Gujarats foundation day became a media blitzkrieg for pushing Chief Minister Narendra Modis model of development to India. The state Information Department gave out full page print advertisements across regional and national dailies customising the message to fit the state or region,to celebrate Gujarats birthday Wednesday.
The ads,all of them carrying pictures of Modi,spanned across dailies right from Chandigarh in the north,through West Bengal,Madhya Pradesh,Rajasthan, Kerala besides other states. Sample this: Andhra Bhoomi and Surya,both popular Telugu dailies headquartered in Hyderabad with multiple editions had the slogan Gujarat: collective efforts,inclusive growth. Glimpses of progress contributing to Indias growth in English. It charted out how Gujarat had 5 per cent of the countrys population but contributed to 17 per cent of the industrial production value and 7.3 per of the national GDP,and so forth. Another Telugu daily,Sakshi,said,Gujarat,where development is a way of life. Focussing on this coastal state,it talks about the sagarkhedu yojana for fishermen launched in Gujarat.
A daily Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh by the Bhaskar group goes with the slogan: Gujarat: A unique example of prosperity and culture in Hindi and chronicles the green revolution,womens empowerment,the Vanbandhu kalyan yojana for tribals,and so forth. The ads have penetrated even dailies like Ananda Bazaar Patrika in Kolkata.
Mathrubhoomi,a Malayalam daily had the,Gujarat: Collective Efforts,Inclusive Growth ad.
The information department of the Gujarat Government came out with at least four different advertisements tailored to send out messages to readers in different states. Many of the advertisements in English went with the slogan: Seeing is Believing and chose to market Modi. One of them said how the dropout rate in primary schools was 20.93% in 2000-2001,which had come down to 2.09% in 2010.
They list out the schemes of the state including round-the-clock power supply in the 18,000 villages under the Jyotigram Yojana,Garib Kalyan Melas,Mission Mangalam for empowering women and the worlds first canal-top solar project.
The ones for Hindi dailies said how Gujarat had sown the seeds for a second green revolution by registering a 9% growth rate in agriculture,that was superior to the national average of 3.2% between 2002-12.
It also talked about how Gujarat was the topmost state in generating employment,improving living standards and producing green energy. English advertisements in newspapers in states like Maharashtra had a different headline: Gujarat Achieving New Heights of Progress: A glimpse of National and International Accolades. The text of this advertisement went on to mention only details of awards bagged by Gujarat in health sector,Urban Development,Skill development,E-governance and agriculture. These include two Prime Ministers Award for Excellence in Public Administration for sickle cell Anemia control program (2011) and the one awarded to Gujarats Kaushalya Vardhan Kendra in 2013.
The ones in newspapers across Gujarat,had more simple text with Modis itinerary to celebrate Gujarat Formation Day.
Officials of the information department were tight-lipped about the advertising spends and the number of dailies that were targeted in this exercise. The details you are asking is an official secret. We cannot reveal it, said G R Sangada,deputy director (advertising) of the department when asked about the details of the advertising campaign that is being run at a time when Modi has emerged as one of the front-runners for the prime-ministers post in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.