Aveek Sarkar on Wednesday resigned as the editor-in-chief of Ananda Bazaar Patrika (ABP) and The Telegraph, reported News 18. Sarkar is known to be involved in the day-to-day functions of all the editions. The report added that Sarkar would continue as the chairman of the group. His brother Arup Sarkar took over as the new Group Chief Editor, a top company official said.
The report added that Anirban Bhattacharya has been appointed as the new editor of the Ananda Bazaar Patrika and Rajagopalan as the editor of The Telegraph.
Arup Sarkar was so long the Chief Editor (Bengali magazines) of the group.
Anirban Chattopadhyay will be the new Editor of the largest circulated Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika and the group's Bengali tabloid Ebela.
R Rajagopal is the new Editor of The Telegraph, said ABP Chief Executive Officer and Managing Editor Dipankar Das Purkayastha.
Aveek Sarkar would now play an advisory role as Editor (Emeritus) and vice chairman of the company.
Sarkar announced his decision in the form of a brief note to employees, saying his resignation was part of a "succession plan".
The move came in the backdrop of the group's stringent opposition to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and her party during the recent assembly polls which she won comfortably.
However, Purkayastha said there was no connect between Sarkar's decision and the Trinamool.
"He is 71 years old and wants to give a chance to others. This is the succession programme which is being implemented," said Purkayastha.
Aveek Sarkar, one of the most prominent personalities in the Indian publishing scene, was tutored by the legendary Harold Evans, then the editor of The Sunday Times.
He was the moving force behind the transformation of the ABP Group from a regional house into a prominent national group and also led the group's entry into television.
In his book Paper Tigers, Nicholas Coleridge writes "Aveek Sarkar is India's most sophisticated newspaper proprietor...From his power base in Calcutta, Sarkar's sphere of influence is the entire eastern seaboard of India. 'Aveek can deliver the East,' a Delhi-based political lobbyist assured me."
Just ahead of the West Bengal Assembly Election, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attacked Sarkar during a campaign rally in Durgapur. According to The Hindu, Mamata called ABP the "most destructive element" in Bengal and said the organisation is conspiring against the Trinamool Congress-government in West Bengal. She even went ahead and challenged Sarkar to contest election against her.
Mamata singled out Sarkar in her election campaign and alleged that he hobnobs with the diplomats of various countries and has been slandering Bengal. "He made it such that industrialists had to visit him before investing in Bengal. Today we have changed that completely with our transparent policy. So now he does not get anything,” she had said.
Firspost's Gouri Chatterjee had written in May, "Didi is not someone you can cross without fear of reprisal and Aveek Sarkar, with his largest circulating Bengali daily, the largest circulating English newspaper of the East, his stand-alone Bengali tabloid, his most popular Bengali news TV channel and more, has gone out on a limb criticising her government’s and her party’s innumerable sins of omission and commission."
However, sources in ABP told News 18 that his resignation has nothing to do with the TMC. Here are some Twitter reactions to his resignation:
— Anand Pradhan (@apradhan1968) June 22, 2016
Aveek Sarkar resigns as Telegraph supremo. Now everybody choppppppp pic.twitter.com/WZOBuZDrAU
— greatbong (@greatbong) June 22, 2016
— muralidharan (@muralidg) June 22, 2016
#AveekSarkar resigns as Editor in chief of#ABPGroup; to continue as chairman
— subhendu ray (@subhenduray) June 22, 2016
Don't be amused if you see 'Amazing Irani' or 'Modi - the man of steel' headlines in The Telegraph from now onwards. #AveekSarkar
— Nomad (@_SandSurfer) June 22, 2016
— AMISH DEVGAN (@AMISHDEVGAN) June 22, 2016
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jun 22, 2016 21:08:32 IST