Hooda nod to Rs 20-crore budget for ads
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Post Chautala conviction in the JBT case and alarmed over field reports regarding INLD meetings turning into rallies, the ruling Congress in Haryana has unleashed an ad blitzkrieg to tell the people about its "developmental policies". Needless to say, these advertisements project Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as the nucleus of state's growth and development story.
According to sources, the government has okayed a special advertisement budget of Rs 20 crore for national, regional news channels and newspapers. The government is bringing out glossy state-sponsored magazines and other publication materials to pat it's own back for various schemes and developmental activities. Professional help is being sought to design and word the advertisements. With this, the government seems to have pushed itself in the Assembly poll gear with elections due in 2014.
"Till now, this is the highest amount sanctioned for advertising state's policies in non-election time. Before the 2009 Assembly polls, the government had sanctioned a special budget that was nearly half of the current amount," said an official. Sources said usually, the government spends Rs 9 crore annually on advertisement in all forms of media.
The HJC, led by Kuldeep Bishnoi, has also hit the pages of national newspapers and magazines with full page advertisements projecting Bishnoi as the future chief ministerial candidate for the HJC-BJP alliance. Sources close to Bishnoi said the party has already spent a lot on advertisements and was ready for much more in the coming days.
Meanwhile, alarmed over the crowds at INLD gatherings, Bishnoi on Wednesday said in a meeting — "Abhay was misleading the people by projecting his father and brother as martyrs." He too asked his workers to be ready for elections and divided the state in four zones to organise its campaign.
Reports of INLD workers' meetings are also worrying the Congress government, as these meetings were invariably turning into party rallies. Chautala junior Abhay Singh Chautala's statement — "If there is jail for giving jobs. then we will again give jobs" — has floored INLD rivals. While lashing out at Hooda and the CBI for allegedly conniving to send his father and brother to jail, Abhay is repeatedly claiming there will be jobs galore in the state in case their government comes to power.