In Flight or Inflight?

Are we doomed to suffer gender politics by other means to the bitter end of the campaign trail? The world this week appears to consist of the following: Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, with or without female subject of surveillance in frame. Kapil Sibal protesting that he is neither anyone's shareholder nor uncle, a canard raised by the BJP for which it was curiously not taken to task. And, of course, the reappearance of a confident Tarun Tejpal, whose saga is becoming the new national soap. The moral tragedy is giving such competition to the saas-bahu lot that a Hindi channel claimed to have stationed a reporter at every checkpoint from Mumbai to Goa, to grasp its essence better.

Embarrassingly, the dozens of journalists stationed outside Tejpal's house failed to detect his flight to an undisclosed location, because of which reporters had to be tastefully scattered all over Delhi, Mumbai and Goa in the first place. Meanwhile, the cameras outside Shoma Chaudhury's house attracted BJP protesters who vandalised the property a bit with black paint and, in effect, tarred and feathered their own party.

The channels probably welcomed the excitement, no matter if it was bizarre. It produced the only fresh footage relating to Tejpal that they would get between Chaudhury's resignation at the crack of dawn on Thursday and Tejpal suddenly coming up for airtime at Delhi's airport yesterday afternoon. Thereafter, the channels had to wait impatiently for Tejpal's plane to land, with only Times Now being able to pretend with any success that the story was still breaking. An old hand at this game, it can make the Upper Paleolithic look like news.

Wonder if you've noticed, but the channels are so starved of footage to keep the chase story rolling that some of the new videos were taken with cellphones. The story will pitch ever higher and then die down over the weekend, but in the interim, expect to see much citizen journalism-like video.

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