‘Dialogue with VDS’ features in-depth interviews with experts from across Kerala on how the state can turn the current crisis into an opportunity.

Screenshot of the talk show. MLA VD Satheesan in photoScreen grab
news Talk show Friday, July 24, 2020 - 19:07

Sitting in an open courtyard, Kerala’s Finance Minister Dr Thomas Isaac is seen speaking ardently about some of the ways in which the state can turn the present pandemic situation into a success story. Just beside him, at arm’s distance, sits Congress leader and Kerala MLA VD Satheesan, listening intently to his political rival, occasionally nodding his head in agreement with Dr Thomas, who is part of the CPI(M)-led LDF government.

The scene, which is highly unlikely to be witnessed on a TV debate, is part of a YouTube talk show named ‘Dialogue with VDS’, hosted by VD Satheesan himself.

The talk show features in-depth interviews with experts from across Kerala, mainly aimed at discussing how the state can turn the current crisis into an opportunity. The talk show, which Satheesan started last month, is one of its kind in the state, and has gained a lot of traction.

The show has so far featured six experts in various fields, including renowned oncologist Dr MV Pillai, industrialist and philanthropist Kochouseph Chittilappilly, Kerala’s hospitality pioneer Jose Dominic, and noted psychiatrist and writer Dr CJ John. While the episode featuring Dr Thomas Isaac has over 11,000 views, the interview with Dr CJ John has over 12,000 views and the one with Jose Dominic has over 11,000 views.

Notably, in all the interviews, the conversations are optimistic, where experts share their knowledge on how a sector can utilise the challenges for its betterment. While focussing on the economy and industrial sector, Satheesan also gives equal importance to discussing mental health issues as well as issues faced by people with disabilities during the pandemic.

Satheesan, an Opposition MLA representing Paravur in the Kerala Assembly, kickstarted the series on June 12 featuring Dr Thomas Isaac, discussing how the state can move forward tackling the global economic crisis induced by the pandemic.

“I wanted to give a clear message to people that there is no political colour to this programme. That’s why I started the show with Dr Thomas Isaac, who is a noted economist himself,” Satheesan says.

In a quick interview with TNM, Satheesan shared why he started the talk show even amidst his busy schedule as a people’s representative.

“The world is now split into ‘before and after’ COVID-19. World over, there’s a change in the socio-economic and political order due to this. We should understand the changes in each of the sectors for better policy-making. That’s where these constructive conversations become important. Primarily, that is what the show is about,” he says.

Explaining the tagline of the show – Democracy is a constant dialogue – Satheesan says constructive dialogue is an inevitable part of a healthy democracy.

“LDF and UDF are political rivals in Kerala and people also consider it so, but we should also be able to work with consensus when a need comes. The episode with Dr Thomas Isaac is an example of this. We have opposed each other on many things in the past, but in that half-hour episode we agreed on every single point. This is proof that we can see eye to eye on common goals,” he says.

The MLA also has plans to compile the ideas presented by experts and publish it as a book after 10 episodes. “It’ll be an insightful book where ideas of how to overcome challenges in a post-COVID world come together,” he says.