It’s official, RG greater than IG greater than JN

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: For the final anniversary of the year of India’s “Family No. 1”—the birth anniversary of the nation’s first woman prime minister Indira Gandhi—there are 70 advertisements amounting to 32 published pages in 12 English newspapers that have been surveyed through the year by sans serif.

With this anniversary, the total number of government ads to mark the three birth and three death anniversaries of the three former prime ministers from the family—Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi—in the year of the lord 2011 goes up to 393.

In effect, the government has bought space amounting to 190¼ pages in the 12 newspapers.

# The Times of India is the biggest beneficiary of the ad blitz to mark the six anniversaries among the general-interest newspapers with 65 published ads followed by Indian Express 62, Hindustan Times 57, The Hindu 42, The Pioneer 41, Mail Today 36, The Statesman 25 and The Telegraph 18 ads.

# The Economic Times and Business Standard top the list of the busines dailies with 14 ads each, followed by the Financial Express with 11 ads. Mint (from the Hindustan Times stable) has received just one ad for the six anniversaries.

# As a group, the Times group has received 79 ads in all, the Express group 73 ads, and the Hindustan Times 58 ads.

While it is natural that ToI and HT should garner so many ads given their large circulations in the national capital, the second place for the Express group is revealing considering it sells less than five per cent of market-leaders ToI and HT in the Delhi market, which both sell in excess of 5 lakh copies.

The tabloid Mail Today, which has the third highest circulation among the Delhi newspapers, too gets fewer ads than the Indian Express.


The affection of various Union ministries, departments and State governments for the three departed leaders of the family is revealing.

While Rajiv Gandhi tops the charts with 177 advertisements amounting to 89 pages for his birth and death anniversaries, Indira Gandhi comes second with 134 ads amounting to 64 pages, followed by Pandit Nehru at a lowly 82 ads amounting to 37¼ pages.


The breakup of the Indira Gandhi ads today are as under:

Hindustan Times: 24-page main issue; 10 Indira ads amounting to 4¼ broadsheet pages

The Times of India: 32-page issue; 11 ads amounting to 4¾ broadsheet pages

Indian Express: 28-page issue; 14 ads amounting to 5¾ broadsheet pages

Mail Today (compact): 42-page issue; 7 ads amounting to 5½ compact pages

The Hindu: 24-page issue; 5 ads amounting to 2 broadsheet pages

The Pioneer: 20-page issue; 8 ads amounting to 3 broadsheet pages

The Statesman: 18-page issue; 6 ads amounting to 2¾ broadsheet pages

The Telegraph: 26-page issue; 0 ads amounting to 0 broadsheet pages


The Economic Times: 16-page main issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¼ broadsheet pages

Business Standard: 18-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1½ pages

Financial Express: 22-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¼ pages

Mint (Berliner): 12-page issue; 0 ads

This computation is only for 12 English newspapers; many other English papers have been left, as indeed has the entire language media which are more numerous than the English ones, several times over.

Among the advertisers wishing the dear departed leader happy birthday this year are the ministries of information and broadcasting, commerce and industry, steel, women and child development, health and family welfare, culture, water resources, statistics and programme implementation, north eastern region, micro small and medium enterprises, social justice and empowerment.

The state governments advertising their love are those of Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. Besides, there are ads of the national commission for women.


Last year, on the 19th death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the historian Ramachandra Guha wrote in an edit-page article in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.”

Also read: Nehru birthday: 58 ads amounting to 26¼ pages

Nehru death anniversary: 24 ads over 11 pages

Rajiv birthday: 108 ads across 48 pages

Rajiv death anniversary: 69 ads, 41 pages in 12 papers

Indira Gandhi birthday: 64 ads, 32 pages

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10 Responses to “It’s official, RG greater than IG greater than JN”

  1. Law of Omerta Says:

    “govt. of the troll, by the troll, for the troll” …. a new meaning of democracy in the Internet age. Just as a troll leaves silly comments in order to attract response, a govt. that has run out of ideas unleashes a jamboree of ads (paid for by the taxpayer) in order to attract attention of voters.

    next time you go to buy vegetables, just remember that the price is so high because govt. is taxing every sector of the economy to death in order to pay for all these ads.

    the leaders are totally out of touch with the people. they don’t understand that so many ads are going to annoy the voters. we are not going to vote on the basis of the pictures we see in newspapers, we are going to vote on basis of quality of governance.

  2. mallanna Says:

    well hope the media makes more noise than what was made on mayavati’s parks. At least the parks serve as tourist attractions.

  3. Venkatarama Muthuswami Says:

    Sonia MMS Inc managed UPA leased Delhi sarkar has long obtained the writ to do whatever they want in the name of our great democracy. And there are thousands of pseudo intellectuals supporting the regime either acting as national advisers of many kinds, or just pure and simple Chamchas (e.g. DVSingh of foot in the mouth fame; or some Mahesh Tiwari who does not seem to need any brief or background to say anything because he considers himself as supra-duper of 21st century; etc.).

    So, all we the simple tax paying voters and especially senior citizens have to do is to vote and count the stars, or buy the above quoted newspapers for collecting filth and shit that is thrown around to make our surroundings & environment somewhat tread-able.

    I am not cynical, but please let me know what do we do to make our democracy to be really the voice of the people for real growth and development: where we have decent schools in every village for children; a working primary public health care centre in every village where it is safe to deliver baby; access to clean potable water; access to sanitation and toilet for every one; clean village tanks, ponds, rivers in the villages with knowledge and skills to conserve rain water and other available source; good roads connecting to the near by towns and villages, that can be used by motorised vehicles;

    Minimum this is the kind of a day any normal Indian should be able to wake up and conduct her/his daily affairs. That was the dream of Robindranath Tagore.

    It is possible provided the looting of public wealth stops.

  4. Suneel Sardana,President Says:

    The entire amount being spent by various physofants/CHAMCHAS state & central govt.ministries be recovered from the concerned ministers from their foreign secret accounts & by liquidating their Indian bank accounts & assets.What rights these shameless ministers have got to waste the national resources & funds? Why should not I & people like me file civil,economice & criminal cases against all these spineless ministers?
    IT IS SHAME,SHAME & SHAME—————————.
    I am ashamed of living in India being citizen of India which is headed by most spineless P.M.ManmohanSingh? I would like to seek explanation of uncrowned Queen of India Sonia&prince Rahul Gandhi on such huge wastage of National wealth & resources.

  5. richardw Says:

    It is an irony that the Cong. has chosen to use a quote pertaining to secularism and democracy – one was ruined by the same party after her death through the 1984 anti-sikh pogrom and the other by herself through imposing emergency. Hypocrites all !!

  6. Vijay Says:

    This is 3rd world India!

  7. Pramathesh Palchoudhary Says:

    WOW!! Brilliant exposure. But all goes in vain since we Indians are so resilient to change.

  8. Simple Says:

    Sheer Stupidity. Somebody needs to tell Cong president that this kind of money will do nothing for the aam admi or for her party.

    Thanks Churumuri for repeatedly highlighting this subject.

    And for all those who berate Churumuri as being soft on Congress, here is proof that it is not.

  9. Jayashree Says:

    Why is it that the name of paternal grand fathers of Rajiv and of Sanjai is not mentioned any where? In our country the Paternal family is more important than the maternal!! For convenience sake!

  10. pdk Says:

    Looking at this as a taxpayer-sponsored pitch to voters is, in my opinion, wrong. If they were targeting the next election in UP, then why put it in Deccan Herald too?

    No, this is a payout to media for positive coverage. Looked at it way, it is pretty clear that all government ads are mostly for this purpose. I remember the ‘Shining India’ ads and how I used to cringe.

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