Andhra chief minister’s son launches new Telugu daily

March 24th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, March 24 (IANS) A new Telugu daily Sakshi has been launched in Andhra Pradesh by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s son Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who stressed that it would not be a mouthpiece of the Congress party. Aimed at taking on newspapers reportedly supporting political rivals of the ruling Congress, the new daily has been launched at a time when the state is gearing up for next year’s elections.

Sakshi, which means witness, is being brought out in 23 multi-coloured editions by Jagati Publication, of which Jagan Mohan Reddy is the chairman.

US-based Mario Garcia designed Sakshi - the first Telugu daily with all the pages in colour.

The newspaper would be brought out from 19 centres within Andhra Pradesh. Plus, there will be four editions from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

With an aggressive marketing strategy, the newspaper is gearing up to give a tough fight to other dailies.

The ruling party feels that majority of Telugu dailies were biased and claims that Sakshi will be objective and balanced.

Jagan Mohan Reddy, a businessman, reportedly invested Rs.1.2 billion to launch Sakshi, the ninth Telugu daily that will take on established papers like Eenadu, Andhra Jyothi and Vaartha.

Governor N.D. Tiwari launched the new daily at a glittering function Sunday night in the presence of the chief minister and leaders of various political parties, barring the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

YSR, as the chief minister is popularly known, hoped the newspaper would tell the truth without distortion and set new trends in journalism. His son tried to dispel the impression that it would be a mouthpiece of the Congress.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh M. Veerappa Moily, state Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) secretary B.V. Raghavulu, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader K. Narayana, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Bandaru Dattatreya and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi were among the political leaders who attended the function.

B. Ramalinga Raju, chairman of Satyam Group, launched the daily’s web edition. Telugu superstars Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna and sportspersons Pullela Gopichand and Mithali Raj were also present.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu declined to attend the inauguration despite an invitation from the chief minister. The main opposition party has alleged that the Rs.6. billion invested in the newspaper included diversions from public funds and bribes given by irrigation projects’ contractors to the chief minister.

TDP leaders also said that sole purpose of Sakshi was to malign opposition parties. However, Congress leaders felt that there was a need for a newspaper with an impartial policy.

They alleged that the major Telugu dailies were siding with the TDP and carrying reports with “baseless” allegations of corruption in Jalayagnam - the massive irrigation programme - and other development schemes.

The chief minister, on many occasions, targeted some Telugu dailies for carrying such reports. He read out a few such reports in the legislative assembly to show how “biased” these newspapers were.

The ruling party felt that the best way to counter this “onslaught” was to launch its own newspaper. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is an entrepreneur with interests in mining, power generation, construction and cement, also plans to launch a television news channel in Telugu. And like many schemes of the state government, it will be named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

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