The BJP government has begun reaching out to South Indian media persons in Delhi. It comes at a time when Assembly elections are due in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala in 2021. Additionally, the BJP government is on shaky grounds in Karnataka too. This is the first time in six years that BJP functionaries have met only South Indian reporters.
Coming in the backdrop of BJP’s less-than-satisfactory performance in both Haryana and Maharashtra, BJP’s functionaries said they would look into giving special media bytes to media houses from South India.
At the meeting, there were reporters from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Kerala. BJP National General Secretary Muralidhar Rao and Bihar BJP spokesperson Sanjay Mayukh met around 70 reporters from all major media houses in south India.
At press conferences and meetings organised by BJP for the last six years, Hindi has been the only medium of instruction and conversation. In fact, signboards and even the menu at the canteen in the BJP office are only in Hindi. Several reporters from south India had been complaining about this to the BJP leadership for a few years now.
As a result of BJP’s language bias, the saffron party had realised that its messages were not reaching effectively. At the meeting, both Rao and Mayukh promised that henceforth there would always be an English press conference after the Hindi conference. The BJP leaders also promised that they would send our comments and press releases in English too. Until now, BJP has been sending press releases mostly in Hindi only.
Most often, after press conferences, BJP leaders give bytes to mostly north Indian journalists and usually only in Hindi, even if a reporter from south India requested otherwise. Mayukh said that all the leaders would give south Indian reporters bytes in English henceforth.
This appeasement comes after BJP has been struggling to get a mass base in south Indian states but hasn’t happened so far. Unlike how BJP has been able to convince reporters in north India that they have been working only in the nation’s interest, south Indian media has been generally critical of Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, with a few exceptions.
BJP hopes with these changes, they will get favourable coverage in these five states.