Kerala CM snaps at journalist, berates media for ‘hostile attitude to Left politics’

The CM’s reaction came when Reporter TV’s Nikesh Kumar asked him if he engaged in self-criticism during an interview ahead of the Lok Sabha election in Kerala.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala CM Pinarayi VijayanFile Photo
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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, known for his quick retorts and exchanges with the media, is once again making headlines for snapping at a senior journalist who questioned him about ‘self-criticism’ during a television interview that aired on Wednesday, April 24. “What kind of self-criticism should I do for the kind of degrading behaviour you lot [the media] adopt?” Pinarayi asked MV Nikesh Kumar, the editor-in-chief of Reporter TV. Nikesh, a well-known journalist and a one-time Assembly poll candidate backed by Pinarayi’s Left Democratic Front (LDF), had asked the question in the context of the Lok Sabha election on April 26.

The CM questioned Nikesh if the media’s “hostile attitude” was an attempt to attack Pinarayi Vijayan as an individual or the organisation of Left politics at large. Referring to a recent media discussion about the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency election, Pinarayi said the media outlet largely spoke about only two of the contestants – of the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party. “Only in the end, in a single line, did they make a courtesy mention of the LDF candidate. Isn’t Pannyan Raveendran (LDF candidate for Thiruvananthapuram) a tall leader? Is he being rejected because of the media’s animosity towards Pinarayi? When the media takes such an attitude, it is them who have to be self-critical,” he alleged.

Pinarayi, who has headed the state organisation of the CPI(M) for 16 years as its general secretary, was known for his sharp tongue and open criticism in speeches. He adopted a softer approach when he became the Chief Minister eight years ago, even garnering appreciation for his attitude towards the media. He held daily press conferences during the time of crises such as the Kerala floods of 2018 and 19, and the COVID-19 outbreak. However, there have been instances where he lost his cool as the CM, and one of these episodes – during which he angrily directed reporters who tried to enter a private meeting space to leave the venue – is still cited by his critics as an example of his arrogance. 

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