OFF THE RECORD


Just lobbying is not enough

Within hours of the Congress-led UPA’s thumping win in the Lok Sabha polls and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s confirmation of Dr Manmohan Singh’s continuation as the Prime Minister for the second term, Singh’s former media advisor Sanjay Baru landed in the capital.

Formerly the editor of a leading business daily, Baru quit his job in the Prime Minister’s Office almost a year back to take up a teaching assignment in Singapore.
After the poll results, Baru believed to have lobbied very hard to get back his job in the PMO arguing that his teaching assignment is over and he is free to take up other responsibilities.

He even met Singh to plead for his case. But neither the PMO nor Congress party was convinced with Baru’s arguments. Some of the Congress leaders objected to Baru’s appointment for a second term because of the ways he ran the media office in the UPA government’s first tenure. Finally, the job of PM’s media advisor went to another veteran journalist Harish Khare.

Kalyan Ray, New Delhi

Poor chemistry with media

Ever since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked his ministerial colleagues to prepare agenda to be performed in 100 days, ministers are busy in a huddle with officials and preparing road maps.

To ensure that the agenda should get maximum publicity, the ministers always preferred to release it before media. But Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M K Azhagiri opted for sending a press statement containing his ministry priorities.

The minister, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, also preferred to keep off from media since he took charge. Even he did not bother to inform press on the day of taking charge.

As delayed monsoon and global economic crises has impacted on chemical and fertilizers companies, grapevine has it that Azhagiri is not ready to take any controversial questions from the media. More over, the DMK minister is said to be worried about his poor knowledge of both English and Hindi.

Though he has been learning both the languages now, it may need some more time to get fluency. When DMK proposed his name for the ministership, it was learnt that the PMO had worried about his language skill.

Ajith Atharady, New Delhi


In front of the cameras

The rush to appear at least once on TV channels often mar public functions and press conferences. There are many political functions turning into a turmoil with party activists rushing to get closer to their prominent leader during functions and press conferences.
Thankfully, the chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes Buta Singh’s press conference wasn’t affected much though elements stood right behind him when TV journalists set their cameras focused on him.

But when he started addressing the conference, people standing behind him began chatting with each other loudly. Finally, Buta Singh had to turn back and tell them to stop holding a ‘conference’ behind him when the press conference is going on.

The habitual talkatives preferred going out of the hall than remaining silent.

Manju Sainath, Bangalore

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