Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today released book of a controversial television reporter who had once tweeted that the news of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, contracting Swine Flu excited her.
While a politician is free to socialise and help anyone he deems fit for the job, what made the matter worse was the fact that the official Twitter handle of Ministry of Finance tweeted out this news:
— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) April 28, 2017
It should be noted that the book had got nothing to do with Finance. The book is titled “Behind Bars” that apparently chronicles stories about certain popular personalities who had to spend some time in jail in connection with various cases.
It is written by an NDTV reporter called Sunetra Choudhury, who had once tweeted this about Narendra Modi:
Narendra Modi has swine flu- i don’t know why but this news is really exciting me
— sunetra choudhury (@sunetrac) October 30, 2009
In 2009, India had witnessed a Swine Flu pandemic that left over a thousand people dead. Any instance of contracting of this disease was seen as a serious medical challenge back then. On October 30, 2009, the Gujarat Government announced that its then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who had just returned from an official trip to Russia, had tested positive for Swine Flu.
While it was a great cause of concern for BJP supporters and sensible people in general, Sunetra was feeling excited. The tweet was never deleted and she never apologised or explained what was so exciting about Narendra Modi getting a disease that was killing people.
With such a background, a senior BJP leader choosing to release book by such a person raised people’s eyebrows on social media. Not just a senior BJP leader, it was a case of a senior Cabinet Minister in Narendra Modi government using the government platform to promote a book by a person who virtually wished the current Prime Minister dead.
Sunetra Choudhary works as a field reporter cum anchor for NDTV, a struggling TV news channel that is under investigation by Jaitley’s own tax authorities on allegations of money laundering (a charge the channel vehemently denies).
There is even a book titled “NDTV Frauds” that talks about these irregularities by the news channel. That book was released by BJP leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy, who incidentally is no fan of Arun Jaitley.
Sunetra however, is not the only journalist or media person who had directly or indirectly wished Narendra Modi dead. Earlier a reporter with TV news channel Times Now had wished the same, but later deleted his tweet. Another author published by the news website The Quint had wished similar, which, for a change, led to his association with the news portal being cancelled.