Eye on 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Modi govt plans massive outreach blitz

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses BJP party workers after the Karnataka Assembly election results, in New Delhi, on Tuesday | Photo: PTI
To mark the completion of its fourth year in office, the Narendra Modi government is planning a massive media and social media outreach, listing out its achievements, as well as setting the stage for the 2019 general elections. The focus would be on the Centre’s economic achievements.

This would include outreach through Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, increase in number of media briefings and interviews, and a focus away from Delhi and Mumbai-based English and Hindi media for greater visibility in the vernacular, regional press.

On Tuesday, when the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the single-largest party in Karnataka, the finance ministry tweeted a chart showing its achievements in providing credit to farmers. The chart stated that farm credit had been targeted at Rs 11 trillion in 2018-19, from Rs 9 trillion in 2016-17. 

Officials said that over the coming weeks, ministries would send out tweets on various measures such as the goods and services tax, highway and rail construction, power projects, rural electrification, Swachh Bharat, affordable housing, Make in India, financial sector reforms, disinvestment, stock market boom, demonetisation, efforts to combat black money, job creation and economic indicators such as inflation, fiscal deficit, gross domestic product, etc.

While no written instructions were sent to any media unit under the ministry of information and broadcasting, all have got into action to celebrate the four years of the government.

State-owned broadcasters such as All India Radio and Doordarshan are lining up programmes for the occasion. Other units like the Publications Division are dedicating a section in their journals on themes such as “New India”, which will focus on highlighting the government’s achievements and flagship programmes announced in the past four years. 

Last year, an official letter had been issued to media heads asking them to plan publicity to highlight the achievements of the government. This included media units apart from the core Press Information Bureau that interacts directly with the independent media by sending out releases 
on the achievements of the government.

“This year, instructions have been conveyed on an informal basis. There will be a publicity blitz over the coming weeks. The ministers holding various portfolios will also be giving interviews to public broadcasters nearer to May 26,” said an official. The government will complete four years in power on May 26.

Senior officials in charge of media affairs at multiple ministries said they expect a rise in the number of press engagements during the last year of the government. “We are looking at a hectic year ahead, with some ministries planning weekly press briefings,” said an official.

 
Another official added that the government was now focused on the regional press. “Our colleagues in PIB centres across the country have been told to step up their efforts to get more coverage for central schemes in the vernacular press,” he said.


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