Manmohan Singh is not a 'weak prime minister', says PMO

Manmohan Singh is not a 'weak prime minister', says PMO

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday denied allegations that Manmohan Singh was not communicative and reticent about sharing his views, defending the Opposition’s charge that he was a “weak PM”.

It rather blamed media for not giving adequate coverage to the prime minister’s views on various issues.

The clarifications came from PM’s media adviser Pankaj Pachauri in the wake of two books—one by PM’s former media adviser Sanjay Baru and other by former coal secretary PC Parakh.

He lamented that the story of “unprecedented development” during the UPA government’s 10-year regime under the leadership of Singh also got buried, as over 1,600 press communiqué issued by Singh’s office did not get due coverage.

“It is not that the prime minister is not talking. The priority of media has changed over the years,” Pachauri said during an interaction with media here.

Singh has given a total of 1,198 speeches and the PMO issued more than 1,600 press releases. In last two years alone, the prime minister held 15 press conferences while on board to various foreign trips, his media adviser said.

Around 85 to 90 per cent of the PM’s speech are on issues like economy, development, agriculture, science and education. But, their coverage in news channels stood at 2.1 per cent and 4.5 per cent, a little higher, in the print media.
The Hindi media covered about 5 per cent of the total issues that the prime minister spoke on so far. “In last ten years, he (Singh) spoke almost every third day (mostly on development issues). But, priority of media remained different.” Pachauri said, clarifying that he was referring to prominent media houses only, not all the 400 news channels and 94,000 newspapers and magazines.

Twenty five per cent of total coverage in news channels have been on politics, 10 per cent on entertainment and another 10 per cent on sports, on which the prime minister has not talked too much, he underlined, referring to two separate studies by the PMO and the Centre for Media Studies.

Singh preferred to speak on political issues only on the floor of Parliament but he did not get adequate chance as the proceedings of both the House were disrupted continuously by the Opposition, Pachauri said.

Singh has so far addressed only four rallies—one each in Assam and Kochi and two in Uttar Pradesh.

In 2009, however, he had had a packed schedule because the demand for the prime minister as campaigner was next only to that for Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul.

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