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   As in our times we used to complain that Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi... (January 19, 1990)

As in our times we used to complain that Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was appearing on Tv all the time, in the same way our children today are complaining that Prime Minister V.P. Singh is not appearing on TV at all.

The other evening, I was sitting with my sons, Darryl and Derek, watching The News. It began with an announcement of elections in eight states. Derryl looked up from his Thums Up and said: "Why can't they show Mr. V.P. Singh announcing the holding of the elections, after all, it is big news."

I said: "Because it is the privilege of the election commissioner to announce the eletions. Mr. Singh is not the kind of prime minister who would infringe on the eletion commissioner's right to be seen on the scree."

Next, there was a scene of Mr. Jagmohan being appointed governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Jagmohan was shown alternately smiling and frowing, and in an inset there was a photograph of President R. Venkataraman, "They should show Mr. V. P. Singh making him governor and telling him to do a good job." Derek said. "At least, they could have had the prime minister's picture in the inset instead of that of the President."

"They know what they are doing, the way the item has been presented is correct," I said.

"Mr. Singh never comes on TV. The way he is not projected on the screen, you would think he owns Doordarshan," Darryl said.

"Others also should get a chance to not appear on Doordarshan, not just Mr. Singh not appearing all the time," Derek said.

"I don't think it is fair to accuse Mr. Singh of not hogging TV," I said. "I am sure if we were to ask the ministry of information and broadcasting, they would produce records which would show that the prime minister does appear in TV off and on."

On the screen, they were showing violence in Azerbaijan. Darryl said: "If Doordarshan was really autonomous, this is when they would show Mr. Singh rushing off to Moscow with a planeload of journalists to offer the assistance of the Developing World, SAARC and the North-South Bloc to bring about an amicable settlement of the Soviet Union's difficulties.

"Now you are talking absolute nonsense," I said. "How can Doordarshan show all that when the prime minister is not dashing off to Moscow."

The news had reached the sports stage: the Indian cricket team was seen setting off for New Zealand. Derek said: "Instead of wasting so much film on Azharuddin and Bedi, they should have shown the prime minister being interviewed by a Doordarshan correspondent and wishing the team good luck."

"People would rather see cricketers than the prime minister," I said.

The news had ended and an attractive lady, dressed as if she was going to a wedding, was announcing the next programme - kab Tak Pukaroon.

Darryl said: "Not once do they cancel the feature programme to show Mr. V.P. Singh visiting villages, etc."

 
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