The much-delayed law to protect journalists from physical attacks may or may not be a reality. While the Congress insists it will be, the party's representative and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is doubtful about it being approved.
Chavan told journalists, who led a morcha to Mantralaya on Monday, to demand a law to protect them in view of senior crime editor J Dey's killing on Saturday, that he would put the bill draft before the cabinet on Wednesday but was not sure whether his council of ministers and the state legislature would approve it.
"There is a difference of opinion in the cabinet (all-party ministers) on the bill, and even if the cabinet clears it, I cannot assure you that the legislature will approve it," Chavan told a delegation of journalists.
Chavan did not accept the agitated journalists' demand to hand over the probe of Dey's killing to the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) because he felt the city police were doing a good job.
He also rejected the demand to sack home minister RR Patil and refused to transfer the police chief Arup Patnaik.
Immediately after the CM's interaction with the media, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre told a press conference that the party had told the CM to legislate the law as soon as possible. "We condemned Dey's killing when we met the CM on Monday morning, and asked him to make a law to protect working journalists."
When told about the CM's apprehensions and the divided cabinet, Thakre said he would not hesitate to direct the party ministers to support the law. "We can convince our own ministers and also talk it out with the alliance partners (the Nationalist Congress Party)," Thakre said.