Editor of ‘Vijay Karnataka’ forced to resign by Christist lobby

published on December 10, 2010

Vishweshwar Bhat, editor of Vijaya Karnataka, the mass-circulation Kannada daily owned by The Times of India group, has resigned.

Bhat’s decision was announced to his staff on 8th Dec 2010 after a meeting with ToI chief executive officer Ravi Dhariwal and chief marketing officer Rahul Kansal who had flown down to Bangalore. Bhat confirmed the resignation adding that, although he had no negative feelings for the company, he had begun to feel “slightly uncomfortable” in the last few months. “I decided to quit when things were all right,” he said. E. Raghavan, a senior jouranlist who retired as editor of the Economic Times editions in the south and currently edits the Kannada weekend broadsheet Vijaya Next will be VKs next editor.

The charitable version for the exit is that Bhat wanted a three-year sabbatical to go abroad and study which the Jains of Times group were disclined to give. Bhat says he intends to pursue higher education now, although the buzz is he may join a soon-to-be-started Kannada news channel. The no-compete clause in Sankeshwar’s deal with Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd also ends next year opening up new possibilities on the Kannada media map.

However, the press club gossip reveals another version in a hushed tone. This version says that Bhat was promoting right wing nationalism appealing to the majority Hindus, attracting the ire of Christians, Muslims and Communists. They waited for opportunities, highlighted their viewpoints and were able to convince ToI management to push Mr. Bhat to a corner. Their efforts over years to change the course of the news paper finally became successful. The anti Hindu lobby and  the strategic proselytising Christian interest being pointed at for the fall of Mr. Bhat.

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