The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will now have regular meeting with top editors, even as regularly as one a week, according to sources. The first meeting will be held at his house at 4 pm tomorrow.
The move has come in the wake of searing criticism of an “absentee Prime Minister”, particularly on the web, after the recent controversies over Ramdev agitation, corruption etc..
The PM, however, is unlikely to allow these meetings to be recorded or broadcast live. His last such broadcast meeting with editors was termed a disaster by public relations experts as Singh is widely known to be a reclusive and introverted, if intelligent, person.
Dr Singh, an economist who has found himself unexpectedly elevated to the most powerful position in India due to his non-challenging nature, is known to be reluctant to open himself out to others.
On the other hand, his government has been stumbling from one PR disaster to another — culminating in the outrage over a midnight raid over sleeping protesters under a Yogi Baba Ramdev.
It is being held, especially among senior Congress leaders, that Manmohan Singh is not doing enough to shore up the image of the Government or defend its policies.
While few have great hopes of the introverted Singh charming audiences in a live press conference like Obama, they believe that a closed and frank interaction with a limited number of movers and shakers in the media world will help the Government put its side of the events out to the people indirectly.
A recent survey had found that most people in the country wanted the PM to be replaced and rooted for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, followed by Sonia Gandhi’s son Rahul Gandhi.
Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh had even said that Rahul is now ready to be PM, touching off a huge round of controversy with many questioning the leadership of Dr Singh.
However, the circumstances of the current government, with morale and public opinion at its lowest ebb in the last 4 or 5 years, is not seen as ideal for anyone to try to jump into the PM’s chair.