The Gandhi Dynasty: For whom the bell tolls

With various exit polls predicting the exit of the Congress-led UPA government and BJP-NDA’s return to power after 2004, the fate of the Congress top leadership may be in jeopardy says senior journalist Rahul Tewari

e4m by Rahul Tewari
Published: May 16, 2014 10:21 AM  | 5 min read
The Gandhi Dynasty: For whom the bell tolls

While the nation awaits the results of the elections to the country’s 16th Lok Sabha and is looking at the broader picture of which party will win how many seats, the underlying question is: What happens if Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president lose from Rae Bareili and Amethi, their respective constituencies? Or if any one of the mother-son duo loses?

With various exit polls predicting the exit of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and the Bharatiya Janata Party-National Democratic Alliance’s (BJP-NDA) return to power after 2004, the fate of the Congress top leadership may be in jeopardy. There are whispers of dissent within the party and louder ones outside – especially from the BJP – that the Congress vice-president is not fit to lead the 129-year-old party that has ruled the country longer than any other.

While in 2009, the UPA had swept the polls grabbing 206 Lok Sabha seats in the 543-member house, exit polls this time give the UPA a measly 97-137 seats, with the BJP-led NDA winning as many as 340 seats in a clear majority.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh spoke about “two power centres within the Congress”, referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. While the Congress leadership was quick to claim that “two power centres work well in the party”, the dissent was clear. Digvijay Singh had added that Rahul Gandhi should not be allowed to nominate a prime minister if the Congress gets a majority in the Lok Sabha elections.

Sonia Gandhi is pitted primarily against BJP’s Ajay Agrawal in her constituency, which voted on April 30. In Amethi, which went to polls on May 7, Rahul Gandhi battled it out with Aam Aadmi Party’s Kumar Vishwas and BJP’s actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani.

Historian Ramachandra Guha said Rahul Gandhi was “confused, lazy and mediocre” and that it would be “dangerous to make him the prime minister”. “I still don’t think he is capable of running this country. I don’t think he is particularly a hard working or focused politician,” Guha had said.

Guha was perhaps echoing the thoughts of many, who think the Congress vice-president failed to live up to the party’s expectation of reviving the Congress’ fortunes in its former bastion, Uttar Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi is also seen as not making many speeches in Parliament, not talking about or taking any hard policy decisions, being arrogant and self-centred and not being able to deliver when push came to shove.

On being asked about misgivings within the Congress about Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, an All India Congress Committee (AICC) member said on the condition of anonymity: “All leaders are happy with Sonia because she brought the Congress to power in 2004, but almost all leaders, even senior leaders, are angry with Rahul for non-performance and lack of leadership qualities. Rahul could not make any headway in Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress has been out of power for 35 years. They think anyone else could have done better.”

“Rahul cannot achieve anything on his own without Priyanka (Gandhi-Vadra, Rahul’s sister),” he added. Will the Gandhis lose command over the Congress after the party’s drubbing in this elections? “The Gandhi family has a very long legacy of dynastic politics. They will never lose their grip on the party,” the AICC member added.

The Gandhi political legacy is indeed a long, historical one, starting from Jawaharlal Nehru, who went on to become India’s first Prime Minister. Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, who ruled with an iron fist. As Prime Minister, she was known for her unprecedented centralisation of power, going to war with Pakistan in 1971 to “liberate” East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and ordering a state of Emergency from 1975 to 1977, the only time Article 352 was imposed in India. Sanjay Gandhi, Indira’s son, was projected as her successor; he died in a plane crash over Safdarjung airport in New Delhi on June 23, 1980. His wife Menaka Gandhi and son Varun Gandhi are both Lok Sabha members from the Congress’ arch rival, the BJP.

Following Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984, by her security guards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh as an act of vendetta for her ordering Operation Bluestar against Sikh militants in Amritsar’s Golden Temple, her son and Rahul Gandhi’s father and Sonia’s husband, Rajiv Gandhi, was sworn in as Prime Minister on the same day Indira was assassinated. He was killed by an LTTE suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991.

After Rajiv Gandhi’s death, his widow Sonia Gandhi joined politics in 1997 and was elected president of the Congress Party the next year, a role she still holds. Rahul Gandhi was elevated as the Congress vice-president from being the party’s general secretary in January 2013.

With just 10 years in politics, a politically historic legacy to live up to and nasty whispers in the Congress corridors of power against him, Rahul Gandhi has not been the “game changer”, as the Congress’ much hyped phrase about the Food Security Bill, which turned out to be a damp squib. This crucial time around and for a decade, Rahul Gandhi used his hand to disastrously try to effect change, but it eventually turned to be … “talk to the hand, I’m not listening”.

 

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Vikram Kirloskar, Toyota Kirloskar’s Vice-Chairman, no more

Media reports say he died of a heart attack

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 30, 2022 7:44 AM   |   1 min read

Kirloskar

Toyota Kirloskar Vice-Chairman Vikram Kirloskar has passed away.

According to media reports, he died of a heart attack on Tuesday. He was 64.

As per a post put out by Toyota India, his funeral will be held on Wednesday in Bengaluru.

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Adani Group gains 99.5% shares of NDTV promoter firm RRPR Holding

With the transfer of shares, Adani Group will now have 29.18% stake in the network

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 29, 2022 8:13 AM   |   1 min read

ndtv

NDTV on Monday said that its promoter firm RRPR Holding Private Limited has transferred 99.5% of its equity to Adani-owned Vishvapradhan Commercial Vishvapradhan Commercial private limited (VCPL). The move makes Adani Group's takeover of the media firm more imminent.

With the transfer of equity, Adani Group will now have a 29.18% stake in NDTV. Adani has also presented an open offer between November 22 and December 5 for an additional 26% stake in the company. 

According to exchange data, the open offer drew bids for 5.3 million shares, which is around 32% of the 16.7 million shares on offer.

VCPL, AMG Media Networks and Adani Enterprises Ltd had also proposed to acquire 1.67 crore equity shares at an offer price of Rs 294 per share.

Back in August, Adani Group revealed plans to acquire a majority stake in the network. A decade ago, NDTV founders Pranoy and Radhika Roy had taken a loan of Rs 4 billion from AMG Media Networks Limited, a company acquired by Adani.

As an offer, the media company issued warrants that allowed the group to claim a 29.1% stake in the newsgroup.

Back in August, NDTV tried to block the transfer of shares, stating that its founders have been barred from buying or selling shares in India's securities market and hence cannot transfer shares that Adani Group was trying to acquire.

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Amazon says it hasn’t fired any employee

In a submission to the Labour Ministry, Amazon has said only those employees who opted for the separation programme have been relieved

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 25, 2022 10:06 AM   |   1 min read

Amazon

Amazon India has informed the labour ministry that it has not fired any employee but relieved those who opted for the separation programme and accepted a severance package.

Representatives of the eCommerce company met the labour ministry official and denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, Amazon warehouse workers across 40 countries have decided to take out protests and walkouts on Friday.

This coincides with the Black Friday sales when online shopping is supposed to peak.

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e4m-DNPA virtual roundtables to address digital media opportunities, big-tech malpractices

The roundtables are the precursor to the e4m-DNPA Future of Digital Media Summit & Awards to be held in January

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 24, 2022 2:47 PM   |   2 min read

dnpa

The digital media ecosystem is today the bedrock of a connected world due to a massive spurt in internet and mobile connectivity. The growing popularity of online shopping, streaming services and gaming is a testament to this fact.

At this opportune time, digital news publishers – one of the major stakeholders in the digital ecosystem –have been trying their best to leverage the thriving digital landscape.

Investments in news production notwithstanding, returns have been comparatively paltry for news publishers despite revenues of tech giants like Meta and Google rising significantly in recent years.



Publishers naturally want a level playing field to ensure that efforts are adequately rewarded and investments pay back rich dividends.

To this end, exchange4media will team up with the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) to organise two virtual roundtable conferences with international speakers to decode the 'Publisher-Platform Relationship'.

The agenda for the talks is to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the digital media space. The speakers will also address Big Tech's antitrust practices and how news publishers can safeguard themselves.

The first roundtable will be on 25th November and the next on 9th December. The first roundtable will bring together the best minds to explore the future of digital media and its many challenges.

During the conference, speakers will share highlights of the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code that Australia has recently adopted. They will also discuss the measures that countries across the world need to take for balancing the playing field between publishers and online platforms, creating a more sustainable foundation for the preservation of high-quality journalism.

These roundtables are precursors to the e4m-DNPA “Future of Digital Media Summit & Awards” to be held on 20th January, 2023, in New Delhi.

Following are the list of speakers:

List of speakers:

  • Professor Rodney Sims, Ex Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) 
  • Mr Tanmay Maheshwari,MD, Amar Ujala (Chairperson,DNPA) 
  • Mr Pawan Agarwal, Dy Managing Director, DB Corp Ltd. 
  • Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Managing Editor, Business World and e4m
  • Emma McDonald,Senior Policy Adviser, Minderoo Foundation
  • Mr Peter Lewis, Director,The Australia Institute
  • Mr Paul Thomas, Managing Director,Star News Group Pty Ltd
  • Dr James Meese, Senior Lecturer, RMIT University

Click here to register for the event.

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Amazon India gets labour min summon over voluntary separation programme

The ministry has received a complaint from a body of IT employees calling the recent layoffs unethical and illegal

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 24, 2022 9:25 AM   |   1 min read

Amazon

Amazon India has received a notice from the labour ministry over introducing a voluntary separation programme that was brought in as part of the e-commerce giant's global layoffs.

The summon came after the ministry received a complaint from a body of IT employees calling the layoffs unethical and illegal.

A fortnight ago, Amazon took to cost-cutting measures to increase profitability. It asked staffers in certain units to look for other profiles within the company.

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Colors Kannada tips hat to competitors on World Television Day

As part of the campaign, the channel acknowledged the work done by its competitors

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 23, 2022 1:12 PM   |   2 min read

colors

Keeping its promise to entertain audiences with the tagline of ‘Banna Hosadagide, Bandha Bhigiyagide’ Colors Kannada launched a social media outreach on World Television Day. 

Colors Kannada has taken to social media to wish its audiences on World Television Day.  The most important part of the campaign has been recognising its competition and their popular work.  Colors Kannada posted a video wishing its audiences on the transition of television in Kannada market that involved many popular shows of last decades. The theme of the campaign was related to triggering nostalgia, as a lot of memories from the past days are attached with television.

The video consisting of more than a minute includes the most popular shows of Kannada GEC including that of competitions such as Chandana, Udaya TV, ETV Kannada (Erstwhile name of Colors Kannada), Zee Kannada, Star Suvarna and from Colors Kannada.

The video showcases how Television shows in last decades emerged in engaging audiences of various age groups. The initiative of recognising the works of competition has won the hearts of audiences and wishes are still pouring in for Colors Kannada for its unbiased gesture to celebrate this special occasion.

“Breaking the barriers of competition by keeping aside the race to claim to be the number one channel and wish the competition on their fabulous works, this is extraordinary. This shows why Colors Kannada has remained the favourite entertainment channel over the years,” a netizen commented on the post.

“This post is full of nostalgia as Colors Kannada just took us back to those days of our childhood. Also, taking a step forward to include other channels in this occasion is an amazing effort,” an audience commented.  

N A M Ismail, Associate Vice President, Creative, Colors Kannada, Regional Entertainment said, “This is our genuine approach to wish everyone the World Television Day. As the transition of television shows in Kannada market involves the sweat of many people including that of competition, we have gone ahead to recognise their works beyond the competition between brands.”

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Dr Bhuvan Lall elected as member of International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

The author and filmmaker has been engaged with the global entertainment business in Hollywood, Europe and India for over three decades

By exchange4media Staff | Nov 23, 2022 9:33 AM   |   1 min read

Bhuvan Lall

Author and filmmaker Dr Bhuvan Lall has been elected as a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (International Emmy Awards).

In 2017, Dr Lall published the best-selling biography ‘The Man India Missed The Most - Subhas Chandra Bose’. His second biography is the extensively researched ‘The Great Indian Genius Har Dayal (2020)’. Dr. Lall’s 3rd book is ‘India on the World Stage (2021)’. His latest books are ‘Delhi in the Era of Revolutionaries 1857-1947 (July 2022)’, He is currently writing the biography of Sardar Patel.

Dr Lall has over three decades of top-level decision-making exposure in the global entertainment business in Hollywood, Europe and India. He was also the President of Beverly Hills-based MCorp - Spice Group - a multi-billion dollar Indian multinational.

Previously Dr Lall, as the Secretary-General of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (2000-03), established the largest M&E trade body in India. He was the SVP of a TV Network (1995). He has held Board Positions in various M&E companies. Dr Lall is currently Patron of the Sardar Patel Memorial Society, UK.

In 2019, Jharkhand Rai University of India bestowed him with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa (Ph.D.). He holds a First-Class Masters’ degree in Mass Communication - Film TV Radio Production from Jamia MCRC.

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