Bhubaneswar, Jan 21:
Eminent journalist and editor in chief of the Sunday Guardian MJ Akbar on Tuesday said the Aam Admi Party (AAP) had ‘imploded’ sooner than he had expected.
“As a semi-anarchist myself, I always knew they would not last very long. But I had never imagined they would implode so soon,” Akbar said.
He was speaking on the topic ‘Role of personalities and ideologies in shaping politics’ at the fourth edition of ‘Foresight’, the annual conclave organised by Odisha Television (OTV) at the Mayfair convention Hall here today.
“Hypocrisy was more dangerous than corruption. The holier-than-thou attitude that has been in evidence is not good for democracy,” Akbar said before launching into a scathing attack on the AAP for the way it has made a mockery of governance in Delhi by taking to the streets.
In an endorsement of sorts of Narendra Modi, the author of such acclaimed works like ‘The Siege Within’ and ‘Behind the Veil’ said the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate was right when he said that the Constitution should be the only religion that should matter in the country. Secularism and modernity should be the cornerstones of democracy in India, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation Dr Sam Pitroda stressed the importance of the democratisation of information.
“The voices of the vast majority of people in the country are just not heard in the media. This must change. Media is not about one way communication. It has to bring about suitable changes in content and technology to reach out to the masses,” said the former chairman of the National Knowledge Commission.
The media is going to be customised in the days to come as convergence is here to stay, Pitroda said.
Speaking on the subject “Interminable wait for mega projects in India: Road map for unblocking bottlenecks,” Union Minister for Heavy Industries Praful Patel launched into a scathing attack on the environment lobby for holding up growth and development.
India had fallen far behind the target in coal production because there is no means to transport the extracted coal from the pit heads to its destination. “A proposal to build a 1000-km rail line has not taken off because the MoEF has raised certain objections to it,” he said.
Citing the case of Odisha, the Union Minister said the state had enough coal to last 100 years. “What is the point in having this coal if it cannot be utilised to boost power production in the country now?” he asked. “In another 30-40 years, coal will become redundant as the raw material for generating power and alternative sources will be found. All the coal buried under the ground would then become useless,” he said.
He was speaking on the topic; ‘Bridging the trust deficit between the disciples and spiritual leaders: Do we need a code of ethics for spiritual gurus’.
Asked if he thought the media in India has an inherent bias against spiritual leaders, Sri Sri said; “It certainly appears so.” When the Shankaracharya of Kanchi was arrested on murder charge a few years ago, there was 2, 500 hours of television coverage, but when he was released, there was no more than 30 minutes of coverage, he pointed out.
Former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi said compulsory voting would be disastrous proposition because it would violate the right not to vote, which is part of the fundamental right of expression.
Speaking on the topic “NOTA option on the EVM and its impact on the electorate,” Qureshi said the ‘none of the above’ or NOTA provision is a powerful tool that empowers the electorate.