Smarting under the bad press he got over the MPPEB scam, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has floated the idea of starting a daily newspaper to ensure that the BJP’s ideology and the government’s achievements are conveyed directly to the masses.
In his ninth year as the CM, Chouhan mooted the idea at a dinner he hosted for office-bearers and spokesmen at the CM’s house on Sunday night in view of the byelections to three Assembly constituencies in August.
Chouhan argued that the BJP should have a newspaper like Saamana, which its coalition partner Shiv Sena brings out in Maharashtra. The BJP in Madhya Pradesh has a mouthpiece called ‘Charaiveti’ but it’s a monthly, “not adequate to meet the flow of news and information in this era”.
A spokesman who attended the meeting claimed Chouhan felt that the government was not getting its due for taking certain steps like farm loan at zero per cent. Another spokesman said the idea of a newspaper was a reflection of Chouhan’s mindset but did not elaborate. Chouhan hopes the newspaper will reach at least 10 lakh workers.
For the record, the party said the idea was at a very initial stage and no concrete decision has been taken. “The proposal came from the CM and it will be discussed at party forum before a call is taken,’’ said a spokesman.
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“So far the RSS was bringing out publications on its behalf, now the BJP wants to do it on its own by pouring in money. The idea is also a reflection on Chouhan’s mindset. He thinks the mainstream media is out of control because of it extensively reported the MPPEB scam,’’ said Leader of Opposition Satyadev Katare.
The BJP had tried to counter the media coverage of MPPEB scam by printing a booklet called Vyapam Ka Sach. The attempt to engage in mutual recrimination by pointing out irregularities during the 10-year rule of the Congress backfired because the glossy booklet alleged that senior BJP leader Raghunandan Sharma’s son had got his job as assistant marshal in the Assembly fraudulently.
The party claimed it was a mistake but by then damage had been done because Sharma’s equation with Chouhan are far from cordial. Embarrassed and pained, Sharma took the matter with the party saying there was no irregularity in his son’s appointment and that the government was free to move the court.