How to win ANY argument: Lessons from the News

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“Blah Blah Blah Blah Calvin!”

So it’s been over a year now that I’ve been working at a news channel. And every day there’s a fresh controversy over a bizarre remark some politician has made. And every single day you have party spokespersons defending them, no matter what. So here are the 6 style of rebuttals that politicians use.


  1. The Classic Denial:

    Sr Congress Leader ND Tiwari with his not-so-illegitimate son Rohit Shekhar

When I say classic, I mean this is their go-to defense. This particularly happens when a politician is caught in a money/sex/drugs scam.

July 2012: Former Andhra Pradesh Governor, UP CM and a senior Congress Leader, ND Tiwari vehemently denied that he had illegitimately fathered a son. Not only did he deny it to no end, he also denied permission for a DNA test. But the courts forced him to submit to one. Finally, it was proved after a six-year battle that 31-year-old Rohit Shekhar was indeed Tiwari’s son. Perks to that revelation : Rohit Shekhar joined the BJP with his father’s support.


2. The Master Deflector:


This is the most common type of argument you’d see on TV debates today. Where one accusation is replied to with another accusation. Like sometimes I wonder, what is the point of having someone present their argument if all you do in response is a “What about the time you… “.

The most common one being

Congress: BJP is so communal, they were involved in the Babri Masjid demolition and Gujarat Riots.

BJP: Oho, what about 1984 Sikh Riots? Have you conveniently forgotten about it?

— OR —

Cong: There has been a spike in lynching cases since the BJP came to power.

BJP: What about the killing of several RSS workers in Kerala?

— OR —

BJP: The Congress is a scam-riddled party. They must be brought to justice.

Cong: What about the recent Medical college scam in Kerala where the BJP is accused of bribery?


3. Need for space:

Every day there is atleast one political making an outrageous, ignorant remark. He/she is like that errant child you always get called to PTA meetings to defend. But defend, they must. When all other kinds of defenses fail, this is what it must come to.


January 2017: BJP Leader Vinay Katiyar said he didn’t think Priyanka was a ‘star campaigner’ for the upcoming UP polls because “there are other campaigners who are far more beautiful than her.” Party spokespersons said this was his personal view and could not be called the collective view of the BJP.


4. The Interpreter of Maladies:

06_08_2016-sharadyadav6JDU MP Sharad Yadav, used the privileged quarters of the Parliament to share this gem: “The honour of being able to cast a vote is a much bigger honour than your daughter’s honour.”

He went on to “clarify” that he had been misinterpreted and meant to say  “if a daughter’s honour is violated, her neighbourhood and her village lose their honour, but if a vote is sold, it is the country’s honour that goes.”

But why give a clarification that’s worse than your original statement? Just cozzz.

5. Go on the attack:

When you can’t convince, attack. When the Ghatkopar building collapsed in Mumbai on 25 July 2017 killing 17 people, it was revealed that construction work on the ground floor in a Shiv Sena member’s clinic caused the collapse. When the media held the Shiv Sena accountable, Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant lashed out at the media – asking if the media had nothing else to do and why the media was attacking the Shiv Sena.


6. The Conspiracy Theory:

The crown jewel of every political arguments. “Allegations are false, it’s a political vendetta against me”.

The Big Lalu-Nitish Break-up

July 2017: It was these words from RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav that preceeded the fall of the RJD-JDU-Congress govt in Bihar. Lalu and his family members were accused of large-scale corruption. Nitish asked Lalu for an explanation. Lalu kept claiming it was all a conspiracy. Nitish got tired of waiting (or saw an opportunity out). He ditched Lalu and joined hands with former nemesis the BJP and rebuilt a new govt in Bihar.





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