PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: There is yet another advertising blitzkrieg by Union ministries and Congress-led State governments and departments in today’s newspapers on the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi‘s birthday.
And it beats the number of ads on Rajiv’s death anniversary hollow.
While there were 69 ads amounting to 41 published pages in 12 newspapers on May 21, there are 108 ads amounting to 48¼ published pages in the same 12 newspapers today.
Hindustan Times: 24-page issue; 14 RG ads amounting to 7 broadsheet pages
The Times of India: 32-page issue; 21 ads amounting to 9 broadsheet pages
Indian Express: 28-page issue; 15 ads amounting to 6½ broadsheet pages
Mail Today (compact): 36-page issue; 11 ads amounting to 6½ compact pages
The Hindu: 24-page issue; 13 ads amounting to 5 broadsheet pages
The Pioneer: 16-page issue; 11 ads amounting to 3¾ broadsheet pages
The Statesman: 16-page isuse; 7 ads amounting to 3 broadsheet pages
The Telegraph: 26-page issue; 9 ads amounting to 3¾ broadsheet pages
The Economic Times: 16-page issue; 2 ads amounting to ¾ of a page
Business Standard: 18-page issue; 2 ads amouning to ¾ of a page
Financial Express: 22-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¼ pages
Mint (Berliner): 16-page issue; 0 ads
This computation is only for 12 English newspapers; many other English papers have been left, as indeed has the entire language media which are more numerous than the English ones, several times over.
Last year, on the 19th death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the historian Ramachandra Guha wrote in an edit-page article in The Telegraph, Calcutta:
“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.”
Among the 21 advertisers wishing the dear departed leader happy birthday this year are the ministries of information and broadcasting, micro small and medium enterprises, power, health and family welfare, tourism, housing and urban poverty alleviation, new and renewable energy, women and child development, commerce and industry, steel, and social justice and empowerment.
The state governments advertising their love are those of Rajasthan, Haryana, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, all Congress-ruled States. And the departments putting their money where their mouth is are the Rajiv Gandhi centre for biotechnology, Navodaya vidyalaya samiti, national small industries corporation, national commission for women, and the coir board.
And, of course, the Indian National Congress.