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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Modi’s PR team kick-starts PM campaign in MP

Rahul Noronha, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, August 06, 2013
First Published: 10:41 IST(6/8/2013) | Last Updated: 10:47 IST(6/8/2013)

The BJP’s campaign committee chairman Narendra Modi’s hard launch in Madhya Pradesh as the PM candidate may be slated for September, but the Gujarat chief minister has already made a soft launch in the state, courtesy publicity material of the publicity department of Gujarat.

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Private public relations firms are engaging with newspapers based in Madhya Pradesh through publicity material from the publicity department of Gujarat informing them of the great strides made by the western state in certain sectors under the chief ministership of Narendra Modi.

The plan perhaps is to inform voters in MP about Modi’s achievements as an administrator and how he could replicate the success at the national level.

Even as the state BJP unit avoided putting up Narendra Modi’s pictures in the banners and hoardings put up for the Jan Ashirwad Yatra that was launched from Ujjain recently, Modi’s PR team has entered Madhya Pradesh through a different route.

Two days ago, Mutual PR, a Delhi-based PR firm sent out a press statement to newspapers in MP on the recently held Van Mahotsav in Gujarat pitting national statistics on trees outside forests (forests on nonforest land) with those of Gujarat suggesting that Gujarat had done better work.

It claimed that trees outside forests cover 4% of the total area of the state as against 2.8% in the country.

It also claimed that the sanskritik vans (cultural forests) in the state -- conceptualised by Narendra Modi in 2004 -- have generated employment and awareness among people. The trees outside forests contribute R5,000 crore annually in terms of tangible benefits to the economy, the release added.

This is perhaps the first time a state is engaging private agencies to publicise their regular events. Samvit Das of Mutual PR said Modi has engaged the firm for publicising its achievements.

“The Gujarat CM and his team are active in the media. They are also tech-savvy which helps,” he said.

Other states have also engaged private agencies to publicise big events, but not regular events.

With Madhya Pradesh way behind Gujarat in many indices, will Gujarat’s PR campaign adversely affect chances of BJP government in MP in the coming elections? BJP spokesperson and MLA Vishwas Sarang said the Gujarat government efforts to publicise their achievements will not be detrimental to the BJP government’s prospects in MP.

“Good work of BJP governments anywhere should be informed to the country so that they can be replicated elsewhere,” he said.

Should the MP government also showcase its achievements in Gujarat? “We should tell the whole country,” the BJP leader replied.

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