As many as six documentaries on late Babu Jagjivan Ram have been produced by Lok Sabha TV ever since his daughter Meira Kumar became the Speaker in 2009, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has disclosed in response to an application filed under the Right to Information Act.
To a query on the names of legendary personalities and dignitaries featured through documentary films by Lok Sabha TV since June 1, 2009, the Information Cell on August 9 revealed that six documentaries had been made on the late Dalit leader during the mentioned period.
It also stated that Babu Jagjivan Ram was the only legendary person on whom so many documentaries had been made in the last three years.
Further, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has stated that while two documentaries were made on “Obama-King-Gandhi”, only one each had been commissioned in all other cases during the period. The other personalities on whom such documentaries have been made include Bharat Ratna B.R. Ambedkar, former President N. Sanjiva Reddy, former Speaker GMC Balayogi, and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Others on whom one documentary each has been made are noted writer Ruskin Bond, Rabi Ray, K.S. Hegde, Bali Ram Bhagat, G.S. Dhilon, Sardar Hukum Singh, MA Ayyangar, G.V. Mavalankar, Vikram Sarabhai and Subrahmanyam Chandrashekhar.
Noted RTI activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal, who had filed this application, has questioned the making of so many documentaries on Babu Jagjiwan Ram: “Is it a mere coincidence that it so happened only when his daughter Smt Meira Kumar took charge as Lok Sabha Speaker three years back?”
He said the response of the Secretariat confirms that Lok Sabha TV has not made more than one documentary-film on any other legendary figure ever since the channel was set up by former Speaker Somnath Chaterjee. He has sought an “enquiry” to probe if the “extraordinary favour” was done to please the Lok Sabha Speaker.
Through another query, the RTI activist has also demanded that the Press and Public Relations Wing of Lok Sabha Secretariat clarify if it is the usual practice to instruct media groups to depute correspondents/camerapersons for every function attended by Lok Sabha Speaker, as was done to invite them to cover memorial functions in memory of late Babu Jagjiwan Ram at Samta Sthal and 6 Krishna Menon Marg.
Significantly, he said, bungalow number 6 Krishna Menon Marg has not been allotted to any entitled person for the last 10 years. He said this bungalow remained only in possession of family-members of late Babu Jagjiwan Ram in some capacity or the other till 2002, after which it has been listed as ‘un-allotted’ in official records despite scarcity of government-bungalows in New Delhi.