Thursday, May 19, 2022

President’s Office pulls up India Today Group and Sardesai: Netaji portrait controversy

India Today Group, and its anchor-journalist Rajdeep Sardesai (by implication) was pulled up by the President of India’s office in a strongly worded letter today. 

It referred to the unsavoury controversy surrounding the unveiling of portrait of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at Rashtrapati Bhavan this week which was termed as “fake” by Sardesai, claiming that it belonged to an actor who played the part and not the original Bose himself. (The background could be read here). 

The Rashtrapati Bhavan rebuked India Today Group for ridiculing the high Constitutional Office which discredited their profession ethics. “You will agree that such irresponsible behaviour comprises the dignity of the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the letter said. 

The Rashtrapati Bhavan stated that this behaviour was not a momentary lapse of judgement or a forgivable slip of pen as most of these journalists associated with India Today group merely deleted their tweet and did not own up to their blunder.

The President’s office further stated that they are forced to review their engagement with the India Today Group.

In the letter, written by the Press Secretary of the President, Ajay Kumar Singh, on behalf of the Rashtrapati Bhavan,  said that the motives behind dragging the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the controversy by some of the journalists associated with the India Today group are not clear.

In a now-deleted tweet, Sardesai had said that the Rashtrapati Bhavan could have found a ‘nice original’ portrait for the occasion.

He later, instead of apologising for the needless controversy, had put the burden of clarification on the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

He had tweeted that the government ‘insists’ that the Netaji portrait is an original portrait and not from movie, thereby insinuating that he still believes the portrait was of Prosenjit and not of Netaji.

Some time later, he again tweeted Netaji’s photograph on which the artist Paresh Maity has made the portrait.


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