New Delhi, Mar 2: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday made a veiled attack at opposition parties for questioning the authenticity of anti-terror strike at times even feigning ignorance on the exact location of Balakot.
In the meantime, Congress leader and Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu sought to caution people against war mongering. "Social media has its own importance in today's world, it is used and abused also. So after February 26, some people started spreading Balakot was very close to LoC. Some people whom I call compulsive contrarians, they have even discovered a new Balakot," he said in reference to some opposition leaders and even others raising questions on the authenticity of the Air Force strike.
Mr Sidhu wrote in a tweet "Beware of the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind".
Speaking at a function while releasing a book titled ‘Mann Ki Baat – A Social Revolution on Radio’, Mr Jaitley said in contemporary setting amid media trying to set agenda and social media gaining importance by the day, the public leaders in public life need to discover new tool to communicate with people directly. He said as far as BJP as a party and Narendra Modi as a person is concerned, it was felt that there is a need to "discover" a direct communication with the people way back in 2002 itself.
"....This was felt during elections of 2002 as the media was hostile to the then Gujarat Chief Minister. Media was quite aggressive. Then it was realised that with regard media when the focus is on setting agenda and not pure reporting, we ought to have one medium for direct communication with the people," he said perhaps in reference to 'Gaurav Yatra' launched by Modi across the state addressing rallies and holding small meetings to reach out to the people aftermath the riots.
"It was felt we had to rise above the heads of intermediaries (media) and talk directly to the people," said Mr Jaitley, who was then BJP's poll in charge for the western state.
"In fact, even today I feel very few people have understood the importance of this politics of establishing direct communication with the people. In this context, I can talk about Mahatma Gandhi who could directly talk to people even those days," Mr Jaitley said.
Finance Minister said Mr Modi after becoming Prime Minister started using the medium of radio for governmental communication in order to establish direct communication with people by identifying its wide reach.
“The Mann Ki Baat programme is a great example of crisp communication and that time for long winded statements is over,” said Mr Jaitley, who has been party spokesman and also is a good debater himself.
Mr Jaitley also highlighted the power of radio, recalling its impact as a source of both news and entertainment, its huge geographical reaches and as a mode of learning language.
He added that radio was used extensively by Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom movement to reach out to people directly.
The Union Minister's remarks on 'compulsive contrarians' could be seen in the context of recent remarks from the likes of Mamata Banerjee and also Mr Sidhu.
On February 28, Trinamool Congress supremo Ms Banerjee had said - "We have the right to know how many people died in the air strike and who were they? We want to know the actual incident as we have not received any details".