Tag Archives: Balbir Punj

Ravi Nair: the journalist who pushed the #Rafale deal into the national and political consciousness

Twitter in India today is mostly a platform to preen for loud Delhi gasbags—or a signalling system for has-beens trying desperately to stay on the right side of Tongue Parivar.

Good journalism, therefore, gets subsumed by those who shout, scream and shriek—and then shout, scream and shriek some more when somebody, usually another gasbag, retweets them.

The biggest stories of the Narendra Modi era—Demonetisation and the Rafale deal—have produced ground breaking stuff from two self-effacing men, both Malayalees, and both not journalists.

First, James Wilson, a civil engineer, who sitting in Kerala, explicated #DeMo with far greater clarity than any Bombay-Delhi-Calcutta business journalist.

And now, Ravi Nair, to whom goes the singular credit of giving the #RafaleDeal the necessary throttle and boost before Rahul Gandhi and the rest of the mainstream media jumped in.

Nair, 44, says he started digging into Rafale after he heard somebody uncritically exclaim “Bahut khoob kiya” upon reading news about the deal.

He has so far produced over 40 stories and analyses for various outlets, including a cover story for Frontline, including perhaps a book soon. Nair says his first story was turned down by many till ‘Janta ka Reporter‘ accepted it.

Several other journalists have since reported on the Rafale deal but few have consistently stayed on it like Nair who, tellingly, has not called it a “scam” yet.

J. Gopikrishnan of The Pioneer played a pivotal role in reporting the various strands of the 2G Scam which brought down the Manmohan Singhgovernment.

Is his statemate Nair poised for an encore?

Photograph: couresy The Leaflet

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Are journalists already poised to ride Modi wave?

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M.J. Akbar (extreme left) and Swapan Dasgupta (second from right) at the release of the book on Moditva

As the 2014 general election campaign gathers steam, the masks are beginning to come off, as journalists who make no pretence of their political and ideological inclinations (without disclosing it publicly) walk over to the other side, just as they did in previous elections.

Ashutosh of IBN-7 is officially the Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate from Chandni Chowk; Manish Sisodia of ex-Zee News has already done a stint as Delhi education minister; Shazia Ilmi of ex-Star News could stand against one or the other Congress or BJP heavyweight.

The buzz is a number of scribes are being tapped by AAP to make the switch.

Both in the 2004 and 2009 elections the BJP had no shortage of journalists, columnists and editors advising it from inside and outside. And 2013 is proving to be no different.

At a recent event in New Delhi to release a book titled Moditva, former Telegraph editor M.J. Akbar and former India Today managing editor Swapan Dasgupta  (both columnists for The Sunday Times of India) were helpfully at hand, making no bones about where they stand.

The Telegraph, Calcutta, reported the BJP president Rajnath Singh‘s address thus:

“When I first heard of the book, I was certain it was authored by a politician or someone wanting to get to the Rajya Sabha or acquire a post when our government is formed….

“I was amazed to know that this young man [Siddharth Mazumdar of Columbia] was not a politician or a political aspirant” added Rajnath, before looking long and hard at a group of panellists who had taken their seats for a discussion.

For the record, the other members at the book-release panel were economist Bibek Debroy, former Delhi police chief Kiran Bedi (a likely BJP Lok Sabha candidate), the BJP’s stormy petrel Subramanian Swamy, and BJP treasurer Piyush Goyal (who is already a Rajya sabha member).

Also for the record, M.J. Akbar is a former Congress member of Parliament from Kishanganj, Bihar. His name was mentioned in 2008 as a potential BJP member of the upper house along with former India Today editor Prabhu Chawla.

Photograph: courtesy The Pioneer

Also read: Who are the journalists running, ruining BJP?

Don’t laugh, do journalists make good politicians?

Why the BJP (perhaps) sent Chandan Mitra to RS

Kanchan Gupta versus Swapan Dasgupta on Twitter

For the BJP, is the pen mightier than the trishul?

Ex-Star News, TOI journalists behind ‘Arnab Spring’

When the gang of four meets at IIC, it’s news

RSS feed: New BJP chief spikes journalists

Coomi Kapoor in the Indian Express on the journalists’ contingent in the new team of BJP office-bearers.

Also read: For the BJP, is the pen mightier than the trishul?

Who are the journalists running, ruining BJP?

L.K. Advani: PM maybe but not a very good sub

Don’t laugh: do journalists make good politicians?

‘The lone ranger of loony Hindutva’ versus…

How Chandan Mitra has his halwa and hogs it too