File photo of senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi | Twitter | @IYC
File photo of senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi | Twitter | @IYC

New Delhi: Prime Time debates Thursday were newsy and very busy: they ranged from Rahul Gandhi’s “no democracy in India remark” to the new coronavirus variant to the controversy that erupted over the centenary event at West Bengal’s Visva-Bharati University, addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) party in West Bengal alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had not been invited to the event and accused the Centre of “insulting” her.

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“There can be nothing more shameful than politics over the greatest national icon who gave us the national anthem,” said Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami targeting the TMC.

Former Tripura and Mizoram governor Tathagata Roy claimed the TMC allegation was false. “I have seen a copy of the scanner letter on the university letterhead written by the VC to the Bengal CM, inviting her to attend this function. What more evidence can one ask for?”

However, political analyst, Joydeep Mukherjee wouldn’t have it. “Why was the CM of the state not invited? What is the current Vice-Chancellor doing? He is doing politics,” he concluded.


Meanwhile, Mirror Now debated whether India needs a change in policy to tackle new strains of Covid.

“Covid-19 has played out very differently in India as compared to UK. It’s a reasonable assumption that we have large herd immunity. Contact tracing and quarantine is the right way to go ahead,” insisted professor Sudhir Krishna of the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru.

But, Dr Rajesh Parikh of Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital had a warning: “As new mutant coronavirus strains are found with greater infectivity in UK, (we) cannot rule out the possibility of second wave.”

On Aaj Tak, anchor Anjana Om Kashyap discussed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement in which he said that there is no democracy in India and it is only in imagination.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra cited the example of DDC elections held in Kashmir to refute the claims of Gandhi. “The whole world is looking at us in awe, not a single bullet was fired during the election process and he is questioning our democracy,” he said.

Patra also made fun of the claim by the Congress that it got the signature of 2 crore people against the farm laws. “You haven’t seen Randeep Singh Surjewala for 4-5 days. I believe that Congress made a committee of Surjewala, Anand Sharma and other leaders and shut them in a room and asked to complete 2 crore signatures.”

Congress social media chief Rohan Gupta hit back, “In this country, 41 farmers have died during farmers’ protest. Is this the democracy they talk about… where decisions are imposed — whether it was GST or demonetisation.”

On NDTV India, Ravish Kumar continued his prime time on farmers’ protest against the three farm laws. Kumar said most of the TV news viewers do not have the patience to see how the protests are evolving. Kumar presented the story of a NBA basketball player who came to participate during the protests.

“The Sikh community which fed thousands of people during Covid pandemic and Bhuj earthquake, is now being questioned by the government over the funding of the langar,” said Kumar.

Targeting the government and ministers over its protest-suppressing strategies, Kumar noted that all the ministers have never tweeted so much about agriculture as they are doing now. “It seems as if all the ministers have been sent to the agriculture ministry to work.”

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