Patna,(BiharTimes): Ever since Tuesday a section of media has been busy highlighting the reactions of chief minister Nitish Kumar and other Janata Dal (United) leaders on what noted columnist, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, said at a lecture organized by Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI).
On Wednesday most of the newspapers of Bihar carried reports on what Nitish once again said about the special category status for Bihar. At the end of the news report some of the newspapers made a brief mention of what Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar said on that occasion. Strangely, almost the entire print media, including the Times of India, for which he writes Swaminomics column every Sunday, either underplayed it or totally blacked out what he actually spoke. The only newspaper which carried the detailed report was Hindustan Times.
The main thrust of his speech was that Bihar does not need a special category status as like other BIMARU states it too has made good progress. To buttress his points the economic journalist highlighted some data and figures.
His talk upset the apple cart as the organizer, ADRI and the state government, were expecting him to back the state government’s view on the issue. They thought that like during the January 2010 visit to Patna Swaminathan would be lavishing praise on the state government. True, he was not critical of the Nitish Kumar government even now, but he just opposed the special category status demand.
That was enough. First Shaibal Gupta and P P Ghosh of ADRI openly expressed their displeasure to be followed by the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, who strongly rebutted the argument put forward by the chief guest.
The chief minister took his time to explain his position. But a large section of audience were taken aback by the tone and tenor as they were there to listen to Swaminathan’s lecture and not others’ view as their points are well-known.
“It was essentially Swaminathan’s lecture organized by ADRI and the state government and not an open debate on the special category status. The whole function ended in a very bad taste,” commented a political observer, who was very much present in Swaminathan’s lecture.
As if that was not enough. Ever since Swaminathan left the media, barring some regional channels, got busy in highlighting the views of various Janata Dal (United) leaders and part-time intellectuals to state that Bihar needs special category status. A sort of campaign has started against Swaminathan.
But since the print media had not actually highlighted as to what the guest from Delhi actually sid on the occasion many of the readers are confused as to why everyone is targeting him. After all Swaminathan was praised to the sky when he had in Jan 2010 appreciated Nitish for the good work done in Bihar and double digit growth of state economy.What the Nitish-loyalists failed to understand then that Swaminathan had earlier in his columns (April 25, 2007) applauded Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi government for good growth rate of Bihar between 1992-2004. He has similar words of praise for Mayawati too in the past. Once he even wrote about high growth rate of Jharkhand, where actually no government ever completed its full tenure.
What, according to the leader of opposition, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, is intriguging is that why the print media failed to publish the version of Swaminathan. Instead they are busy carrying the same old hackneyed view of the state government.
This makes the role of media particularly print in the state questionable.