Massive public expenditure on self publicity by CMs and their governments sans accountability

Devsagar Singh

Blowing their own trumpets to publicize themselves spending massive public money is a favorite pastime with all governments cutting across  political divide. What is surprising, however, is that there is no public spirited person or organization to raise their voice against this practice of squandering  away scarce resources which could be better utilized on welfare schemes .

 If one is to go by paid advertisements highlighting “achievements” of the governments in power, the people have nothing to worry  with all the states  making steady progress in all conceivable areas.  Expensive full-page ads in newspapers and lengthy visuals on TV screens  have  unmissable  smiling pictures of chief ministers and their party leaders. The print version must come out loud and clear in the national capital so that the political bosses watch it with glee. It is another matter if the people for whom the stuff is meant ignore the same with disdain.

 Let us begin with Arvind Kejriwal,  Delhi’s popular Chief Minister  who is never tired of publicizing his face come what may. His advertisements come all the year round on anything and everything that matters. This rainy season has exposed his claims of Delhi being the most beautified city. Waterlogging  on major arteries has made life miserable for commuters whenever there is   rain. Underground sewer lines are choking in large parts of Delhi. Complaints go unattended and there is no accountability. Kejriwal has now blamed the previous governments in Delhi for this state of affairs  and promised to clean up the sewer mess in a few years. Having ruled Delhi for close to seven years in two consecutive terms, was Kejriwal not aware of the situation? Certainly he did, but blowing trumpets for himself and his government was more important.

 Not lagging behind is Kejriwal’s UP counterpart Yogi Adityanath whose massive advertisement blitzkrieg in the national media is unparalleled . The state , according to claims, has done the best in crime control, Covid-19 management, infrastructure development , industrialization and even employment.  He has the blessings of his party’s top leaders under whose guidance he says he has achieved the unachievable. Unlike Kejriwal, Yogi has the upcoming assembly elections in mind. It is to be seen how this  self publicity sways the voters.

 West Bengal tigress Mamata Banerjee is no different for that matter. We have seen during the Assembly elections earlier this year how she galavanised the whole publicity machinery to claim massive developments of the state under her regime.  State after state, it is the same story –be it Congress  CM Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh or JMM’s  Hemant Soren in Jharkhand.

This practice of self publicity at massive public cost  seems to have gained ground after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014. The BJP’s runaway success apparently nudged all other parties to follow suit. There may be lack of resources for healthcare, education etc, but never for self publicity of governments and their leaders. It is difficult to believe that this has escaped the notice of public spirited leaders like anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare whose protege once  was  none other than Arvind Kejriwal .

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