The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government will soon launch a media overdrive, focussing on development issues. This is with an eye on the oncoming general elections. The information & broadcasting (I&B) ministry has been told to prepare the ground for this media blitzkrieg. It would showcase Mr Vajpayee’s marshalling of the country across media platforms.
Sources said the strategy is to highlight various Central initiatives and their impact in 16 major states. Central ministries of health, family welfare, civil supplies, road transport & highways, labour, Railways and finance and the Planning Commission have been asked to inform the Press Information Bureau (PIB), which is under I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, about their initiatives.
The PIB is on an overdrive, working on Saturdays and Sundays as well. Mr Prasad has set a deadline of January 29, so that booklets could be printed and distributed before the elections are announced and the code of electoral conduct is enforced.
There will be a book, of about 200 pages, elaborating Mr Vajpayee’s initiatives and achievements. A second book, “Milestones of the Vajpayee Government,” will be shorter. It will pit his government’s achievements with those of the past regimes.
This book is being prepared under the supervision of Sudheendra Kulkarni, officer on special duty in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The media blitz will include state-specific booklets. These promise to be body-blows to Congress governments in states. Each one could trigger a volley of charges and counter charges. That’s because funding for development may have come from New Delhi, but execution of projects was done by the state government.
The demand for state-specific booklets came primarily from the state units of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the recent elections, the BJP reaped a good harvest highlighting the gaps in the area of development, especially in Madhya Pradesh.
The Central government intends to create visual capsules, on the lines of campaigns like India Shining, India on the Move and “Bharat Uday (The Rise Of India)”.
The idea is to use official agencies as much as possible without inviting the flak of the Election Commission.