07 May, 2021

Winners And Losers In Naveen’s Blitzkrieg

Odisha sarkar’s ad spend is drawing more flak than ever

Photograph by Sanjib Mukherjee
Winners And Losers In Naveen’s Blitzkrieg

The media in Odisha never had it so good, especially the newspapers. In the past six months, hardly a day has gone by without full-page colour advertisements ann­ouncing the launch or extolling the achievements of some government scheme or the other on the front pages of leading dailies—invariably with CM Naveen Patnaik’s smiling visage towering over all else. There was no let up in the blitzkrieg even on the morning after the Pulwama attack on February 14, inviting widespread outrage on social media.

Answering a question from BJD MLAs Mahesh Sahu and Debashish Nayak dur­ing the recent session of Odisha’s 16th assembly on February 7, Information and Public Relations (I & PR) minister Pratap Jena revealed that a cumulative amount of Rs 92.44 crore had been spent on ads to various media outlets in the state since June 1 last year, with newspapers predictably cornering the lion’s share (Rs 82.51 crore). Comparing this eight-month expenditure with the ad spend in the 2016-17 fiscal—Rs 40.47 crore, as per the I & PR...

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