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Longest ever honeymoon for PM

 

New Delhi, Nov. 23, 2007 (ANI)
 
Dont get me wrong, this has nothing to do with Mrs. Gursharan Kaur. Its got to do with the Prime Minister and the media. The Indian media has had the longest ever live in relationship with a Prime Minister to date. Not even Rajivji got this long a date. Agreed that the media in the giddy eighties saw young Rajiv as the bright beacon dragging a kicking screaming lethargic nation into the new millennium but then the gun happened. Remember the 'B' word. It just undid everything else. Even the "hum jeetenge ya loosenge" or "naani yaad dila denge" seemed cute in front of the barrage that the Bofors gun let loose.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has had it pretty good so far. And yet according to sources close to him he feels hurt when the media attacks him. He should know better. We are like this only. Really Mr Prime Minister lets go over what has been written against you. Nothing. Does anybody talk about your personal life? Everything there is squeaky clean. No hint of a scandal. Why you even have done the politically right thing of having not one but three girl children. In fact you are so politically right there are moves to ask you to be a little left. You have no ambitious sons or daughters seeking to pick up your political or academic legacy. In fact not many even know what the first family looks like, so guarded are you or they.
 
Look what happens in the rest of the world. Poor Sarkozy and Putin had to shed their shirts to get something nice written about them in their media. None of us ever asked you for that. Bill Clinton had to lay bare his personal life. We don't ask you to that. Of course it wouldn't be colourful enough is another story. Think about the past Prime Ministers and what awful treatment they got at the hands of the free media in India. Poor Mrs Indira Gandhi had to clamp and Emergency. And the messiah of the middle class, V.P.Singh, as he was called before the election was dragged through gutter press once Mandal-Kamandal happened. Poor Weepie still can't muster decent press coverage. Naramsimha Rao with pout intact never hid the fact that he distrusted the media. Gujral. Gowda, Morarjee, Chandrashekar and Charan Singh were treated by the media as hiccups in Indian democratic history .
 
And the "right man in the wrong party" rarely met with the media once he became Prime Minister. He had his favourite editor friends who were granted exclusive meetings at the Diwaane Khas at 7 RCR. This ensured that hardly any criticism of Mr Vajpai made it to the pages of the newspapers. Media management reached its zenith under this able administrator.
 
But you don't even have to do that. Your media managers don't manage the media because they don't need to. You get good press simply because your image of being a completely incorruptible, totally unambitious and squeaky clean makes you dull copy. There isn't a whiff of sensationalism around you. If there is a one odd article against your stand on the nuclear deal then well, there is hardly anything personal in that is there?
 
Just that you have to take the fall for your apparent friendship with Mr Bush. Nobody can figure that one out. Amartya Sen being your friend. Yes OK understandable. But Dubya? Why is it that the only pictures of you smiling broadly and actually making voluntary physical contact is when you hands on his shoulders in Germany and when he had his hand on your collar in New Delhi?
 

The media in India has yet to come to terms with this "warmth and bonhomie” between the world's most highly educated head of government and a man whose academic skills are best left unspoken. And you said he was the best friend India could have in the US. Really? I am sure even poor Bush is fascinated with that comment. You see, not many even in America want to be called his friend. But back to the Prime Minister. He should take heart in the knowledge that the media has been treating him with kid gloves. They are just too trying to understand the fact that India is actually shining and the government doesn't even want to take credit for that!

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I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indias leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.
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