Rajasthan polls: Dainik Bhaskar publishes, and swiftly deletes, story on ‘red diary’

It said the CM’s son believed his father would lose, but was then taken down hours later.

WrittenBy:Shivnarayan Rajpurohit
Date:
A laptop showing the now-deleted article from Dainik Bhaskar.
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Two weeks ago, Dainik Bhaskar published an “exclusive” story on its website. The headline said “Rajasthan meih charchit laal diary ke chaar panne saamne aaye”, loosely translating to “four more pages of Rajasthan’s much-talked about red diary revealed”.

The “red diary”, according to the BJP, purportedly contains the Congress party’s “dark secrets”. It was first mentioned in July this year. 

Dainik Bhaskar’s story, published on November 14, claimed Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot’s son, Vaibhav Gehlot, believed the Congress wouldn’t return to power and that Gehlot senior “is the reason for it”. Vaibhav is a Congress member and chairman of the Rajasthan Cricket Association. 

Newslaundry cannot authenticate the contents of this purported diary.

Hours later, the report was taken down from Dainik Bhaskar’s website and mobile app. It did not appear in print. The original link redirects to the website.

Then, on November 20, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in Pali. He claimed Gehlot had “threatened” the media over this “red diary” story.

“A CM who calls himself jaadugar [magician] is so unnerved by impending defeat that he has started threatening the media,” Modi said. “People can say ‘here is an undeclared ban on publishing a story on pages of the red diary’...No one is publishing it. TV channels are not airing it.”

Dainik Bhaskar’s national editor LP Pant, digital editor Kiran Rajpurohit, and executive director Bharat Agarwal refused to comment on the matter. Managing editor Sudhir Agarwal could not be reached. 

Three anonymous sources at Dainik Bhaskar spoke to Newslaundry.

The first source said the decision to remove the article took place at the newspaper’s Jaipur office “as it was a local story”. Dainik Bhaskar is otherwise headquartered in Bhopal. They also said the Congress and BJP were “the same” when it came to “browbeating” the media.

The second source said, “You know what happens when you publish stories against the most powerful people in the state. You get a call and the story is removed.”

The third source said the article hadn’t been removed at all. When Newslaundry pointed out that the weblink redirects to the Dainik Bhaskar website, the source said, “There are 200 stories on the ‘red diary’ on our website.” He refused to comment further. 

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