Power games: Sourav’s ouster scripted at Shah’s residence
The Press Council of India (PCI) last week censured Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for asking mediapersons to give publicity to his government if they want advertisement.
Sourav’s ouster scripted at Shah’s residence
It was at a midnight meeting on October 6 at Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s 6-A, Krishna Menon Marg official residence that the decision to deny a second term to Sourav Ganguly as BCCI president was taken. Sources said senior Shah was present in the meeting. His son Jay Shah is the secretary of the BCCI. But Amit Shah does not hold any position in any state cricket body or the BCCI. Ironically, while seeking denial of a second term for Sourav at that meeting, former BCCI president N Srinivasan cited some improprieties committed by him as the reason for his demand. Other luminaries of the BCCI present at the meeting wasted no time in endorsing Srinivasan’s demand. The other decisions taken at the meeting that night also had irony scurrying for cover. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s frontal attack on existence and promotion of dynasties in elected bodies, the top BCCI officials present at Shah the residence decided to give a second term to Jay Shah, besides finalising the name of Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur’s brother Arun Dhumal for the post of IPL chairman.
Gehlot rapped for ‘give publicity, get advt’ remark
The Press Council of India (PCI) last week censured Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for asking mediapersons to give publicity to his government if they want advertisement. At a press conference on December 16, 2019, Gehlot had said “Agar vigyapan chahte ho to hamari khabar dikhao.” Though the remark was made in a lighter vein, the PCI took a suo moto cognisance and issued notice to the state chief secretary asking him to explain the chief minister’s remarks. The PCI said that “such a statement is contrary to the values of democracy and affects the reliability and freedom of the media.” The matter was brought to the notice of PCI by a representative of Rajasthan newspaper Rashtradoot. The PCI inquiry committee (IC) that went into the complaint felt that the use of advertisements to arm-twist media is a larger malaise and Gehlot was not the only chief minister or a minister to use this stick to influence the flow of news. The committee said Gehlot voiced it, while others were more discreet. It noted that every second complaint in PCI is related to the issue of governments and their departments refusing advertisements to media outlets that do not toe the government line. The committee felt that the PCI needs to go deeper into the issue to frame some guidelines or dos and don’ts.
Kharge to be next Cong chief with family backing
Congress voters are all set to elect a new party president on October 17. In spite of repeated disclaimers, the electioneering has left little doubt that Mallikarjun Kharge has had the backing of the Gandhi family, and consequently, of the state party units. Pradesh Congress Committee presidents have refused to even meet and greet Kharge’s opponent Shashi Tharoor during his visit. While the party issued instructions to treat both the candidates equally, Tharoor’s complaint regarding lack of level playing field was not entirely incorrect. There are reports of some state Congress presidents personally assuring Kharge of support from all voters from their states. Even a chief minister has made a similar assurance to Kharge. The guidelines issued for elections asked party office-bearers to refrain from making any comment for or against any candidate. But there are numerous examples of office-bearers rooting for Kharge either by indirectly attacking Tharoor or by praising Kharge. Kharge also managed to rope in almost the entire top leadership of the party to sign his nomination papers. All this rallying of support in favour of Kharge has left little doubt in the minds of the electors as to who they are expected to vote. It would, therefore, not be wrong to say that Kharge is a Gandhi family proxy, who will be elected as Congress president tomorrow with the help of the family.
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