When ANI opened its doors to Vajpayeeji...

New Delhi [India], Aug 16 (ANI): Way back in 1998 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not the Prime Minister and Doordarshan (DD) allowed Opposition leaders a few minutes of airtime each but not their own studio facilities, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) approached private studios.

No private studio, however, was willing to allow them recording facilities. Such was the fear of reprisal! Not even a BJP former MP, who had a studio, gave them recording time. ANI did not have any fancy studio -- a makeshift corner in the newsroom with a teleprompter. As the doors of ANI was opened to them, all the BJP leaders trooped in one by one and recorded their messages.

Vajpayeeji also came to ANI for recording. After several takes, Vajpayeeji said he would speak without the teleprompter. We tried persuading him to give one more try with the teleprompter since there was only a limited time that DD was willing to give, and it would be hard to edit his message.

Vajpayeeji agreed. He sportingly used the teleprompter. The BJP won the election of 1998. Subsequently, nuclear tests and Kargil war happened. The government fell again in 1999. Elections took place again. Messages had to be recorded again. Many media honchos offered their swanky studios saying the messages would have better technical quality. Also, of course, it was apparent that the BJP would win so Doordarshan too was more amenable by now.

(Sanjiv Prakash is the CEO of ANI.