The Posterity Drive
Pranab-da seriously miscalculated the day he made an announcement that the government’s ‘austerity drive’ would be unpopular, coming as it was barely four days before the death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi. Seems that the drive was so unpopular that the government saw it fit to ignore it completely! Buoyed by the recent spread of Jayalalithaa’s achievements on the front pages of every national daily, the Congress decided that it couldn’t possibly afford to let the nation forget Rajiv. So instead of splashing Rajiv Gandhi’s visage on the front page of every newspaper, the government instead inserted a series of full, half, and quarter-page ads inside every newspaper worth its salt. Subtle. Like no would notice. Based on newslaundry’s calculations (and we’ve limited our assessment to seven Delhi English language newspapers and one Hindi mainline), the Rajiv Gandhi ads in Delhi appearing in The Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindu, The Statesman, Business Standard, Mint, Hindustan - totaled approximately 8 crore in advertising expenditure.
According to newslaundry’s calculations of ad rates across all the major newspapers, the following is the ad-spend for today’s ads. This is not the entire list of publications in Delhi in which the ads have appeared. If 8 crores is for just eight papers in Delhi, you can calculate for yourself what the expenditure nationwide is.
This computation is limited to seven Delhi English language newspapers and one Hindi mainline and does not include all the newspapers in which the ads have been printed.
What is surely a sad commentary on the Indian media, till this article went for publishing, barring a couple of remarks on twitter from a few foreign journalists there was no media outrage. Contrast this to the instant slamming the Jayalalithaas and Mayawatis get for their wasteful expenditure on similar ad spreads. This silence is despite Rajiv Gandhi’s ads being greater in number than those of Jayalalitha’s, who spent a total of Rs 25 core nationwide.
Why the selective criticism? Is everyone so petrified of the Gandhis that the same argument used barely a week ago to lampoon another politician’s wasteful expenditure on ads can’t be used to criticise them? Have Baba’s dimples and Madam’s sarees charmed all editors to not be outraged? We are waiting and watching.
Write in to tell us which newspapers we haven’t included at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll recalculate.
Figures computed by Pulkita Parsai and Aditya Joshi