New Delhi: Seeking to quell criticism that there is no media interaction with the Prime Minister’s Office under the new National Democratic Alliance regime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reached out to the media at a BJP function to mark Diwali and New Year “as celebrated in Gujarat.”
The Prime Minister chose his pet subject, the Clean India Campaign, for his outreach to praise the media for highlighting the importance of the campaign, particularly the lack of sanitation, as this was hurting India’s image abroad and spreading disease in the country.
Striking a friendly note, Mr. Modi said he was “obliged” that journalists had turned their “pens into brooms” and were contributing collectively to a national cause, which in any case was not the job of the government alone.
“Clean India is a precursor to a healthy India. Lack of sanitation not only hurts India’s image abroad but also breeds diseases. More important than healthcare is preventive health,” he said. Much to the disappointment of those present, the Prime Minister did not take any questions from the invited galaxy of editors, owners of media houses and reporters but he did convey that he wanted to deepen and expand his earlier relationship with the media. “I remember laying chairs and waiting for you at the BJP headquarters here [as a party office-bearer],” he said amid laughter.
Much to the disappointment of those present, the Prime Minister did not take any questions from the invited galaxy of editors, owners of media houses and reporters but he did convey that he wanted to deepen and expand his earlier relationship with the media. “I remember laying chairs and waiting for you at the BJP headquarters here (as a party office-bearer),” he said amidst laughter.
Referring to ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign he said the government alone cannot do everything and he was grateful for the part played by the media in giving wide publicity to the campaign and contributing to the national cause as a everybody’s issue.“ Although 80 per cent of media coverage is critical of the government, this is an issue that impacts the country’s image and the poorest.’’
Sharing the dais with Mr. Modi were Party President Amit Shah senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Prakash Javadekar and party general secretary J.P. Nadda. Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Dharmendra Pradhan and Piyush Goyal were also present as were several party office bearers giving the media an opportunity to get to know the VVIPs over lunch that followed.
Earlier Mr. Shah said with the BJP in power at the centre the mood of despondency in the country is over and the government has delivered in its four months of governance.