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New life for Nehru’s newspaper
Published on 4 Apr. 2010 11:37 PM IST
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Speculation is rife in Congress circles that the party is keen to re-launch the National Herald, a newspaper founded 70 years ago by India\’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Perhaps it has something to do with his great grandson?
The newspaper, which published its last editorial April 1, 2008, had announced it has “temporarily suspended” operations.
But rumours started doing the rounds after renovation at the building, located at Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, known as Delhi’s Fleet Street where omany other newspapers are also based, picked up pace.
The building now wears a brand new look. There are whispers that perhaps Congress general secetary Rahul Gandhi is planning to revive the newspaper that his great grandfather started Sep 9, 1938.
‘Mere paas Didi hai!’
He is known to be confident and articulate and unlike many other junior ministers, Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi never complains of lack of work or stepmotherly treatment from his senior.
While casually interacting with journalists on several issues, he was asked the secret of his confidence. Pat came the reply: “Mere paas Didi hai” - a reference to party’s paramount leader Mamata Banerjee.
If sources are to be believed, Trivedi uses this phrase often in the ministry - sometimes to make his officers smile and at other times to keep at bay any threat from big UPA brother Congress.
His line, of course, is a spin off on the famous Bollywood dialogue: “Mera paas ma hai”!
SP fortunes ebb on web
There was a time when the Samajwadi Party website had its glorious faces in Amar Singh and Jaya Prada, but with their exit, the party is suddenly floundering in cyberspace.
Besides the two, the website used to carry the pictures of few other party leaders. It also had a link to Amar Singh’s blog. But two months after it put down the website “for maintenance” - curiously coinciding with the expulsion of the two - the party has not been able to put its act together on the internet.
Amar Singh, meanwhile, continues to go strong on his blog, commenting on issues ranging from endangered tigers, the Batla House encounter to Amitabh Bachchan and the Congress.
India, China and meddling media
This was one issue on which India and China made common cause - a meddlesome media. As the Asian giants marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their ties April 1, they united in slamming the media for what they called its tendentious reporting of bilateral issues.
Sharing the podium at a seminar at Sapru House, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan warned against shrill media commentaries that could potentially cloud bilateral ties.
“Neither India nor China can afford misperceptions or distortions of policy caused by a lack of understanding of each other’s compulsions and policy processes,” said Menon.
The Chinese envoy was on the same page.
“Public opinion is vitally important to the development of our relations. Two countries should provide correct guidance to the public opinion and avoid a war of words,” he said.
Blacking out Africa
African ambassadors in the Indian capital too are upset with the Indian media, this time for underreporting.
“I have been in India for over four years, but I have not seen a single front-page report on Africa,” rued the ambassador of an important African country.
Complained another envoy: “My prime minister visited India recently. I didn’t find a single line in a dozen newspapers my office subscribes to.” The Indian media’s neglect of Africa stands out in sharp contrast to the Western media that reports African developments regularly, albeit from their own perspective. “You guys are obsessed with just three-four countries,” an envoy from an African country cribbed to a journalist at a party. No prizes for guessing which countries he was referring to!
Tongue lashing from Congress senior
It was time for a senior to rebuke the juniors. Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi lost his temper when he saw Youth Congress leaders from Kerala briefing the media. “What are you doing here?” he asked them publicly.
Dwivedi, who is also chairman of the AICC media cell, asked them not to speak about party matters to the media. Among those at the receiving end were organisation president M. Liju, handpicked by another party general secretary, Rahul Gandhi.
The Youth Congress leaders had met Dwivedi and other central leaders to raise the organisation’s demand that they be given more seats in the upcoming elections to local bodies in Kerala. Malayalam TV channels captured the visuals of Dwivedi’s tirade. Luckily for him, he did not use any objectionable word unlike another Congress leader in the recent past.
‘Double chin’ trouble
Jaya Bachchan is an angry woman, specially when pesky reporters question her about husband and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan or even about Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. But what angers her more is when camera angles don’t capture her in a flattering light! All this happened recently when she came to the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) to meet women journalists. A photojournalist was trying to take click her from a low angle.
And the actress-cum-politician snapped: “Don’t take my photograph from that angle. It shows my double chin.” The surprised photographer had no choice but to heed her demand.

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