Indian media: Rahul Gandhi's words

Rahul Gandhi stressed on issues like "women's empowerment" in his first TV interview in a decade Image copyright
Image caption Rahul Gandhi stressed issues like "women's empowerment" in his first TV interview in a decade

Media in India are analysing Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's first major TV interview ahead of the general elections.

Mr Gandhi is leading the party's campaign for the elections due by May and many see his interview with the Times Now channel as a part of his party's media strategy.

Most websites, TV channels and papers are giving prominent coverage to his remarks on corruption, politics, opposition parties and key pieces of legislation.

A word cloud analysis of his interview suggests that Mr Gandhi mostly focused on changing the political system in the country and the need to empower women.

He repeated the word "system" 70 times during the interview and mentioned the phrase women's empowerment more than 18 times.

Pundits and papers seems to be divided over the impact of his remarks on several key issues.

Prominent columnist Praveen Swami, in his article in The Hindu, says Mr Gandhi's interview "is likely to have disappointed his supporters, and inspired his detractors".

"The Congress' star campaigner shied away from opportunities to confront Gujarat chief minister and [main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's] prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi head on, avoided the issue of Hindu nationalism, and provided few details on his party's agenda for government," he writes.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rahul Gandhi (left) and Narendra Modi often criticise each other's policies on governance and economy

"Rahul is sincere and earnest but short on specifics and high on long-term ideals like 'empowerment'," adds The Telegraph.

The First Post website comments on Mr Gandhi's desire to change the "system", saying "here is the vice president of a party, which is the incumbent government, talking about how the 'system' needs an overhaul".

"If 'system' is the political establishment that runs governments in the country, Congress while not being responsible for the whole of it, is certainly responsible for the biggest section of it," it adds.

'Bell of justice'

Staying with political news, media are criticising the "hooliganism" shown by the regional Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party over their demand to end toll tax on some key roads and bridges in the western state of Maharashtra.

"Maharashtra, especially Mumbai and its suburbs, again witnessed political hooliganism" when MNS workers attacked toll booths across the city "demanding their abolition," the Moneycontrol website reports.

The political workers "went on a rampage, vandalising the toll booths, after the party chief urged them not to pay road toll" at a rally, the report adds.

In some technology news, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in India have told the Supreme Court that they cannot block pornographic websites without an order from the court or the government, the First Post website reports.

The statement comes after a petition requested the top court to pass an order to block websites with pornographic content in the country, the report says.

"Such blocking would tantamount to pre-censorship of contents", an association of the ISPs told the court, adding that "one man's pornography is another man's high art".

Meanwhile, police in the eastern state of Bihar have introduced the concept of an emergency public bell which people in distress can ring to get help, The Business Standard reports.

The bells, which will be available in Darbhanga area of the state, resemble the concept of "insaaf ka ghanta" (bell of justice) that was placed outside the palace of 17th-century Mughal emperor Jehangir, it adds.

And finally, Tigress Machli, known as the "world's most photographed striped cat", has gone missing since 9 January from the Ranthambore National Park in the north-western state of Rajasthan, the India Today website reports.

Worried officials have launched a hunt to trace the famous tigress, it adds.

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