to return to Gujarat.
The author is Chief Editor, Naidunia, Indore