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More Cong than Cong, Katju should quit: Jaitley

An unseemly duel of words has broken out between Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Markandeya Katju on the issue of freedom of press. Arun Jaitley has demanded Katju’s resignation after PCI’s report appeared alleging that the media in Bihar was not independent. Katju had also written an article against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

Jaitley on Sunday accused Katju of attacking non-Congress governments in Bihar, Gujarat and West Bengal on the basis of ‘his political preferences’. In an article on the BJP website, Jaitley said Katju’s attacks ‘seem more in the nature of thanks-giving to those who provided him with a post-retirement job.’ ‘His utterances, both during his tenure as a Judge and thereafter are clearly outlandish. Dignified comment is alien to him. His attacks on non-Congress governments whether in West Bengal, Bihar or Gujarat seem more in the nature of thanks-giving to those who provided him with a post retirement job,’ Jaitley said.

‘The chairman of the Press Council discharges a statutory job. His job requires fairness, impartiality and political neutrality,’ he said. Jaitley said Katju’s piece against Modi read more like a personal tirade. ‘The choice of his subjects and targets is motivated by his political preferences,’ added Jaitley.

Demanding Katju’s resignation, Jaitley said, ‘He appears to be more Congress than the Congress party’.  Rejecting Jaitley’s statements, Katju said he won’t resign.

He said: ‘I have criticised Congress-ruled states as well. I sent notices to the Maharashtra government when two girls were arrested for their post on Facebook.’ Katju has also written to Centre against detention of Iftikar Gilani’s family following Afzal Guru’s hanging.’
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