During Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s recent visit to Lucknow, she was introduced to a select group of journalists during a dinner meeting. The dinner was organised by a veteran Congress leader at his residence very close to the seat of power – the secretariat.
The dinner meeting went well where Priyanka had a threadbare discussion with the select few. She explained her vision about her party’s strategy in UP and journalists, as is their wont, ‘advised’ her as what the Congress should do. She even enquired from the journalists how Congress can improve its position in UP.
This was routine for political leaders to have confabulations with journalists to know ground reality. So, at the face of it, the meeting of PGV with journalists was not an aberration.
The bomb exploded the next day when a Delhi based journalist tweeted to declare that a journalist in that dinner meeting was connected with an official at Chief Minister’s office in Lucknow, who was listening to the live conversation.
The revelation has sent a shock wave among the journalistic and political fraternity as to who is the ‘spy’ and what exactly he had gained out of this.
A journalist, who was in the dinner meeting, said what Priyanka had said that night was nothing confidential. She did not speak ill of Yogi. She was just enquiring from us how to strengthen the party at the ground level.
The journalist even suggested that the ‘leak’ could be a rumour by disgruntled elements within the journalist community or the Congress party who were denied access to PGV.
But some Congress leaders vouch that the conversation was actually conveyed and sent to officials in the CM’s office. There is dispute over modus operandi. One leader said it was recorded by a journalist, who is very close to a senior officer, and another said that a journalist was connected with OSD of CM’s office the whole time (almost 90 minutes) so that he can listen to the conversation between PGV and journalists.
But the big question is why this was done.
This has two explanations – one, the officer who heard the conversation and recorded that could have taken the same to CM Yogi to earn some brownie point; and two, some words or sentences of PGV during conversation could be used as possible electoral material during assembly elections.
Congress leaders suggest this could be a repeat of Bengal elections where Prashant Kishore’s conversation with a select group of journalists was leaked by BJP. “This could happen in UP too,” a Congress leader said.
I cannot vouch whether or not a ‘spy’ was at work during PGV’s dinner meeting but if it had happened it is a loss of face for us. This incident is like an ugly wart on the face of the profession – called journalism.