PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: Although the size of the Karnataka market is smaller than Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Bangalore probably has the largest news media presence than the other three southern capitals and perhaps most other cities, barring Bombay and Delhi.
At last count, there were 14 major morning brands (eight English, six Kannada), five English business dailies, four 24×7 news channels (three Kannada, one English), and at least a dozen dailies in Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and even Hindi, besides a few evening newspapers.
On top of that, there are the correspondents of the various district and “up-country” papers, magazines, and TV stations, and over a hundred photographers and videographers, plus publishers, proprietors and a handful of “resident editors” from the Press Club of Bangalore (PCB).
Even so, how big could the media contingent in Bangalore be?
One-thousand five hundred?
Yes, 1,500: That’s the number of “media-friends” that the B.S. Yediyurappa government would like to believe attended a party thrown by it on 27 June 2010 at a local hotel.
Numbers obtained by Vinayak Bhat Mooroor, a correspondent of Kannada Prabha, under the right to information (RTI) act and published by the paper on Saturday, show that the BJP government has thrown at least 27 parties (14 of them for the media) since coming to power in 2008.
While a bash for the IT-BT crowd at the Oberoi cost the government Rs 7,03,099 (75 pax), and a party in honour of an outgoing chief justice of the high court cost Rs 5,58,000 (pax 120), the get-together for journalists last June at the Nalapad Pavilion hotel was the most expensive do, at Rs 11,04,775 (pax 1,500).
Keeping the journalists in good humour at these 14 parties has cost the BJP government Rs 20,21,924 since it came to power three years ago.
Incidentally, Kannada Prabha reports, tongue firmly in cheek, that Nalapad Pavilion does not have sitting space for the 1,500 people that are alleged to have attended the grand fete.
File photograph: A samosa, a slice of plum cake, a piece of badam burfi, half a dozen cashewnuts, and a paper napkin is laid out for media folk at a May 2011 event at the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore (Karnataka Photo News)