New Delhi: A. Surya Prakash, columnist and fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a New Delhi-based right wing think tank, is likely to succeed journalist Mrinal Pande as the chairperson of public-service broadcaster Prasar Bharati, making VIF a go-to hiring destination for the Modi government.
While Surya Prakash, who is consulting editor for The Pioneer, is the frontrunner for the post, the other people being considered for the post are well known pro- Modi columnists, Swapan Dasgupta, and Kanchan Gupta, among others. Prasar Bharati, operates state broadcaster Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR), and the government usually appoints a veteran journalist to the post of chairman.
The Vivekananda International Foundation, which is affiliated to the Kanyakumari-based Vivekananda Kendra, was established by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) organiser Eknath Ranade in 1970. National security adviser Ajit Doval—appointed on 30 May—is a former director of the foundation and the Prime Minister’s principal secretary Nripendra Mishra is its executive council member.
Surya Prakash has closely worked with senior leaders of BJP and RSS. In 1998, Surya Prakash wrote a series of articles for The Pioneer about Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origins. In 2004, he edited a book, Sonia Under Scrutiny – Issue of Foreign Origin. This book was published by India First Foundation. His columns appear in The Pioneer, Dainik Jagran, Eenadu, Samyukta Karnataka and The Indian Republic. In the past, Surya Prakash has held key positions in several print and electronic media organizations.
A committee headed by vice- president Hamid Ansari along with Bimal Julka, secretary, information and broadcasting, and Markandey Katju, chairman, Press Council of India, will make a decision on the appointment in due course.