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Jaya govt launches ad blitzkrieg as it turns one

Last updated on: May 16, 2012 18:51 IST

Jaya govt launches ad blitzkrieg as it turns one

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The extensive floral arrangements on the floor of the Tamil Nadu Assembly said it all. The Jayalalithaa government in the state had turned one and it was time to celebrate.

Opposition parties in the assembly except for former ally Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam too chose to sing praises of 'Amma', as Jayalalithaa is addressed, with her colleagues not willing to miss the party.

Having trumped arch rival Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam last year in a closely fought battle for supremacy, Jayalalithaa ascended to power with the promise of setting right DMK's follies, mainly in power and the law and order fronts.

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Image: The ad that appeared in several English dailies


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'Turned the path of thorns into one of flowers'

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She has claimed fair success in both these areas though opposition parties beg to differ on the power cut scenario.

Jayalalithaa used the occasion to train her guns against arch rival DMK and its ally Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, saying she had to convert hurdles into stepping stones to record many achievements in the first year in office.

"Having overcome the debt burden left by the DMK and its mismanagement in the departments of finance, power and administration besides the indifferent attitude of the Centre, we have turned the path of thorns into one of flowers," she said.

Her government had swum against the current to achieve, she said, while recalling various pro-poor initiatives of her government.

"One Year of Achievements Hundred Years Leap Forward" read the headlines of the full front-page advertisements, that also carried a full-size picture of the chief minister and listed out the pro-poor welfare measures launched by her.

Almost all English dailies published carried a four-page 'jacket' ad in their today's editions issued by the state Director of Information and Public Relations.

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Image: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa


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Allies, small parties and Left heap praise on Jayalalithaa

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On the floor of the assembly, allies and small parties like Republican Party of India and All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi heaped praises on Jayalalithaa for her performance over the year, recalling and highlighting key resolutions on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, besides her various announcements through suo motu statements on housing, health care and transport.

Amma's first line of men, Speaker D Jayakumar and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam sung songs in praise of her, which was greeted with loud thumping of the desks even as it was evident that most of the speakers had burnt the midnight oil to lace their address with adjectives and anecdotes lauding her.

Former allies, the Left parties, also had words of praise for the AIADMK government completing one year in office. She dedicated all the good words to people who chose her party.

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Photographs: Babu/Reuters

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Cityscape dotted by flex-boards and AIADMK flags

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The DMDK, whose leader Vijayakant and Jayalalithaa were involved in a verbal duel in the previous session, chose to act to its allotted role of principal opposition party.

Party whip V C Chandrakumar was critical of the government amid strong opposition from treasury benches even as the speaker warned of expunging some remarks before he allowed the former to proceed following Jayalalithaa's intervention.

The DMDK member charged the government with letting down the people by revising bus fares, hiking price of milk and increasing power tariff.

Meanwhile, the cityscape was dotted by flex-boards and AIADMK flags to mark the day even as scores of Amma loyalists turned up in good numbers enroute her way to office and in the secretariat.

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Image: An artist applies the finishing touches to the portrait of Jayalalithaa
Photographs: Reuters

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15 crore spent on ads

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The media campaign, however, came in for some criticism with Communist Party of India saying it was "unacceptable" and a waste of public money to promote the image of a political leader.

The advertisements also appeared in some Tamil newspapers, but not in the ones owned by the opposition DMK family members.

According to sources, the TN government had spent nearly Rs 15 crore for the ads, while they had set a budget of Rs 25 crore.

The state government advertisements listed out the various measures taken by the AIADMK regime under the caption "The Road Travelled - 2011-2012".

Some of the "achievements" in the Jayalalithaa ad are mostly AIADMK's election promises. They included the distribution of free rice, mixer-grinders, gold for mangal-sutras, cows and goats.

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta lamented that it has become the latest culture of the people in power to waste people's money to "brighten" his or her image.

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy said the money spent on the advertisements could have been utilised for some other purpose and asked where the money came from.


Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar

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