cobrapost |
March 26, 2018

With about 1000 subscribers including newspapers, radio and television networks, web sites, government offices and private and public sector corporations across India and the world, United News of India (UNI) is undoubtedly one of the largest news agencies.

With about 1000 subscribers including newspapers, radio and television networks, web sites, government offices and private and public sector corporations across India and the world, United News of India (UNI) is undoubtedly one of the largest news agencies. UNI has news bureaus in all state capitals and major cities in the country. Sharma got a red-carpet welcome, literally, in one such bureau of the agency at Lucknow, where he met Narender Kumar Srivastva.

After the pleasantries, Sharma tells Srivastava that the objective of his campaign is to promote Hindutva and thrash rivals of BJP, and for this the packaging of the content has to be done in such as manner as it does not look grossly overplayed. It should be done in a satirical way. In other words, it has to be subtle. We will provide you jingles in audio and video forms which we have prepared for you as a guide. Assures Srivastava thus, “Haan toh fir kya chinta hai. Fir toh ho hee jayega fir kya diqqat hai … woh toh ho hee jayega usmein toh koi diqqat nahi hai (Then, why worry. It will be done. There is no problem … that will be done. There is no problem).” He then goes onto note down what he has to deliver through his news agency.

Coming to his main agenda of polarizing the electorate before 2019 elections take place, Sharma tells him that he would like to make payments against this arrangement to the agency in advance. Sensing a big business opportunity knocking at his door, which will not only benefit his news agency but also fetch him rewards, Srivastava asks Sharma to discuss everything in detail: “Meri aapse ek request hai hum khul khulkarke baat kar sakte hain … meri request aapse ye hai ki aap jo kuch bhi karein wo Lucknow se karein … uske kaaran kya hai. Doh kaaran hain uske … jiske madhyam se paisa company mein jayega … isiliye maine bola main khul ke bol sakta hoon aapne anumati isliye bol raha hoon apke kaaran paisa company mein ayega wo jiske wajah se ayega uska company mein … iss baare mein mera aashay aap samajh gaye honge (I have a request … I have a request to make before you that whatever deal you enter [with UNI], do it through our Lucknow bureau only. What is the reason? There are two reasons. Through whom the company will get the money … that is I said. I can speak openly because you want it so. My company gets the money from you and through whom … [yes] you understand what I mean).” It will no doubt raise his status in his company.

Giving him a sympathetic ear, Sharma now tells him how the campaign will move from the soft Hindutva in initial months to take an openly communal stance as 2019 elections approach to polarize the electorate. If you are confident, now Sharma throws the gauntlet at him, only then should you undertake the campaign. Srivastava is quick to agree in no uncertain terms: “Hundred one percent Sir. Abhi tak jo maine suna maine bahut hee dhyan se ye cheej aapki suni hai jo aapke object hain jo aap material dena chahte hain usmein mujhe koi bhi cheej objectionable nahi lagi (Hundred one percent Sir. What I have heard with attention, what object[ive] you have, what material you want to give us [for propaganda], I don’t think there is anything objectionable in it).”

And Srivastava has no problem in covering and promoting speeches of all firebrand leaders of Hindutva Brigade as he knows most of them from close quarters: “Dekhiye Sir main apko bataon jin jin logon ka aapne naam liya hai Mohan Bhagwat ji se meri mulaqat nahi hoti Vinay Katiyar ji se achhi mulaqat hai Uma Didi bahut manti hain Ayodhya ke hone ke naate. In logon se meri intimacy hai. Aap bhi parhe likhe insaan hain parhe likhe se bada shabd mujhe mil nahi raha hai isliye use nahi kar paa raha hoon jo mujhko shabd mil raha hai main usko use kar raha hoon ye shabd mujhe jahan tak pahunche accha hai. Aap samaj ke jimmedar vyakti hain aap koi bhi aisi cheej nahi denge jisase samaj ko nuksaan ho aur jahan tak political laabh lene kee baat hai toh political laabh lene ke liye saare sangathan kaam karte hain … aur uss prayas mein aap … mein toh hain nahi ki aapattijanak shabd use karenge mujhe kya aapatti ho sakti hai (Look Sir, among all the names you dropped, I have not met Bhagwat. But I know Vinay Katiyar very well and Uma [Bharti] Didi also likes me lot. Since I belong to Ayodhya, I have gained a certain amount of intimacy with these leaders. You are a well educated man, I don’t know a better word than this, you know it well what it means, [I know] you are a responsible citizen and you will not give such content as would be harmful to the interest of the society. As far as seeking political gains is concerned, all parties do that … then you are not … and you are not going to use objectionable words [in your content] so there will be nothing for me to object to).”

When in his second meeting Sharma asks Srivastava if he had discussed with his team on all three agendas of his campaign, the UNI Lucknow Bureau Chief says: “Haan poora kar liya tha maine aur GST jo hai uss par web site par 18 percent hai … nahi magazine par 5 percent hai (Yes I have discussed it thoroughly and there is 18 percent GST applicable to web site [content] … no, it is 5 percent on magazine).” At this point, Sharma asks him if they will accept the payment in cash. Will you give me a receipt?

Srivastava replies: “Wo ho jayega aap shuru toh kijiye … bilkul denge ekdum denge sab denge (That will be taken care of … [and yes we will give you receipt and all [against the payments made in cash]).” How will you take care of the tax? wondered Sharma. Pat came the reply: “Ye toh aap hum par chhod dijiye uski aap headacke mat lijiye (Leave it for us. This is none of your headache).” Before Sharma wraps the interview, he asks him if Srivastava would like to submit a proposal to him. He hear him loud and clear: “Nahi proposal kya humko … denge hum usko chhapenge turant chalayenge uska humein payment dein khatm (No, why the proposal … provide us the content, we will publish the same and carry [it on our website. You make payment to us accordingly. That is all).”

Finally, Sharma again asks him to plant stories, apart from carrying the content on their print and digital medium. Srivastava replies promptly: “Aap shuru toh kijiye Sir abhi toh keval baat ho rahi hai (Why not make a start? So far we are simply discussing [the deal]).” Here what he wants to convey to Sharma in no uncertain terms is he is ready to play ball. To see reactions of concerned person click here

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