By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 31: Just read this: 45,159 press notes, 1,143 feature articles, 1,779 success stories, 4,018 press conferences, 3,125 press tours, 14,183 rejoinders, 29,824 photo coverage and 14,935 advertisement insertions in newspapers.
If you think that these statistics pertain to the publicity-friendly Telugu Desam government, you are 100 per cent mistaken. They actually speak of the "performance" of the "low profile" Rajasekhar Reddy government in the State.
Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy has quite often criticised his predecessor and bete noire N Chandrababu Naidu for the latter's publicity blitzkrieg running into about Rs 350 crore. He even announced before Assembly elections that if elected to power the Congress would reduce the publicity expenditure and utilise the funds for free power to the farm sector.
Rajasekhar Reddy is no less publicity crazy than Chandrababu Naidu, if the figures available with the State Information Department are any indication. The Congress government issued 2987 advertisements with 14935 insertions while the previous TD government gave 3528 advertisements with 14112 insertions. The Congress government issues 823 insertions more than that of Babu's government.
During the year 2004-2005 the Rajasekhar Reddy government issued 14,183 rejoinders of which 9,445 were published. It issued 137 press notes daily to media on an average!
The information department "arranged" coverage for 29824 photos. Till January the department brought out 29 publications printing 29.21 lakh copies on various programmes and activities of the government. Thousands of hand bills, booklets and stickers were brought out and distributed all over the State to popularise Rajiv Pallebata and Rajiv Nagarabata programmes.
While the previous TD government issued advertisements on behalf of the government, the present Congress government is adopting a novel strategy of publishing advertisements in newspapers on "benami" names, as the TD would like to describe. Advertisements worth several lakhs were issued on irrigation tenders in newspapers.