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Media is my friend, says Shinde after remark triggers storm

Sushilkumar Shinde

In the soup over his remark about “crushing” the electronic media, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde went on the defensive, claiming he had referred to the social media
Sushilkumar Shinde

Solapur (Maha): In the soup over his remark about “crushing” the electronic media, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde went on the defensive, claiming he had referred to the social media and that “media is my friend”.

“Electronic media means social media. I have very good relations with the press in my last 40 years. How can I (make such comments)… Recorded speech is with me…Media is my friend,” he said here last night.

Shinde, who had stoked a controversy on Sunday evening by threatening to “crush” the electronic media, a section of which he alleged was engaging in “false propaganda”, said, “I was referring to social media and the violence incited against students from the northeast in Hyderabad and Karnataka. My comments were not about journalism.”

Shinde’s outburst came at a Youth Congress event.¬†who is a Lok Sabha MP from Solapur, alleged that since the last four months a section of the electronic media was “manipulating” news about him and his party.

“What is happening in the electronic media largely I am aware of it. In the last four months there have been efforts by the media to provoke us (Congress). We will crush such elements in the electronic media, which are indulging in false propaganda, if it does not stop,” he was shown as saying in footage aired by news channels today.

“I have the intelligence department under me. I know who is doing such things. I know what is happening. Some forces are behind this,” he added but did not elaborate.

Shinde’s remarks came against the backdrop of a series of opinion polls in the national and regional media which predicted a poor showing for the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls while forecasting a big win for BJP under Narendra
Modi.

Opposition BJP hit out at Shinde for his attack on the media, saying freedom of the press was integral to democracy.

“How can you talk like this. Freedom of the press is integral to democracy. We are very proud of India’s media and for him to say like that…look in your backyard, you are losing support day by day, because of corruption, misrule, rank malgovernance, insecurity…don’t blame media for that,” BJP spokesman and Rajya Sabha MP Ravishankar Prasad said

Shinde does a U-turn, says he was referring to social media

After threatening to “crush” the electronic media, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde did a U-turn, claiming he was referring to the social media and not journalists.

“I have recording of my speech. I was referring to social media and the violence incited against students from the Northeast in Hyderabad and Karnataka. My comments were not about journalism”, he said here last night.

Shinde had stoked a controversy on Sunday evening by threatening to “crush” the electronic media, alleging a section of it was unnecessarily provoking the Congress by indulging in “false propaganda” against it.

The outburst by Shinde, a Congress leader who hails from Maharashtra’s Sholapur district, came at a Youth Congress event.

Shinde, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Sholapur, alleged that since the last four months a section of the electronic media is “manipulating” news about him and his party.

The video footage of his remarks along with his clarification were aired by news channels today.

“What is happening in the electronic media largely I am aware of it. In the last four months there have been efforts by the media to provoke us (Congress). We will crush such elements in the electronic media, which are indulging in false propaganda, if it did not stop” he said.

The Home Minister also left no one guessing when he said that he had got inputs from intelligence agencies about a section of the media.

“I have the intelligence department under me. I know who is doing such things. I know what is happening. Some forces are behind this,” he added but did not elaborate.

Shinde’s remarks came against the backdrop of a series of opinion polls in the national and regional media which predicted a poor showing for the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls while forecasting a big win for BJP under Narendra Modi.

Urging the media to focus on positive stories, which will be welcomed by the people, Shinde said the people of the country will not accept those dividing the country by disturbing society.

PTI

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