India Today group news director Rahul Kanwal is one of the “lucky” few in Indian journalism who gets a chance to interview BJP president Amit Shah, in public, at least once every quarter.
Every few weeks, Shah dutifully appears at an India Today event where Kanwal goes full pelt at his subject with kid gloves, and, in turn, Shah pulls Kanwal’s leg with a smile. In other words, a comfort level has been reached between interviewer and interviewee.
Yet, despite this bonhomie, when coal minister Piyush Goyal‘s launches a ferocious ad hominem attack on Kanwal, son of retired brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, at the media house’s latest conclave in Delhi, it takes the breath away.
Just for asking a valid journalistic question in a polite, respectful manner.
As always, Goyal is loud, low, and full of his own super-patriotic bile, but Kanwal’s admirable poise despite the provocative comments is a lesson for journalists—young, old and wannabe—on how to keep their calm.
Doubtless, apologies have been offered and accepted, but Goyal’s attack dog approach is a signal to BJP cadres across the country on how to deal with pesky questions from journalists about India’s latest air strike on Pakistan as the 2019 election season looms.
And it is a lesson for panna pramukhs to not take anything for granted.