By Abdul Bari Masoud,
New Delhi: Veteran journalist and activist Kuldip Nayar has denied on Sunday that he extended any support to BJP candidate Arun Jaitly from Amritsar and campaigning for him. Blaming it on a private news channel for attributing his name with Arun Jaitly, Nayar said he went to Amristar on a private visit where one channel reporter asked about Jaitly and he only said that he is well- read person but the remark was used as a support for him.
Concerned with the certain comments being made in social media criticizing Kuldip Nayar’s visit to Amritsar stating that he is campaigning for Arun Jaitly, members of Citizens for Democracy N.D.Pancholi and Anil Sinha met Nayar at his residence on Sunday evening. Nayar told them that his visit to Amritsar was a private affair for about a day i.e. he went to Amritsar on 17th and returned on 18th April. He did meet Arun Jaitly but he neither addressed any public meeting nor met the press nor made any public appeal.
However, Nayar said Barkha Dutt of NDTV met him in the hotel room where he was staying and requested for his bite. She asked questions about BJP, Modi and Arun Jaitly. Pancholi said “Nayar commented that BJP is a communal and divisive party and it would not be good for the country if BJP comes to power. About Jaitly he said that ‘he has a good reputation, he is well read, he is best candidate, that he was with him imprisoned in Tihar jail during emergency and that he is a family member”.
About Narendra Modi, he commented that” Modi is a collateral damage and some other unpalatable remarks”. However the part of the interview where Nayar dubbed BJP as communal and divisive party and not good to assume power and the other unpalatable remarks was not telecast for reasons best known to the NDTV.
Barkha Dutt in her introductory comments said that there were persons who were backing Arun Jaitly without backing the party and mentioned Nayar as one of those persons who was in town to support Jaitly.
Such comments were introduced later on while preparing the 59 minutes report telecast on 18th April,2014 captioned as “The Amritsar Paradox” in which Nayar’s bite was only for 24 seconds, and it seems to have created an impression that Mr.Nayar was there in the town campaigning for Arun Jaitly.
Pancholi and Sinha said that in their knowledge not a single print media paper or any other channel except NDTV has referred to Kuldip Nayar’s visit to Amritsar which in fact was private visit. They said Nayar’s views about BJP and Narendra Modi are well known which continuously find expression in his writings, though he does entertain affectionate feelings towards Arun Jaitly for the last about 40 years.
They deplored certain comments being made against Nayar in social media about his visit to Amritsar which are distorted, uncalled for, unwarranted and injustice to a person who has all throughout his life been fighting against communal and obscurantist forces.