CITING HIS ‘vilification’ in the aftermath of the 1984 gas tragedy and the recent stir over reservation to backward classes in higher educational institutes, Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh exhorted the media to introspect if it was reflecting true aspirations of the people.
“Had people been influenced by all that was being published about me (Arjun Singh was MP chief minister then) after the gas tragedy, Congress would have been wiped out in the Lok Sabha poll in 1984 and the subsequent Assembly elections.
But the Congress won by overwhelming majority in both the polls,” Arjun Singh remarked while addressing a felicitation function for journalists here on Thursday. “Likewise,” he added, “the cessation of uproar over the issue of reservation has vindicated Congress stand which always had the support of the party president and the Prime Minister”.
Consensus had emerged among political parties on the quota issue, he added. The HRD Minister indicated besides the two issues, his unfinished autobiography would incorporate his reminiscences on many more issues, which he thought were not properly understood by the media.
The function was organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru Youth Centre in memory of Prashant Kumar, a bright, young journalist who died four years ago in an accident at Hyderabad. Ten journalists were awarded in the function. Former chief minister Sundar Lal Patwa, who presided over the function, shared Arjun Singh’s viewpoints on the media.
He, however, deferred with his ‘close friend’ on the point that politicians should have cordial relations with the media. The octogenarian BJP leader reiterated his much-talked-about view during his chief ministership of in the early nineties that media should be always unsparing on the Government but desist from baseless character assassination.
Speaking as special guest Hindustan Times Resident Editor Askari H Zaidi called upon journalists to use the right to information as a weapon to expose omissions and commissions in Governments.
Congress MLA Ajay Singh was another special guest on the dais. Senior journalist Umesh Trivedi was honoured with special Raj Bhardwaj award. Noted photographer Prakash Hatvalane received special Kishor Umarekar award. Senior journalist Raj Bhardwaj and noted painter Umarekar died recently.
Eight journalists who were presented Prashant award included Vanita Shrivastava (Hindustan Times), Mrigendra Singh (Dainik Jagran), Vishwakarma Das (Dainik Nai Dunia), Deepak Tiwari (The Week), KS Shaini (Outlook), Deepti Chourasia Verma (Aaj Tak), Brijesh Rajput (STAR news) and Ganesh Sakalle (Dainik Bhaskar).
On behalf of Prashant Kumar’s friends, Rishi Pandey proposed the vote of thanks to guests. Jawahar Lal Nehru Youth centre president Dr Mahendra Singh Chouhan in his welcome speech shed light on objectives of the awards and on Prashant Kumar.