Sheela Bhatt, managing editor (national affairs), rediff.com, and one of the few journalists who predicted the Gujarat elections accurately, on the strange symbiosis between the media and chief minister Narendra Modi:
“In Gujarat, many people wondered: “Look, how powerful is Modi. He can even defeat the media.”
“Today, the common belief is that the corporate media wields power. And the media, too, has come to believe in its power. But Modi has punctured the vanity of the corporate media. He ignored the media barons. Modi is the first Indian politician to transcend India’s corporate media. The result was predictable. He got so much bad publicity that the people started sympathising with him, concluding that he was a victim of the ‘power-wielding’ media.
“When the media delivered brickbats to Modi, BJP supporters gave him bouquets. His image of being a lone ranger also came in handy for Modi even as the media mauled him with epithets. The common man felt, “The poor fellow—the media is just not allowing him to work for Gujarat’s progress.”
“The Congress’s biggest mistake was to believe the anti-Modi propaganda. Some of it was actually planted by its leaders. They were trapped in their own web when they started believing the so-called logical arguments and not looking at the emotional fervour within the masses.”
Read the full column: Understanding the alchemy of Modi’s victory
Photograph: courtesy rediff.com