Times of India journalist refuses Ramnath Goenka Award, says “cannot live with the Idea of Modi and me in the same frame”

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A Times of India journalist has refused to accept the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for 2016 because it was being conferred by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year.

Writing for Caravan website, journalist Sandeep Bhushan stated that Akshaya Mukul had been conferred the RNG award in the category of Books (non-fiction) for this book, which sheds light on the ideological moorings of Hindutva—ironically, the lynchpin of the prime minister’s politics.

He wrote, “Mukul had no bone to pick with the RNG awards. He told me that it was an “honour” to have won one. His problem lay in receiving the award from the prime minister. ‘I cannot live with the idea of Modi and me in the same frame, smiling at the camera even as he hands over the award to me.'”

According to Bhushan, the Indian Express’ management’s decision to invite Narendra Modi as  the chief guest this year had left many senior editors unhappy.

He wrote, “A journalist from the publication told me that these editors have raised questions over whether ‘journalism awards should be given by the prime minister at all, especially somebody as polarising as Modi.’ When I asked Raj Kamal Jha, the chief editor of the paper, about the matter, he responded with a cryptic text message that appeared to disassociate the editorial department from the invitation that was extended to Modi: ‘Please send your query to Vaidehi Thakar of The Ramnath Goenka Foundation, which administers the award.’

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