It is a battle to catch mind space through television ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and both the BJP and the Congress have tele-warriors adept at articulating their viewpoint. The tele-warriors are both a mix of youth and experience and know how to present their points amid the cacophony of voices on news channels.
They promote their leaders and counter each other’s “lies and propaganda” through “facts and figures”. The tele-warriors do what senior leaders of the party cannot do on a daily basis due to their other responsibilities and commitments.
Here are some of the prominent tele-warriors of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many of whom are under 35 years of age.
Vinit Goenka: A politician passionate about tapping technology to change the way India works, Goenka has knowledge in diverse fields including information technology, transportation, infrastructure and agriculture. He has worked extensively in Jammu and Kashmir.
Goenka goes into the basics of an issue to score over his opponent and makes less use of lung power. He is a member of the Governing Council of Centre for Railway Information System, an organisation under the Ministry of Railways.
He was appointed a member of the IT Task Force in the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways and Shipping Ministry. In these capacities, he works closely with Union Ministers, including Nitin Gadkari and Suresh Prabhu on initiatives to achieve the government’s goal of ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’.
Neha Joshi: A social activist, she is the daughter of BJP MLA from Uttarakhand, Ganesh Joshi. Joshi says her effort is not to ever appear arrogant as she represents the ruling party of the country in TV debates. “I can be aggressive but as a principle, I try not to speak over people”, she said.
Joshi has earlier presented the party point of view during TV debates in her native state and was picked to do the same on national television. Joshi is a consultant with the Petroleum Ministry. She has a degree in economics and postgraduate degree in Social Work.
Vaibhav Agarwal: An eloquent TV face of the BJP, he comes armed with facts and has an understanding of complex ground realities in the political arena. He is frequently present on news channels on debates, including on socio-political issues, and has made a place for himself among the new TV debaters of the party. Agarwal, 43, hails from Rajasthan and is well-versed with the party line.
Charu Pragya: Clear and cogent in her articulation, Pragya is daughter of Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal Singh. She is a member of the BJP’s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and has over 28,000 followers on Twitter. She is also part of several global initiatives involving youth leaders. She understands the caste dynamics of Indian politics and is articulate on social issues.
Rohit Chahal: He is national media in-charge and in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir in BJYM. He participates in debates patiently and believes in listening to the counter view. Chahal has worked in ABVP for many years and has been in the BJP for the last three years and is well versed with the party line. He takes part in debates on Hindi news channels.
Gaurav Bhatia: He is son of late Samajwadi Party (SP) parliamentarian Virendra Bhatia. A lawyer by profession, he was earlier associated with the SP and brings seriousness to a debate. He has twice served as honorary secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and is now an advocate-on-record. He brings his skills of lawyer to debates and cuts to the point straight. Bhatia has a long experience of debates, having earlier articulated the point of view of Samajwadi Party on television.
Syed Zafar Islam: A former investment banker, he joined the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Islam has emerged as a prominent Muslim face of the party on television channels and speaks with logic and knowledge. He is cool and calm during debates and is well versed with the development initiatives of the Narendra Modi government, which he uses to demolish arguments of his opponents.
Amit Malviya: He is chief of the BJP’s social media cell and has reinvented himself into a party spokesperson. Having an Information Technology background, he is ready with figures to buttress his points and is also quick-witted. Malviya does his research and before coming for a debate and presents the arguments cogently.
Niti Jain: A member of the BJYM, she has experience in advertising and copy writing. She is also a social activist with interests in education, women and youth empowerment and theatre and follows the government’s programmes closely. She is among the young TV panelists of the party and uses her knowledge across the domains to put across her viewpoint.
Sudesh Verma: A journalist by profession, Verma is a serious and calm face from the BJP in television debates. A former news editor of NewsX television channel, he was also a senior political analyst with the British High Commission for three years (2005-2008). He finally joined the party which he used to cover as a journalist. Soft-spoken, he is often called to state the party line on issues such as communalism and nationalism.
Ashish Sood: He has been associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was made Vice President of the Delhi unit of the BJYM in 2002 and later became the Vice President of the state unit of the BJP. Well versed with local issues in Delhi as also national issues, he presents the party’s view point with depth and knowledge.
Sanju Verma: She is co-convener of BJP Mumbai’s Intellectual Cell and is an entrepreneur. She has served as an Associate Director with JP Morgan and as an Executive Director with HDFC Securities. She stays cool while defending party line against mutliple attacks by opponents. She has deep knowledge of economic issues and is often asked questions by her opponents on the performance of Modi government on creating jobs.