Those who stayed all day with the television news networks before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was sworn in as the Prime Minister must have felt satisfied that they weren’t alone in being clueless as to what was happening between the DMK and the Congress. There were a multitude of highly-paid correspondents and star anchors whose job was to keep track of such things, who came across as being no more than a kid on its first day at kindergarten. In the madness they were caught up in, they would have replied ‘sulphuric acid’ even if you had just asked them their name. Such was the confusion they wreaked that among the three of us —- my friend, his dog and me —- who watched the telecast, the dog alone could have felt any wiser.
In case, you missed the telecasts, here is a reprise of that.
(Reader alert: Some of what is to follow may not be factual and may not even make sense. But trust us, on the television out there, it was much worse).
Times Now: It has been a historical day for Indian democracy, because for the fist time in India in the history of democracy, as democracy makes history in India, with India, democracy and history for the time that is first, sorry to interrupt, but we have an important ‘breaking news’ coming in. Manmohan Singh, the country’s Prime Minister, has just woken up and brushed his teeth. This marks a major change from the past, as he was said to do nothing without consulting his allies during his previous stint. Let us go to our correspondent, reporting live from outside the Prime Minister’s residence inside which he is brushing his teeth.
Arnab Ghoswami: What is the sense you are getting right now?
Correspondent: Indeed it has been a dramatic morning, Arnab. As I am speaking to you, Manmohan Singh is brushing his teeth with a firmness that will surprise many of his party’s allies, who can no longer brush him aside. Arnab, the message is loud and clear: The Prime Minister knows when to smile, and when to bite, when to chew and when to rinse his mouth. But credit for this should go to Sonia, the UPA chairperson. She has been the pillar of strength behind Manmohan, letting him have his way when brushing the teeth. She has stood by him all through because Rahul Gandhi has stood by her as because he is stood by Priyanka Gandhi, who seems to have taken to her grandmother, Indira Gandhi, in standing firm.
Arnab: Remember, Times Now is the first channel to break the news about Prime Minister and his teeth. I can now hear some rustling inside the PM’s house and I think he is combing his hair. Our sources also confirm that he wears a turban.
(Scroll) Breaking News: PM in a rush to brush. Sonia sticks by him.
IBN Live: The DMK camp seems to be extremely unhappy with the way things have been developing over the last 24 hours with the Congress refusing its demand for more Cabinet berths. The DMK’s main grouse stems from the fact that its president’s family itself is big enough to be earmarked as a reserved constituency. The formula that the DMK is offering simple, a Cabinet post for every son and nephew, a MoS for every daughter and grandniece and some lollipops for other MPs who do not belong to the family.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Even as we are speaking to you, on a day of tumultuous developments, sources are telling CNN IBN that the DMK will up the ante, bite the bullet, throw the spanner (in the works), turn the tables, spin the wheels, soap the shirt, kick the bucket, shut the door on the Congress for being unreasonable.
Rajdeep: (To the correspondent who is standing behind what seems to be a large building, but actually small considering the size of Karunanidhi’s family). What are your sources telling you now at the moment when the DMK is spinning the wheel, turning the tide and hitting the turf running?
Reporter: Rajdeep, the mood here is one of high tension as the DMK is mighty upset with the Congress for being unreasonable and adamant and refusing to provide Cabinet Ministership for all those who make up Karunanidhi’s kitchen cabinet. The Congress, it seems, is veering around to the formula that it will be impossible to provide berths to all of Karunanidhi’s kin and kitchen as the Lok Sabha is puny in comparison with just 532 members.
Rajdeep: That’s big story we are breaking now: Karuanidhi’s family is big, bigger than anything big.
(Scroll) Breaking News: T R Baalu out of Karuanidhi’s family, PM stands firm against his inclusion in Karunanidhi family’s ration card.
NDTV: It has been time of constant flux as one event is leading to another and another, each of which goes on to prove that Rahul Gandhi is the true star of this campaign in which the Congress has proved that Rahul Ganhdi is its true star.
Prannoy Roy: Barkha, You mean to say, Rahul has stamped his authority and completely enveloped it with his charisma?
Barkha: Not only that, Prannoy. The Congress cadres are demanding a postal stamp in his honour. Rahul has impressed everyone with his easy-going demeanour and pleasing ways that Kasab and Afzal Guru deserve to be pardoned and let off. After all, Rahul’s charm has completely won them over. (She gets all emotional as her eyes start to well and nose begins to flare and nation begins to fell jittery).
(Scroll) Breaking News: Rahul wins over Prabhakaran. Army confirms Prabhakaran is dead.
Times Now: We have been told by our sources that the Prime Minister has just finished washing the face. We can also categorically confirm that the face belongs to him as it looks exactly like his image on the mirror.
(Scroll) Breaking News: Times Now is always Breaking News.
IBN: We have just heard that the DMK has put forth a demand to the Congress to make Azhagiri the secretary general of the UN. ‘If Kofi Annan can head the UN, why not Azhagiri annan?,’ asked a top leader in the DMK. The Congress camp is worried that this might give its other ally Trinamool’s Mamta to rope in Moon Moon Sen into her part fold and demand UN Secretaryship to her on similar grounds. ‘If Ban Moon can head the UN, why not Moon Moon Sen,’ will be her argument. Dayanidhi Maran is not available for comments as he is trying to be present in all the pictures snapped by all the cameras in New Delhi now.
Breaking News: Dayanidhi Maran is a wall-paper/screensaver.
NDTV: Barkha: (dramatically raises her hand up and down, as words come out in torrent, like the bullets out of the guns of terrorists, who not long ago had taken siege of Mumbai and let it off only after they realised that Barkha had taken siege of the country with her high-decibel histrionics): It has been Rahul’s show all the way.
Barkha: Rahul has charged the Deccans, challenged the Royals in both Bangalore and Rajasthan, showed that he is Indian to Mumbai, proved that he is a daredevil in Delhi, a super king in Chennai, and is willing take on any King’s eleven in Punjab.
(Scroll) Breaking News: Rahul wins IPL.Lalit Modi takes a strategy break.
Many of us in the print media are mighty worried at the state of affairs: You can’t blame us — Our sole source for news these days is the TV news.
(This my column for the publication this week).