Srinagar: The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) kickstarted its election campaign on Sunday at a closed-door ceremony in Srinagar for which an invitation was sent to media persons, who were made to wait outside for about 25 minutes before they were allowed to enter the hall where the ceremony was held.
Behind the four walls of the PDP headquarters in Srinagar, Nazir Ahmad Khan launched his bid to win the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, election for which is scheduled on April 9.
As the ceremony was expected to start at 1pm, media persons arrived a few minutes earlier to position and tune their cameras. Once a good number of the PDP’s invitees assembled in the lawns of the headquarters, all of them had a brief chat with each other and then with a smile collectively posed for photographs and video shots.
After ministers were done with the photo shoots in the lawn, media persons expected that a few of them would deliver a speech or at least interact with journalists about the event.
That didn’t happen, at all. The minsters and party members went inside the two-storey building and when the media persons tried to follow them inside, the guards and party members stationed at the main entrance of the hall stopped them. The media persons were told to wait outside as they were not allowed to enter the hall.
Confused as to what purpose they were invited for, the media persons, a few of them enraged, kept their patience and sat in the lawns. They sat there for about 25 minutes, while the ceremony went on inside the building. Then, one of the party members stationed outside the hall, asked the media persons to come in and join the event.
Inside the hall, several PDP ministers were present, like education minister Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, MoS for social welfare and medical education Aisea Naqash, minister for public works Naeem Akhtar, the Srinagar candidate Nazir Ahmad Khan , and senior PDP leaders Khursheed Alam, Nizamuddin Bhat and others. As soon as the media persons entered the hall, the PDP ministers and leaders started posing for photos with big smiles. One minster instructed, “Click photos of everyone. Make sure everyone is in the video shooting.”
After about three minutes, the ministers addressed the media persons. They said to them, “Please have a cup of tea down on the first floor. Thanks.”
This brief and rather blunt message left some media persons confused as to whether they were being told to leave immediately or later. Unfortunately, the former was the case. The reporters were not provided any chance to ask questions or seek further details about the event. The interaction with the media was over.