CNN-IBN twists the Reservation debate

I just saw the program titled “The Reservation Verdict” on CNN-IBN. Wonder how did Rajdeep sardesai decide that he and Yogendra yadav were the Final authority on this matter?

The panelists were Gurcharan das, Dr Safal Singh(YFE), Prakash Ambedkar(RPI) and a lady with a big mouth whom i had not seen or heard of until today.

The Audience was carefully mixed with JNU types (read marxists) who Rajdeep pointed to at crucial times when he wanted to give a particular direction to the debate.

The scheme was perfectly laid out. Our man Sardesai first threw in a reputable name “AC-Nielsen”. They had conducted this survey on behalf of CNN-IBN. That means you had no choice but to agree with whatever “conclusions” they had drawn up since a reputable firm had conducted the survey.

Now the First question was put forward. Have you heard of Reservations? about 80% of Indians are supposed to have heard of it; utter nonsense my newspaper delivery boy, dhobi and housemaid have not even heard of it. That too in bangalore. How about rural areas? the real figure must be close to not more than 50%. Same goes for their question about whether they had heard of the Mandal commission? In the sample it was supposed to be 48% yes, the real figure must be half of that.

The representative sample they have supposed to have taken is as follows

“The survey was done among 776 people in five metros in both rural and urban areas.The sample for the survey was unique. It had 40 per cent OBCs, 25 per cent SC and ST; 10 per cent Muslims and 25 per cent from general category, a representation of the Indian population.”

Can someone pls tell me how do u take a survey of both “rural” and “urban” areas in the five metros?!

Ok, let us take it as they questioned poor people from slum areas.

Now they were careful to have the venue at a college that had “Hindu” in its name and then mix a healthy dose of Marxist JNU types in the audience who were not seated next to each other but distributed all over to prevent any kind of momentum from forming about a particular opposing view. very, very scientific indeed!!

And pls tell us who were the ones doing the interviewing on the field and what were their personal views? How were the questions asked? very important since people participating in surveys usually respond to the manner in which the questions are asked and that in turn depends on the bias of the Questioner.

Funnily NO MARGIN OF ERROR for the survey has been given.

Now the above sample have supposed to have agreed in favour of reservations. 57% of the above said yes, 37% said No and 6% were undecided. This was further broken up to highlight a “caste divide” 38% of upper castes and more than 60% of OBC/SC/STs were supposed to have come out in favour of reservations.

Now Sardesai and co grew quite smug and Sardesai first pointed a few JNU types, got approving answers from them and then turned to Dr singh for the kill and asked the question that set the tempo for the rest of the debate. Where the doctors who went on strike out of touch with India’s reality? Because according to the survey (which he had conducted) “most” of the Indians(read survey sample) support reservations?

Now Dr Singh a smart guy realised what was happening and he tried to give a background instead of answering a very trick question. He tried to recount the list of demands laid out by YFE but he could at that moment recall only two, one was of a apolitical commission to study the effect of quotas and another to include socio-economic criterion instead of only caste for Reservation purposes. A lesson to atleast carry a copy of the list next time around.

Dr Singh was ably supported by Gurcharan das who argued that caste was not the only criterion today. It is a kind of a moral dilemma that someone on the admissions board of IIT would face if he has to choose between the son of a Rich OBC bussinessman from sundernagar who has scored only 40% and the son of a Poor Brahmin schoolteacher from Gorakhpur who has scored 80%. He also spoke about the need for taking both talent and equity hand in hand and also spoke about the opportunities presented by India’s current economic boom.

But even some inconvenient data in the survey was hurriedly brushed away. Like the 57% of the above sample were not happy with the current Reservations and wanted “improvement”. This could well have meant that they were asking the government to come up with other methods of affirmative action. But it was presented as if they wanted “improvement in reservation” implying they wanted “increased quotas”. The bias of the questioners becomes apparent here. Another one was about 67% of the people supporting reservations for the Poor of any caste. This was explained away as the need for “exclusion of the creamy layer” among all OBC/SC/STs and giving reservations to only the poor from these communities.

Now the other side of the Panel Dr Prakash Ambedkar(RPI) claimed that the politics in the country was dominated by upper castes(very true) and only from the early 1990s onward have we seen the rise of OBC leaders like Laloo, Mulayam and Mayawati and that there was only one dalit party in the whole of India i.e., his own Republican Party of India. He seemed not to agree with the need for taking socio-economic conditions into consideration; Sardesai simply couldn’t get an answer from him on the question of the “excusion of the Creamy layer”.

The loudmouth of the Woman claimed that we were getting into pro and anti debates whereas action was needed on all fronts like primary education, reservations etc… and she went on harping the same lines again and again.

At the end every effort was made to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the Anti-reservationist camp.

Yogendra Yadav an election psphelogist claimed that the Politicians cutting across party lines have read the signs correctly this time that is why no one has protested against the move. Dammit they were all fearful of losing their votebanks if they came out against this master stroke of Arjun singh. Arjun singh was not mentioned even once during the “debate”.

Now to push the point through the last item about Voting patterns was “revealed”. 84% of the above sample said there would be no shift in their voting preferences. but 12% said yes, this too was brushed aside. The reality is that in our First past the Post system even every single vote counts and 12% is a titanic shift. even a 2% vote swing can mean the difference between 5 years in government and five years in the opposition.That is why the Political parties were unwilling to be seen to be against the proposed Quotas. They did not want to risk that small percentage shift that might happen and ruin their election prospects.

Anyway it was an excellent “command performance” by Rajdeep sardesai, Yogendra Yadav and CNN-IBN.


Filed under India, Indian Politics, Liberal Extremists, Media, Social Issues

10 responses to “CNN-IBN twists the Reservation debate

  1. aka

    I wonder how the tone and content of this post would havee been if the survey had said that 57% Indians disagree with reservations!

  2. I take opinion polls with a pinch of salt. I would have been happier if CNN-IBN had put up soft copies of all commission reports to date on its website and called for a national debate.

  3. Anonymous

    I have never visited India but having Indian antecedents I amuse myself by reading Indian news.

    I was told that the constitution of India expressly prohibits discrimination based on caste.

    So how can one have a reservations policy based on caste?

    The only logical reservations policy should be based on offering financial aid (scholarships) to indigent students who are scholastic – regardless of their name!

  4. Anonymous

    Read this and weep for the future of Bharata: ‘Muslim institutes can hold separate CET’

    June 12, 2006 17:27 IST

    The Supreme Court on Monday permitted institutions belonging to the Muslim community in Maharashtra to hold separate Common Entrance Test for admission to professional courses for academic year 2006-07.

    A vacation Bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Altamas Kabir allowed the plea of the Association of Muslim Minorities Technical Education and Institute, Maharashtra, challenging the state government’s order asking it to take admission on the basis of the CET conducted by it.

  5. That’s quite a shocking piece of News. Where is this Votebank politics leading this country?

  6. @anon

    The constituion of India has become a joke. With 104 amendments in 59 years compared to 30 odd in 230 years for USA. A lot of these amendments are frivolous and done because of ulterior political motives.

  7. Pingback: The Acorn » Spinning the security survey

  8. Pingback: INI Signal - » Rajdeep Sardesai named Impact Person of the Year

  9. Pingback: DesiDabba » Archives » Rajdeep Sardesai named Impact Person of the Year

  10. rohan


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