Saba Naqvi is a journalist turned author and she has also engaged with politics very closely for her role as a journalist. This session was interesting for it covered the present BJP Government in the light of the BJP government with Vajpayee in power. Naqvi says that there has always been ups and downs in the relationship of the government and the media but the times we are living in right now, has turned it into a life-threatening exercise. She agrees that journalism is not out of the society and after working and covering for politicians for a while, they choose their sides so she has encountered some who resonate with Congress and some who believes in BJP but such strong polarisation like now is unprecedented. Talking about dualities, she says for the good understanding of audience that there are two kinds of BJP, the old BJP with Vajpayee in power when she was very active with journalism and then there is present new BJP with Modi in power. She goes on to say that the new BJP is ruthless even within itself because there are no multiple power centres like old BJP which had Vajpayee, Mahajan, Advani but today it is one Modi and that ends the story. She cites from her experience that her press card gives her access to almost everywhere but PMO which was also easily accessible earlier but now no journalist can walk into the office for Modi leads a very private life. She compares it to the Vajpayee’s time where Vajpayee’s family matters were also in front of the media but today even the PMO and its decision is monopolised.

Her comparison to the old good times of BJP extends and she gives an example of civility to the audience. She says when the Wadra papers came out, then BJP was in crossroads for they saw that it has nothing to do with a politician’s professional life and was clearly a family matter and it is only when AAP took up the issue that the BJP seconded it, before that they understood the importance of the unsaid line.

Reminiscing the old BJP members she gives an account of Govindacharya, who is an interesting figure in BJP who gave interesting statements, tussled with Vajpayee and all those could happen because the party would allow the space for it. To quote Naqvi ‘there was no suffocation in those times’.

Coming back to the contemporary times, she says that RSS has benefitted from Modi a lot and even though Modi may diverge from them, they still don’t question him. Ending with the pragmatic nature of the Modi-Shah regime, she said that at the end of the day it is all about winning elections so when people from outside the party comes to them, they happily agree for it is what happened in North East, in Goa and also in Kerala and the Sabarimala case. The show must go on as they say.

About the Author: Kalpita is a Bachelor in English Literature. Her ultimate goal is to fulfill the romantic notion
of changing the world for better and she is pursuing MA in Development from Azim Premji University, Bangalore. She currently writes for Bookstalkist.