M A I N   N E W S

Krishna seeks officer for image makeover
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, January 27
Feeling let down by his publicity managers, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has sought the appointment of a special officer on his personal staff who will be mandated to handle his image-building.

BS Chauhan, Additional Director General with the Press Information Bureau (PIB) handling the Finance Ministry, is being considered for deputation to Krishna’s office for this task. A final decision will be taken after Krishna returns from London where he is attending the special conference on Afghanistan.

The move has come up against a wall of resistance from External Affairs Ministry officials, who feel this appointment will reflect poorly on them.

Krishna, it is learnt, felt the need for getting a special person for his public relations as he felt that he had not been getting a favourable press in Delhi since he took over the high-profile External Affairs Ministry. Krishna’s appointment was met with initial scepticism. While his policy statements were given cursory treatment, he was in the eye of a storm following media reports that he had been staying in a five-star hotel for several months while his official residence was being readied.

Unlike other ministries, whose publicity is handled by the PIB, the External Affairs Ministry has its own division for this purpose.

Krishna, it is learnt, felt that while policy issues were being communicated by this division, he was not being adequately projected. In fact, his junior Shashi Tharoor has been grabbing more headlines even though it is generally for all the wrong reasons.

Krishna, therefore, decided to take the unusual route of seeking the services of a PIB officer, who is believed to be better equipped for the job. Given the traditional rivalry between the two government wings, it is only to be expected that the new appointment is being resisted.

UPA insiders maintain that Krishna also has to share the blame for the poor press he has been getting. New to this job, he was initially tentative in his statements.

In addition, he also had to contend with a powerful National Security Adviser in M K Narayanan, who had been involved with international and strategic issues for the last five years. His publicity managers were hampered as the minister gave preference to the press in his home state Karnataka.

Despite his hesitant start, UPA sources acknowledge that Krishna is gradually coming into his own. He had dealt firmly with Tharoor when the latter went public with his disapproval of the government’s new visa guidelines.

Krishna had ticked him off and told him in no uncertain terms that he was the boss. More recently, Krishna had reacted strongly to the ongoing attacks on Indians in Australia, saying that bilateral ties would be affected if this violence continued.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |