The post of media advisor to the Prime Minister is much coveted by journalists, past and present, as the very apogee of their careers.
A number of worthies have held the title: H.Y. Sharada Prasad, H.K. Dua, Prem Shankar Jha, Harish Khare, Pankaj Pachauri.
And there are at least a dozen journalists hoping to be Narendra Modi‘s media adviser.
But what really is the role of the media adviser, besides being a sinecure for old friends, the inspiration for the odd speech, or the interface for the rare media interview or interaction?
Depends on who you ask.
The journalists will, of course, paint themselves as pivots in the prime minister’s office.
They don’t matter for much, says the former National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan.
Narayanan, who was NSA to Manmohan Singh from 2005-10, when Sanjaya Baru was the media advisor, says the post means nothing at all.
Calling ‘The Accidental Prime Minister” a “third-rate book”, “full of lies”, Narayanan also says this of “turncoat” Baru:
“He (Baru) was not even a big player in the game. The media adviser to the PM has absolutely no role — you can ask people who have been in government — he’s a nobody.
“He ran away in 2008 because somebody told him the UPA might not come back to power…. He wrote the book on the eve of the elections (Lok Sabha 2014) purely to make money. He made money. He was successful. But let me tell you that nearly 80 per cent of all the claims he made in the book are totally false..
“His views are his, of course…. We have similar unflattering remarks about him.”
Read the full story: Accidental PM, the book is third rate