The Congress president Rahul Gandhi has addressed five press conferences on the Rs 140,000 crore Rafale aircraft deal involving the Narendra Modi government and the bankrupt businessman Anil Ambani.
These press conferences have been on 30 August, 22 September, 11 October, 25 October and 2 November 2018, and they have all been held in New Delhi
It is interesting to see the play Gandhi has got from the Indian Express, which played a stellar, adversarial role in reporting the Bofors gun deal which eventually led to the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989.
Barring one press conference, which was a follow-up to an Indian Express story on Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment investing in a movie involving then French president Francois Hollande‘s partner when Modi was inking the Rafale deal, none of Rahul Gandhi’s press conferences have got front-page display in the Express.
All the other four press conferences, have been buried deep inside the newspaper, despite the gravity of the charges against Modi’s decision-making process—and the size of the Anil Ambani offset deal, which is way bigger than the Rs 64 crore Bofors scam (which has since been declared to be no scam).
Admittedly, front-paging press conferences and giving a one-way platform to politicians is now passe. And, Rahul Gandhi’s press conferences have usually followed a media expose in some other media outfit, or a CBI implosion.
Still, the ability to smell a scam and keep the heat on is a vital function of public spirited media.
How would Ramnath Goenka, the fiesta founder of the Express have dealt with the Rafale scandal?