When will the INDIA bloc gets its act together? Barely 48 hours after the bloc decided to ban 14 news anchors, the veteran and a stalwart in the INDIA bloc and Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar, while speaking about the matter said he was not against anyone and “those who are with us must have felt that something is happening.”
“I have no idea about this...I am in support of journalists. When everyone gets full freedom, journalists will write what they like. Are they controlled? Have I ever done it? They have rights, I am not against anyone. Right now those who are at the Centre have controlled a few people... Those who are with us must have felt that something is happening. However, I am not against anyone,” Kumar said while speaking to the media.
He added, “If journalists have full freedom, they will write what they like. Everyone has their rights.”
On Thursday, the Opposition bloc media committee had decided to boycott the TV news shows of several journalists. The list shared by leaders of the India bloc contains the names of 14 news anchors.
Congress leader KC Venugopal also backed the move to ban the shows of 14 TV anchors.
In order to make things slightly awry, After the INDIA bloc decided to boycott shows of 14 television news anchors, Aam Aadmi Party leader and minister Atishi said on Sunday that the party spokesperson has the freedom to choose the channel they want to go to.
Atishi said, “We are in support of the freedom of the media. But it is any party spokesperson’s freedom to choose the channel and the anchors in whose programme they want to go or not. We also have this freedom.”
BJP has strongly attacked the Opposition bloc over its decision.
Boycott of media and journalists is not new, it is just a rehearsal, as the Congress party had done the same thing in 1975, said Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday, addressing a media conference in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.
Going it alone in Rajasthan: On the other hand, the ruling Congress in poll-bound Rajasthan probably will not form a pre-poll alliance in the state polls. The Strategy Committee of the party for the Rajasthan Assembly elections is not in favour of any tie-up in the Assembly polls.
The committee will, however, send its suggestions on this matter to the Congress high command, although it will be the party leadership’s final call.
The chairman of the party’s Strategy Committee, Harish Chaudhary, said, “There is a consensus in the committee that the party organization has weakened in the assembly seats on which the party had allied last time. We believe that this time the party should not form any alliance in the assembly elections. Our government has done a good job in Rajasthan, so the party should move forward and contest the elections strongly based on the performance of the Gehlot government and the ideology and policies of the party.”
The chairman of the party’s Strategy Committee, Harish Chaudhary, said, “There is a consensus in the committee that the party organization has weakened in the assembly seats on which the party had allied last time. We believe that this time the party should not form any alliance in the assembly elections. Our government has done a good job in Rajasthan, so the party should move forward and contest the elections strongly based on the performance of the government and the ideology and policies of the party.”
Rumblings in West Bengal too: Even in late August, Congress leader Adhir Choudhury said, “There is no question of going soft on Trinamool Congress. The Congress-Left Front alliance in West Bengal has started becoming stronger in West Bengal with signs of revival of the minority vote bank becoming evident. But BJP does not want the re-emergence of this third force in the state. They are trying to cook up this story of Congress-Trinamool Congress friendship in West Bengal. I request the Congress leaders and workers not to get trapped in this ploy of BJP.”
Meanwhile, perceiving that an amicable seat-sharing formula with Congress would not be possible in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has decided to send feelers to the grand-old party to choose between it and the CPI(M)-led Left Front as a partner for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, party insiders said recently.
According to them, the top TMC leadership is upset with the Bengal Congress unit targeting its TMC’s national general secretary and the party Lok Sabha member Abhishek Banerjee, despite the national leadership of the country’s oldest national party being soft about him.
“Despite the constituents of the opposition INDIA alliance, including Congress leader C Venugopal, expressing solidarity with Abhishek Banerjee who was unable to attend the first meeting of the coordination committee on September 13 as he was summoned by Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning, the state Congress leaders here have continued their salvos, especially targeting him equally like CPI(M) leaders,” said a senior party leader and a member of the state cabinet on strict condition of anonymity.
Hum taiyyar hain….:Claiming the ruling BJP at the Centre was planning to bring forward Lok Sabha elections, Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar on Monday said, “Humlog har samay taiyyar hai (We are always ready)”.
The JD (U) leader, who had snapped ties with BJP a year ago and has played an instrumental role in bringing various Opposition parties together in forming the INDIA bloc, also asserted that the multi-party alliance was ‘intact’, dispelling apprehensions of internal rift.
“I have been saying that the NDA government at the Centre is planning to hold early Lok Sabha polls. Humlog Har Samai Tayyar Hai (We are always ready) ... Let them hold it early,” Nitish Kumar told reporters here. The Chief Minister made the remark here in reply to questions from journalists who sought his views on the possibility of advancing Lok Sabha polls by the Center.
Kumar, who has maintained that the media was shackled under the current dispensation, also said that a change in regime would herald ‘mukti’ (liberation) for the journalist fraternity.
“Let the government at the Center change, you (Journalists) people will get ‘mukti’. Right now the media is being controlled by the government at the Centre. I am in support of journalists. When everyone gets full freedom, journalists will write what they like,” he said.
(The writer is a senior journalist and former associate editor of O Heraldo)