On Thursday, during a discussion of the rules on cattle slaughter and the protest against it by members of the Kerala Congress, Nidhi Razdan, the anchor of the show, kicked BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra off the panel for alleging that the channel “had an agenda”. Other panelists on the show included Congress’s Sharmistha Mukherjee, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam spokesperson Saravanan and Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Sanjoy Hazarika.
The incident occured when Hazarika was discussing the impact of the rules. “Are you accepting people who have followed a certain way of life for hundreds of years, or are you just disparaging them on the basis of their belief and sort-of dispatching them to second class citizens?” he said. At this point, Patra begins to interrupt, prompting Hazarika to ask, “Why does he always have to interrupt other people?”
Razdan tried to let Hazarika continue to speak but Patra kept on speaking and said, “I interrupt people in NDTV only and I do that because NDTV has an agenda and I need to do that.” The NDTV’s anchor’s calm response to the statement was asking the BJP leader to leave the panel or apologise if he wanted to stay on.
“I am not going to accept the accusation of having an agenda,” Razdan said. “Just because you are asked questions does not mean that there is an agenda.” She also took a dig at certain channels that were echoing the government’s beliefs, “You are welcome to go on other channels, which are glorified version of Doordarshan.”
Their back-and-forth continued until Razdan was forced to move on with the debate, without the presence of Patra. The anchor’s composure was supported by commentators on both sides of the fence.
Here’s the full video.