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Pun Intended: Day After Being Caught on Wrong Foot, Newspapers Strike Creative Chord over Maha Drama

Given the previous day's political shocker, Sunday's front page headlines across the country played with words to describe the surprise element of the situation.


Updated:November 25, 2019, 7:31 AM IST
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Pun Intended: Day After Being Caught on Wrong Foot, Newspapers Strike Creative Chord over Maha Drama
Copies of local newspapers fronted with headlines on Maharashtra government formation, in Mumbai, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (Image: PTI Photo)

New Delhi Front-page headlines across the country on Sunday carried matter-of-fact tones as well as those of disbelief and sarcasm, a day after morning newspapers were caught on the wrong foot following an overnight change in the political developments in Maharashtra.

Newspapers on Saturday morning had carried headlines declaring Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray to be the next Maharashtra chief minister.

However, the political scenario in the state had already changed by the time the dailies arrived to people's doorsteps, with BJP's Devendra Fadnavis making a sudden come back as the chief minister.

Given the previous day's political shocker, Sunday's front page headlines across the country played with words to describe the surprise element of the situation.

While the headline of The Hindu used ample words to point out the coup in the NCP: "Fadnavis sworn in as CM after Ajit Pawar ditches uncle", the Indian Express wrote across the page: "While you were sleeping" emphasising the odd nature of the early morning developments.

Hindustan Times' story on the political twist ran with "Maharashtra drama continues: Fadnavis is CM, Ajit his deputy". English daily Times of India drew a comparison with the ongoing India-Bangladesh day-night test match in Kolkata. "The real Day-Night test is in Mumbai," the headline read.

Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna covered the event with harsh words that read: "Height of shameless politics, Ajit Pawar's revolt fizzles out".

A few newspapers including The Sunday Guardian, Mail Today, and The Pioneer mentioned the dispute in the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.

While The Sunday Guardian read: "Pawar outplays Pawar in Maha stunt", the Mail Today ran "Maha coup - the inside story" as the headline, and the New Sunday Express carried the story with "Confusion after coup".

"Pawar coup unsettles Sena," read the Pioneer's headline.

Vernacular dailies too grabbed the chance to run witty headlines.

Hindi dailies Dainik Bhaskar and Navodaya Times (NBT) played with the name 'Pawar'.

While Bhaskar's headline read "Pawarful Politics", Navoday Times carried "Pawar brake" on its front page.

Drawing comparison with a game of chess due to the surprising move by the BJP, Rajasthan Patrika's headline read: "Shah...maat...phir shanshay (Check...mate...then doubt)".

Hindi newspaper Sanmarg also compared the news to a game of chess while making a pun on the word 'Shah'.

"Sha(a)h aur maat (check and mate)," it read.

Bengali daily Anandbazar Patrika compared the surprise political move to India's retaliation across the Line of Control in 2016. The paper ran the story with "surgical strike" as its headline.

A number of newspapers focussed on the late-night nature of the political turnaround.

While Bengali daily Bartman carried the headline "BJP captures Maharashtra at midnight", Ganashakti ran with "Big forgery at midnight".

Tamil dailies Dinathanthi and Dinakaran also focussed on the midnight angle in their headlines.

"The nation was sleeping, a political earthquake happened, unexpected twist in Maharashtra, BJP forms govt," wrote Dinathanthi.

"(BJP) forms government in Maharashtra after splitting NCP at midnight," read Dinakaran's headline.

Malayalam daily Deshabhimani and Kerala Kaumudi carried the headlines "Midnight treachery" and "Strike at dark, sabotage", respectively.

Till Friday, political pundits as well as media houses remained focused on the then ongoing talks between Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena to form the government in the western state.

Some front page headlines also carried an initial disbelief after Fadnavis was sworn-in as the CM.

Telugu daily Sakshi and Andhra Jyothy carried: "Maha scene reverse" and "Maratha...Ulta-Pulta", respectively.

While the Hans India's story ran with "Maha midnight stunner", Hindi daily Hindustan carried a proverb depicting something that changes instantly.

"Maharashtra me pal me tola, pal me masha," it read.

As most newspapers remained in the ambit of being witty or even sarcastic, some went ahead and printed front pages with rather hard-hitting and unusual headlines.

"Chichen coop...government cackle at dawn after a midnight start," read Telugu daily Eenadu's headline.

Known for its blunt cum catchy headlines, The Telegraph carried "We, the idiots" as the headline, hinting at the beginning of the Preamble to the Indian Constitution with "We, the people".

Deccan Chronical and Asian Age, going a step forward, printed the Sunday paper with something readers don't expect to find in daily newspapers: "WTFadnavis".

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