Past Vs Current Politics & Journalism: PM Indira Gandhi To PM Narendra Modi

In this episode of TRS, we are excited to welcome Coomi Kapoor, the Editor of Indian Express. She has been in journalism for the last four decades and her forte has majorly been political reporting. For a person who has been in the field for so long, Coomi Kapoor has witnessed the shifting power of political parties in the Country.

Today, she is here to share her tremendous knowledge with all of us. She talks about multiple topics like Journalism, Seeing the Weakest Government, the Rise of Dhirubhai Ambani, Liberalisation, Cabinet Reshuffling, the Future of India & more.

Journey In Journalism

“I have been in journalism for almost fifty years. I have seen many regimes come and go. It started with Indira Gandhi when she was at her highest, to Mr. Modi at his highest. For most political journalists, the best phases to get the most insider information are always when government in power is weak. Because the stronger the person in power, the less information flows and the more people are scared. The government being weak is not good for the economy, but for the media, it was a thumbs up.”

“The weakest government was when we had Deve Gowda, then Inder Gujral. The congress has done reelections twice. The press realized the government was weak and became bullies.”

About Dhirubhai Ambani

“Mr. Goenika was involved in the fight with Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani back when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister. Dhirubhai Ambani started rising with Indira Gandhi. All the laws formed at that time were in his favor and against other textile businesses. He was rising, and one man came in front. Nusli Wadia felt he was unfairly treated. A lot of investigating stories came out. The men from Mr. Ambani’s team knew about this. They started raiding the Indian Express as we were publishing these news. Mr. Nusli was not allowed in India because he has a dual passport. It is too confusing for the new generation.”

Rajeev Gandhi and His Leadership

“Rajeev Gandhi had the right advisors. He used to listen to them as well. And wanted to bring liberalization, but his advisors held him back. He was a nice guy, and unlike his younger brother, he came to the forefront as long as Sanjay Gandhi was out of it. He won with the biggest majority ever but didn’t do what was expected of him. He was quite naïve but honest. He wasn’t connected to politics so much.”

“One would agree with some of their policies and disagree with some. They have their favorites as well, so they are stricter on some. People have been talking about the sudden rise of Adani. They were unfair to GMR, which was handling the airports. It happens in all regimes. Industrialists fund these politicians so that when the party is in power, they have benefits.”

“When the demonization happened, it was a step against the opposition, but there were many people like me who found the 2000 rupees later on.”

Cabinet Reshuffles

“Cabinet reshuffles happen. I haven’t seen logic many times. Sometimes, in preparation for the election, they have to give importance to a particular caste. The person can be elevated from one position. I won’t say cabinet formation is selecting the person who is best for the job; rather, it is more political. I won’t get into names, but they represent powerful political growth, so most of the politicians are picked in that way. It is a political agenda.”

“I suppose the most difficult time was when Indira Gandhi imposed an emergency. Anyone could be put in jail if the government wanted to. And there were no records with the courts to get bail. My husband was put in jail. But I am proud that the Indian Express made sure to write articles about the emergency. It was a ridiculous situation.”

“I don’t want to brag when I go on the ground during elections. I can figure out which direction the wheel is turning. You have to go to the grassroots and talk to people to know the reality.”

About Manmohan Singh

 “We know about the 2G scam, and they were giving it to their favorites. And Manmohan Singh knew about it. His orders used to come from the first family of the Congress. It does boil down to money. But he was the finance minister when liberalization took place. It is unfortunate that make good things that he did have been overshadowed. It wasn’t his fault. I think the biggest mistake Congress would make Rahul Gandhi his leader; then it would be the greatest advantage for Mr. Modi.”

Thank You!

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