A political storm erupted Sunday over Robert Vadra’s altercation with a TV reporter with the BJP terming it an act of frustration and the Congress stoutly defending party chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, saying “repeated hounding of an individual is not appropriate”.
Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit, however, said basic civility should be maintained while dealing with the media, adding that the reported attempt to delete the footage was “not so dignified no matter what the provocation was”.
Vadra Saturday lost his cool and pushed away angrily the microphone of a reporter who asked him about his controversial land deals in Haryana. “Are you serious? Are you serious? Are you nuts? What is wrong with you?” Vadra could be seen asking the reporter in the footage repeatedly played by various TV channels.
He suggested that Vadra should “express sentiments that will settle” the issue, but his party advised the media to avoid “unpleasantness” of shooting questions at private functions.
ANI editor Smita Prakash later said that Vadra’s security personnel forced the cameraman to delete the footage but he deleted the footage of the gym he had gone to inaugurate, and not of the incident.
“It was sheer frustration of Robert Vadra that became manifested as inappropriate behaviour on a journalist,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
But the Congress sought to counter the BJP, pointing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged brush-ins with the media in the past. Party spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said the entire episode was being propagated as a “political agenda for obvious reasons” that couldn’t be considered either fair or proper.
Earlier, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said he was amazed by the media attention given to a “minor” incident. “Why (is) a private citizen being unnecessarily hounded? If he has violated any law, prosecute him… but this unnecessary media attention is not justified,” he said in a series of tweets.
Senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain countered him, saying had Vadra been a private person he would not have got privileges in Haryana and at the airport.
CPI leader D Raja said it was “unacceptable conduct” and it remained to be seen how the information and broadcasting ministry would take up the issue. The Broadcast Editors’ Association asked Vadra to tender an apology.