Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s experience of a hostile media in the past has made him adopt a strategy of speaking to people directly ignoring the media, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.
After the Godhra train tragedy, a leading newspaper published an interview with Modi, who was then Gujarat CM, in which he was quoted as saying that every action has a reaction and therefore the the violence was justified as reaction. However, Jaitley said the interview did not take place.
“It was that interview which became the launching pad for the adverse campaign against him. His appeal for peace and other statements were not published... The hostile mood in the media made him to speak to the people directly. That strategy is still unchanged,” Jaitley said. The minister was speaking at a function on Friday evening to release two books on the PM — Narendra Modi, the Game Changer by Sudesh Verma and Being Modi by Paavani Sinha and Nikita Parmar.
Both Jaitley and his cabinet colleague Prakash Javadekar, who was also present at the function, rubbished the rumours that the PM was centralising power. “Unlike what many people think, there is a lot of decentralised authority coupled with a large amount of accountability in the current government,” Jaitley said.
Both Jaitley and Javadekar explained how all the ministers in the government have to work hard. “He is a real tough taskmaster... None of us leave files on the table,” Javadekar said.
Narrating his conversation with a Gujarat minister on the day of swearing in, Jaitley said: “He told me this PM does not sleep and does not let anyone else sleep (na sota hai, na sone deta hai). He said they had to go through it so far and now it would be our turn.”