Posts Tagged ‘RSS’

BJP man’s suicide threat “live and in full colour”

12 February 2014

Long years ago, a TV studio participant in the United States pulled out a revolver and shot himself—”live and in full colour”, as a prominent American magazine headlined it.

Something similar has (nearly) occurred several continents away in Mysore.

S.A. Ramadas—a pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and a former medical education minister in the previous BJP government (who also served as chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa‘s political secretary)—has been outed by a widowed government clerk of promising to marry her and then abandoning him.

Reports Star of Mysore:

“Interestingly, even as Premakumari was speaking to journalists, her phone rang. Looking at the phone, she said, ‘See, he (Ramadas) is calling,’ and received the call and turned ‘on’ the speaker of her cell phone at the insistence of media persons.

“During the conversation, Ramdas said, ‘Chinnu, do not go to media, if you do not come back, I will commit suicide by consuming poison.’

“Soon, news channels started broadcasting the developments. As the news was beamed on many TV channels till late night, terribly depressed and upset Ramdas rushed to his guest house in Srirampura, went into a room, bolted the door from inside and tried to hang himself from a ceiling fan.”

For the record, the three-time former MLA is now reported to be stable.

On the other hand, a supporter of Ramadas is reported to have committed suicide on hearing the news of the alleged suicide attempt of his mentor.

Also read: The nurse, the married man and the minister

And the milk man is pure, positive and virtuous?

How media went overboard in Padmapriya case

RSS chief Bhagwat ‘notice’ to news TV channels

6 February 2013

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PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: The prickly republic has been pricked again.

Rajiv Tuli, a “citizen of Bharat” residing in west Delhi and a follower of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has sent off a “notice” to eight national TV news channels for broadcasting “potentially defamatory content” on the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat earlier this year.

After the Delhi gangrape victim’s death, Bhagwat had first been quoted as saying that rapes took place in India, not Bharat. Then, on January 6, he was quoted by TV stations as saying that marriage was sacrosanct; not a contract which could be revoked or severed at any time.

It is on the latter, during which Bhagwat was also reported to have said “Women should be housewives, men should be breadwinners,” that Tuli, a lawyer, has accused TV news channels of “false, erroneous and malicious reporting ” as a result of which his client had to face a “hellish” situation.

It is not known if newspapers which ran Bhagwat’s quote have heard from Shri Tuli.

The operative paragraphs of Tuli’s notice reads:

Your channel was conscious of the power and impact of the audio-visual medium and the phenomenal reach of their news channels, and to cause incalculable harm your channel has reported as if the Sangh pramukh has said “Women should be housewives, men should be breadwinners”, for Bharatiya marriage, which he never said as is evident from full speech delivered on 6 January 2013, at Indore.

“RSS respects every woman as equal to other and marriage as a sacrament and a permanent bond. You have mischievously twisted the facts and the news reports are not only distorted but are highly defamatory. This is a deliberate attempt to lower the image of the Swayamsevak in public.

“By virtue of this broadcast, you have not ensured impartiality and objectivity in reporting or neutrality. It has occurred to arouse passions to endanger the national security and tranquillity. The ethics and broadcasting standards have been violated by you and the reporting has been done unfairly to tarnish the image of the swayamsevaks and RSS….

“When you comment on a person’s views you ought to project it in the totality of the entire gamut of ideas presented by the speaker. On the contrary your conduct has been one of gross irresponsibility and misuse of the freedom of the press and you have let loose an attack on Mohanji Bhagwat who is held in high esteem by crores of Bharatiyas.

“You did it with the ulterior motive to tarnish the image of the RSS and crores of swayamsevaks in and out of Bharat.

“Your conduct is intentional, motivated, and with view to scandalise and malign the person and the organisation. You mischievously and maliciously, broadcast a false, distorted version of the speech and rushed to insensible conclusions and let loose through your channel reaching the general populace of the country and the world at large.

“You are fully aware that law laid down by the hon’ble Supreme Court is binding under Article 141 of the Constitution. In the case of S. Khushboo vs Kanniammal reported in AIR 2010 SC 3196 the Hon’ble Supreme Court reflected as under…

“It is therefore not only desirable but imperative that electronic and news media should also pay a positive role in presenting to general public as to what actually transpires during the course of hearing and it should not be published in such a manner so as to get unnecessary publicity of its own paper or news channel. Such a tendency should be stopped as without knowing the reference in context of which questions were put forth by the Court, the same were misquoted which raised unnecessary hue and cry.”

The notice contends that the news channels, without due care and attention, had caused “grave injury to the reputation of my client as also the reputation of all other swayamsevaks”.

“After the dissemination of your highly false, distorted and malicious news, my client had to face a “hellish” situation”. He was put to shame and embarrassment even at the hands of his friends and persons acquainted with him….

“Therefore, you are called upon to broadcast a sincere apology on your channel several times prominently, for such mischievous, scandalous and defamatory content… and further take action against the person(s) responsible for unfair, unethical broadcasting.”

In recent months, a number of politicians have taken legal sometimes against other politicians (Nitin Gadkari vs Digvijay singh, or Smriti Irani vs Sanjay Nirupam) but mostly against media (Salman Khurshid vs Aaj Tak, Mukesh Ambani vs everybody)

Also read: Mukesh Ambani ‘sues’ TV channels on Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal taunts Mukesh Ambani on TV ‘sue’ threat

‘Arun Shourie: a Hindu right-wing pamphleteer’

3 October 2011

There are few more polarising figures in Indian journalism than Arun Shourie.

For many of his professional peers, he is everything a journalist should not be: a wonky-eyed, hired gun of the Hindu right, selectively and deviously using facts to push its ideological and political agendas.

Arrogant, intolerant, abusive, dictatorial, .

For multitudes more, he is the proverbial Sancho Panza, tilting at the windmills of political correctness, shining light on the dark corners of Indian political and business life, with his exposes and editorials.

Saying it like it is, without fear or favour.

In his just released memoirs, Ink in my Veins, the veteran editor Surendra Nihal Singh, who was Shourie’s boss at the Indian Express, dismisses Shourie as a pamphleteer who thought “a newspaper was a stepping stone to politics and political office… and used journalism to achieve his political ambitions.”

***

By S. NIHAL SINGH

My experience with Arun Shourie was not happy.

To begin with, he had got used to doing pretty much what he wanted because S. Mulgaonkar [who Nihal Singh replaced as Express editor at his recommendation] had been ailing for long and usually made only a brief morning appearance to do an edit if he felt like it.

To have to work with a hands-on editor who oversaw the news and editorial sections was an irksome burden for Shourie.

Our objectives collided.

My efforts were directed to making the Express a better paper, while he was basically a pamphleteer who was ideologically close to the Hindu right. Even while he oversaw a string of reporters’ stories, which drew national attention (for which he claimed more credit that was his due), his aim was to spread the message.

Goenka himself could be swayed by Hindu ideology. In one instance, he sent me a draft editorial from Madras full of all the cliches of the Hindu right. One of Goenka’s men in the southern city was S. Gurumurthy, a sympathiser of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a pro-Hindu organisation.

The issue was the mass conversion of Harijans to Islam at Meenakshipuram (in Tamil Nadu) in June 1981. I put two and two together and it added up to Gurumurthy’s handiwork. I threw the editorial into the waste-paper basket. And I did not hear a word about it from Goenka.

Shourie exploited his proximity to Goenka to terrorise the reporters and subeditors. As executive editor, he was the No.2 man in the editorial hierarchy but often assumed the airs of a prima donna. His office being twice as large as the editor’s room and far better furnished always puzzled me.

Shourie believe that rules were made for others, and our clash began when he took umbrage over my cutting his extensive opinion piece to conform to the paper’s style. On one occasion, I had to spike a piece he had written on Indira Gandhi, in language unbecoming of any civilised newspaper.

In an underhand move, he quietly sent it to the magazine section, printed in Bombay, without inviting a censure from Goenka.

To a professional journalist, some of Shourie’s arguments sound decidedly odd. He declared, “When an editor stops a story, I go and give it to another newspaper. I am no karamchari [worker] of anybody’s. Whether I work in your organisation or not, I really look upon myself as a citizen or first as a human being, and then as a citizen, and as nothing else. If I happen to work for Facets [a journal in which his extensive piece appeared as its January-February 1983 issue], I will still behave the same way. If you use my happening to work for you as a device to shut my mouth, I’ll certainly shout, scream, and kick you in the shins.”

Shourie told the same journal that he had no compunction in mixing his editorial and managerial function ‘because the Indian Express is in an absolutely chaotic state. Ther is no management worth the name. Anyone wanting to help it must also help solve the management problems.’

To give him his due, Shourie had many good qualities. He was a hard worker and often did his homework before writing. However, we could never agree on the paper’s outlook because, for him, a newspaper was a stepping stone to politics and political office.

For me the integrity of a newspaper was worth fighting for.

Goenka swayed between these points of view. He used to tell me: ‘Not even five per cent readers look at the editorials.’ He called Frank Moraes, a distinguished former editor of the Indian Express, ‘my race horse’. Shourie he once described to me as a ‘two-horse tonga‘ (horse carriage).

Shourie later distinguished himself in the political field under the banner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); he even achieved the position of a cabinet minister. In effect, he successfully employed journalism to achieve his political ambition.

***

(Editor of The Statesman, The Indian Express and The Indian Post, Surendra Nihal Singh served in Singapore, Islamabad, Moscow, London, New York, Paris and Dubai. He received the International Editor of the Year award in 1978 for his role as editor of The Statesman during the Emergency)

(Excerpted from Ink in my Veins, A life in Journalism, by S. Nihal Singh, Hay House, 308 pages, price Rs 499)

Also read: Why Khushwant Singh fell out with Arun Shourie

The sad and pathetic decline of Arun Shourie

Arun Shourie: ‘Intolerant, abusive, dictatorial’

How Arun Shourie became Express editor

Arun Shourie: The three lessons of failure

26/11, the RSS, the Editor & the Rajya Sabha seat

14 February 2011

Last month, Aziz Burney, the influential editor of the Urdu daily Roznama Rashitriya Sahara, owned by Subroto Roy of the Sahara group, published a grovelling front-page apology for linking the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) with the 26 November 2008 siege of Bombay.

In a box titled “Aziz Burney ki taraf se safaai aur maafi)” (A clarification and apology from Burney), Burney wrote that he apologised if he had hurt anyone or any group while discussing events around 26/11. “I am an Indian and stand by my government on all international matters. I will never do anything to compromise its position in the rest of the world.”

In the preceding 27 months, in a series titled “26/11: Biggest attack in India’s history”, Burney had written over 100 editorials and articles in the Urdu paper and its Hindi counterpart, Rashtriya Sahara, offering an “alternative” view of the siege. That it was not the ISI or LeT that was behind the attack, but the RSS with covert support from Mossad and the CIA.

A compilation of the conspiracy theories was also packaged into a book titlted ’26/11: RSS ka shadyantra‘ (26/11: Cosnpiracy of the RSS), which was released by the Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, who is widely suspected to have the ear of Rahul Gandhi, in December 2010.

When asked by Seema Chisti of The Indian Express to explain his turnaround, Burney said last month:

“There is no turnaround, I have just been misinterpreted. I was only pointing to certain circumstantial evidence in the matter, which I would want investigating agencies to look at. I am a journalist, not an investigating agency. I agree with the Indian government’s view on this. All I am saying is consider the circumstantial evidence. It is as a true Muslim that I am happy to apologise if someone is hurt by the allegations.”

Now, the website New Age Islam reports that the there was more to the apology than just that.

Apparently, the RSS first took the editor to court for the defamatory allegations under articles 121, 108, 107, 117, 124 (A), 153 (A), 153 (B), 505 (2) and 506 of the Constittuion and the Maharashtra organised crime control act (MOCCA).

It also filed a complaint before the Press Council of India seeking the cancellation of the registration of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara.

Result: Burney’s attempt to gain entry into the upper house of Parliament got stuck.

“When this case was filed, Burney was trying an entry in Rajya Sabha through the President’s reserved quota. But there was a stay on his entry to Rajya Sabha because of this legal suit. Engrossed with problems all around Burney apologised on the front page of his paper…. Though Burney has apologized to the country and the RSS , the legal battle against him will continue as indicated by the RSS which has said that it has not accepted Burney’s apologies.”

New Age Islam writes further:

“Aziz Burney’s ‘defeat’ does not augur well for the Urdu media. It has vindicated the charge that Urdu media has a paranoid psyche and hallucinates the ghost of conspiracy in every affair and does not have faith in the government, the security agencies and the army. Indeed, even a casual reading of practically any Urdu newspaper creates the impression that Indian Muslims are in a state of jihad against their own country.

Rashtriya Sahara had ostensibly emerged as a strong voice of the minorities as it had seemingly carried extensive research and investigations into stories of the victims of terrorism, riots and social oppression of every kind. However, in its defence and praise of Hemant Karkare and his two colleagues who were killed during the Bombay attack, the daily went much beyond journalistic boundaries and, in the usual way the Urdu press functions, wrote something it could not back with solid evidence and proof, also without bothering if it was damaging national interest.”

Links via D.D. Gupta

Also read: India’s most important businessman meets Obama

Why (perhaps) BJP sent Chandan Mitra to the RS

RSS feed: New BJP chief spikes journalists

21 March 2010

Coomi Kapoor in the Indian Express on the journalists’ contingent in the new team of BJP office-bearers.

Also read: For the BJP, is the pen mightier than the trishul?

Who are the journalists running, ruining BJP?

L.K. Advani: PM maybe but not a very good sub

Don’t laugh: do journalists make good politicians?

‘The lone ranger of loony Hindutva’ versus…

How Chandan Mitra has his halwa and hogs it too

For the BJP, is the pen mightier than the trishul?

13 September 2009

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Four months after the “nasty jolt” in the 2009 general election (RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat‘s description), the BJP continues to be in a flap over the role of “friendly journalists” in its defeat—and after.

Twice the party’s resident intellectual “for all matters requiring an IQ of 60″, Arun Shourie has trained his guns at the “Gang of Six”, once at the party’s national executive meeting and then in his interview with Shekhar Gupta.

On top of that, the “accused” journalists have been at each other throats unabashedly.

Now, the BJP’s official party mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh, edited by Prabhat Jha, a former journalist, has weighed in on “‘friendly journalists’, who cannot remain ‘insider’ for too long”, adding that the access and respect the journalists enjoy with senior leaders of the party causes envy among party workers.

An editorial in the journal makes the following points, according to The Pioneer, the Delhi daily edited and owned by Chandan Mitra, a Rajya Sabha member nominated by the BJP:

“There are journalists who wish that BJP should run as per their whims. Any person — journalist included — has a right to offer advice and opinion but how can it be that a political party should follow, without exception, the diktats of some journalists. If that doesn’t happen, the political organisation turns bad in their considered opinion….

“A scenario in which journalists should turn a tool in the hands of an individual politician does not augur well for either of the two. Our effort should be to create a healthy balance in which neither the journalist is a weapon in the hands of a politician nor should the latter have to act as a shield for journalists….

“It is true that it is their duty to report but the questions remains: how, when and where. This is a matter that these wielders of the pen should ponder over. They have to ensure that in the process of the performance this onerous duty to present the ideology to the nation, mutual confidence, faith and respect does not fall a casualty.

“We do understand that journalism cannot be a synonym for bosom friendship between a journalist and a politician. Yet, we have to stand firm at our respective post of duty.”

Read the full article: BJP laments stab by ‘insider journalists’

Also read: Who are the journalists running, ruining BJP?

Don’t laugh: do journalists make good politicians?

The sad and pathetic decline of Arun Shourie

How come no one saw the worm turn?

How Chandan Mitra has his halwa and hogs it too

Advani: Prime minister maybe, but not a good sub

Sure, but would he like to receive them today?

19 August 2009

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Watching TV used to be simple in the age of terrestrial broadcasting. The advent of satellite, cable and dish have made viewing a more pleasurable experience, of course, but there are also some unintended consequences.

This afternoon, after news emerged that India’s principal opposition party, the BJP, had sacked its leading light Jaswant Singh against the backdrop of his controversial book on Mohammed Ali Jinnah, direct-to-home Tata Sky viewers watching his exceedingly gracious press conference had a red button with an option to “Send Flowers” popping up on their screens.

Also read: BJP defeat is a defeat of BJP brand of journalism

CHURUMURI POLL: Is the BJP in total disarray?

God’s Own Party kinda re-enters the 20th century

Don’t laugh: Do journos make good politicians?

23 June 2009

PRITAM SENGUPTA in New Delhi and SHARANYA KANVILKAR in Bombay write: The stunning defeat of the BJP in the general elections has been dissected so many times and by so many since May 16 that there is little that has been left unsaid.

What has been left unsaid is how the BJP’s defeat also marks the comeuppance of a certain breed of journalists who had chucked all pretence to non-partisanship and made it their mission to tom-tom the party, in print and on air, for a decade and more.

The Congress and the Left parties have had more than their share of sympathetic “left-liberal” journalists, of course. And for longer. But most were closet supporters unwilling to cross the divide from journalism into politics, or unwilling to be seen to be doing so.

However, the rise of the “muscular” BJP saw the birth of a “muscular” breed of journalists who unabashedly batted for the party’s politics and policies—without revealing their allegiance while enjoying its fruits “lavishly“—in a manner that would have embarrassed even the official spokesmen of the “Hindu nationalist party”.

Little wonder, Arun Shourie, the granddad of journalists turned BJP politicians, alleged at the party’s national executive meeting that “the BJP was being run by six journalists.” There are different versions doing the rounds on who the “Gang of Six” were, but some names are no longer in the realm of speculation.

# Sudheendra Kulkarni an assistant editor at The Sunday Observer and executive editor at Blitz, rose to be a key aide to both prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and prime minister-in-waiting L.K. Advani, even drafting the latter’s controversial Jinnah speech.

# Chandan Mitra, an assistant editor at The Times of India, editor of The Sunday Observer, and executive editor of Hindustan Times, found himself “mysteriously becoming the proprietor of The Pioneer, without spending a rupee thanks to the generosity of the BJP and more particularly that of L.K. Advani“.

# Swapan Dasgupta, the scion of Calcutta Chemicals (which makes Margo soap), rose to be managing editor of the weekly newsmagazine India Today, before emerging the unofficial media pointsman of sorts for Arun Jaitley and through him for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

# Balbir K. Punj, the sugar correspondent of The Financial Express, who churned out masterly theses on conversions and other sundry diversions for Outlook magazine, was nominated to the upper house of Parliament by the BJP like Mitra.

# And then there’s a motley crew of fulltimers and freelancers, including India Today editor Prabhu Chawla, Pioneer associate editor Kanchan Gupta, who did a spell in Vajpayee’s PMO, and weighty political correspondents and editors of The Times of India, The Economic Times and Dainik Jagran.

“Journo Sena” was what the tribe came to be called, an allusion to the “Vanara Sena” (army of monkeys) that helped Lord Rama fight the armies of Ravana in Ramayana.

However, in the unravelling political epic, the “Journo Sena” stands trapped in the crossfire of a party struggling to come to grips with a gigantic electoral loss, firing wildly at each other—or are being fired at by the big guns.

***

First, Sudheendra Kulkarni’s “candid insider account” in Tehelka, a magazine whose website was hounded out of business by the Vajpayee government, came in for searing criticism from Anil Chawla, a classmate of his at IIT Bombay, for blaming the RSS for the BJP’s plight.

“The patient is being blamed for all that has gone wrong, without in any way blaming either the virus or the team of doctors who have brought the patient to the present critical state,” he wrote in a widely circulated “open letter”.

Kanchan Gupta, who many believe was eased out of Vajpayee’s PMO by Kulkarni, took a potshot at his erstwhile colleague.

“Kulkarni who undid the BJP’s election campaign in 2004 with the ‘India Shining’ slogan and fashioned the 2009 campaign which has taken the BJP to a low of barely-above-100 mark has written an article for Tehelka, the magazine which tarred the NDA government, causing it irreparable damage, and is now the favourite perch of those who inhabit the BJP’s inner courtyard, blaming all and sundry except those who are to blame,” Gupta wrote on rediff.com.

In a rejoinder in Tehelka, Swapan Dasgupta welcomed Sudheendra Kulkarni’s mea culpa calling it “a welcome addition to the ever-growing literature on the BJP’s 2009 election experience,” but couldn’t resist himself from sticking the knife in.

“Kulkarni has provided some interesting insights but has also cluttered the picture with red herrings. This isn’t surprising.

There are many in the BJP who insist that the problem with Advani was Kulkarni“.

When former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha resigned from party posts, ostensibly miffed at the elevation of Arun Jaitley as leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha despite leading the party to defeat, Dasgupta rushed to Jaitley’s defence, wondering how the resignation letter had made its way to NDTV.

“TV editors I have spoken to have indicated that there were two parallel points of leak. The first was through an associate of Pramod Mahajan (who hates Jaitley) and the other was was the unlikely figure of a cerebral Rajya Sabha MP.

“I gather that the follow-up was done by a disagreeable journalist (one who signed the 20-points during the Emergency) whose nomination to the Rajya Sabha has been blocked by Jaitley on two separate occasions,” he wrote on his blog.

At the BJP’s national executive meeting, the “cerebral Rajya Sabha MP” Arun ShourieMagsaysay Award-winning former investigative journalist and author who became a minister in the Vajpayee government—”blamed six unnamed journalists who, he said, were responsible for articles damaging the [BJP] party interest.”

Whether the journalists were all members of the BJP or merely sympathetic to it, Shourie didn’t make clear.

In drawing attention to the journalists in specific, the former journalist may only have been indulging in the nation’s favourite sport of shooting the messenger but he was also underlining the role his compatriots were playing in the BJP’s affairs.

In his column in the media magazine Impact, Sandeep Bamzai writes:

“Arun Jaitley and his band of journalists-turned-politicocs misread the ground realities and the tea leaves completely. Buoyed by several wins in key States, this core team thought that the mood in the States would be mirrored at the Centre when the general hustings came along.

“Price spikes, terror threats and fulminations against a decent PM Manmohan Singh were the new imperatives crafted by Jaitley and his journo boys.

“The entire strategy fell flat on its face and all the journos who hogged prime time on new telly in the run up to the elections turned into disillusioned critics immediately after the results.”

In the India Today cover story on the BJP’s travails, Swapan Dasgupta’s former boss, Prabhu Chawla, seen to be close to incumbent BJP president Rajnath Singh, found fault with Singh’s bete noire Arun Jaitley for being spotted at Lord’s, applauding a boundary by Kevin Pietersen during the India-England Twenty20 match:

“Jaitley, a hardcore cricket buff, was in London with his family on holiday while his party back home was imploding, just like the Indian team.”

On a yahoogroup called “Hindu Thought”, the former Century Mills public relations officer turned columnist Arvind Lavakare, attacked Swapan Dasgupta, presumably for urging the BJP to junk the “ugly Hindu” image engendered by its commitment to Hindutva.

“After quitting a salaried job in a reputed English magazine a few years ago, Swapan’s livelihood may well be depending on his writings being published in a wide range of prosperous English newspapers which are anti-Hindu and therefore anti-BJP. If that is indeed so, Swapan simply cannot afford to project and push the Hindu line beyond the Laxman rekha. Poor dear,” wrote Lavakare.

The comment would perhaps have gone unnoticed, but Dasgupta gave it some oxygen by responding in kind in a post-script on his blog:

“I have no intention of affirming my credentials. To do so would be to dignify Lavakare’s personal attacks as a substitute for an informed debate on ideas.

“I merely hope that the attacks on where I write, who went to college with me and who are my friends are not in any way an expression of envy. It is a matter of satisfaction for me that I get a platform in the mass media (cutting across editorial positions).

“Engaging with the wider world is daunting but much more meaningful than gloating inside a sectarian ghetto. I strong recommend Lavakare also tries earning a livelihood out of writing for “a range of prosperous English newspapers”. It could be a humbling experience.”

Among the few journalists to have spotted the travails of the “Journo Sena”, or at least among the few to have had the courage of conviction to put it on paper, is Faraz Ahmed.

He writes in The Tribune, Chandigarh:

“When the BJP lost power in 2004, all the branded BJP editors—Kanchan, Swapan, A. Surya Prakash and Udayan Namboodri—were pensioned off to Chandan Mitra’s Pioneer. Today, however, each one of them is finding fault with Advani, the BJP and some even with the Sangh.

“These are ominous signs of the demise of a political party and reminds one of the slow and painful death of Janata Dal in the early ’90s when the ‘Dalam’ was dying and BJP was on the upswing and everyone was joining it or identifying with it because that was the most happening party.

“To be fair to these people who naturally represent the rising middle class, they waited patiently for five years in a hope that the UPA government would be a one-election wonder and would die a natural death in the next round. So much for their political understanding.”

Obviously, everybody loves a winning horse and doubtless the antics of the “Journo Sena” would have made for more pleasant viewing had the election verdict been the other way round.

Still, their antics in the aftermath of defeat raise some fundamental questions about their grand-standing in the run-up to the elections: Are all-seeing, all-knowing journalists cut out for politics? Do they have the thick skin, large stamina, and the diplomatic skills required for the rough and tumble?

From the embarrassment they have caused and are causing to their party of choice, it is clear that there is an element of truth to BJP president Rajnath Singh’s statement that he can “neither swallow nor spew out” the journalists.

Then again, L.K. Advani started his career as a journalist.

Also read: How come no one saw the worm turn?

The sad and pathetic decline of Arun Shourie

How Chandan Mitra has his halwa and hogs it too

Advani: Prime minister maybe, but not a good sub

Prime Minister, maybe, but not a very good sub

29 April 2009

Indian prime minister hopeful, L.K. Advani, prides himself as a former journalist, having worked at the journal Organiser, published by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), where for seven years he wrote film reviews.

Former Mid-Day editor Aakar Patel uses Advani’s memoirs My country, My life to assess the man credited with the “when-asked-to-bend, the-Indian-media-crawled” quote during the Emergency years.

“His writing is lazy and he leans on clichés and stock phrases. He describes a criminal as “dreaded gangster”. He uses too many adjectives and likes hyperbole. He calls Indira Gandhi’s Emergency the “darkest period in Indian history”, but then reports its years wrong in three places (pages 259, 266 and 270).

“I edited newspapers for 10 years and I can place Advani as a journalist immediately. He would not have risen beyond middle rank.”

Read the full article: Advani the party man

Also read: A lifetime achievement award for L.K. Advani?

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