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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Expressing happiness over the growing BJP membership in West Bengal, party chief Amit Shah on Tuesday asserted that this “workforce” would defeat the Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in the state.

Addressing the ‘Maha-sampark Abhiyan’ in the twin city of Howrah, Shah urged party workers for building a strong organisation to enable the Bharatiya Janata Party to govern from panchayat to parliament.

“He expressed happiness at the growing number of party members and asserted this workforce would defeat Banerjee and her Trinamool in Bengal,” party national secretary S.N.Singh told media persons.

The BJP president also said that “until the details of all 11 crore members are stored in the BJP database and the party’s ideology is etched in their hearts, the hard work achieved will go waste.”

“We all need to focus on reaching out to the members through the abhiyan. We will train 15 lakh workers for building a strong organization which will help the party in election machinery and also the key ideology of party of building strong India,” Shah was quoted as saying in a party release.

“With the help of strong organization, we will be able to govern right from panchayat to parliament,” he said.

The BJP chief also asserted the trained workforce was not “a demonic force” like the Trinamool but “a nationalist force that would contribute towards nation building”.

Listing the “24” Narendra Modi government schemes including the likes of Jan-Dhan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao et al, Shah asked the party workers to spread awareness of the schemes among the common masses and reach out to them.

Party activists and leaders from West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, attended the meet.

Among the leaders present were Arjun Munda, Ram Lal and Babul Supriyo among others.

Shah also held meetings with leaders from the various eastern states to chalk out plans for the party’s growth in the region.

Interacting with media persons, party leader Arun Singh said the eastern region membership has grown 5-15 percent in the last one year.

“Our aim is not to just increase the party membership or to stay in power. Our aim is to build a nationalist force that will work towards nation and society building,” he said.

(With inputs from IANS)

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AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 percent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 percent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons
According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons
The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)