Did Arun Jaitley expose journalists in his death? Debate rages on social media

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Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was cremated with full state honours in Delhi, a day after the veteran BJP leader died at the age of 66. Politicians cutting across party lines paid rich tributes to Jaitley by fondly remembering his contribution to Indian politics. Also joining them paying glowing rich tributes to Jaitley were a group of usual suspects in the Indian media particularly TV channels. This has now triggered a debate with many wondering if Jaitley has exposed his crony journalists in his death.

Arun Jaitley

Right-wing journalist Kanchan Gupta wrote, “As Arun Jaitley goes gently into the night, my tribute to a friend I admired.” Calling Jaitley his guardian and guide, India TV owner Rajat Sharma wrote, “.. Personally I have lost my best friend who, being elder to me, was also my guardian. Today I really feel the sorrow of losing an elder in the family. He guided me in the best of times and the worst of times.”

Time Now’s Navika Kumar poured her heart out in her tribute to Jaitley. Calling the former finance minister her ‘guiding light’ and a ‘mentor,’ Kumar also revealed that she spoke to him every morning as a matter of routine. Kumar’s tweet read, “I’ve lost my Guiding Light my mentor. @arunjaitley, Arun Sir for me, who will I call every morning now? Your wit, your humour, your anecdotes, your knowledge of history & your intellect was unparalleled. The brightest star in the sky will remind me you are watching & guiding us.”



Kumar, who has often faced criticism for her proximity to Jaitley and the ruling BJP, calling the departed leader as her guiding light and mentor did not go down well with fellow journalists. Jency Jacob wrote, “Journalists and editors who are writing eulogies for Arun Jaitley calling him ‘friend’, ‘mentor’, ‘guiding light’, please learn how to write a nice obit without forgetting who you are. You are the custodians of democracy for your readers and not politicians.”



Without naming anyone, journalist Rohini Singh wrote, “The biggest strength of Arun Jaitley was that he could expose certain faces according to his requirement. See the destiny that Jaitley ji did precisely that in his last journey. He unmasked a few journalists and made certain facts public what used to take place behind the curtain.”



Journalist and author Nilanjana Roy wrote, “The media tributes to Arun Jaitley are right to honour his principled courage during the Emergency. But the media, of all groups of citizens, should not gloss over the fact that he used power and propaganda against writers and students, exactly as it had been used against him.”

Not only was Jaitley credited with playing a key role in the elevation of Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate within the BJP, but he was also widely viewed as managing the media headlines in the government’s favour after the BJP won a historic landslide in 2014. The emotional outpour by the usual suspects in the media on Jaitley’s death appears to have given credence to what used be a topic of gossip among journalists.

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