Aamra ekhon-o boli ni kon kagoj porte hobe, kintu agami dine kintu setao bole debo. (Till now, we haven’t told which newspapers must be read, but in the future, we will do that as well.) — West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, speaking on March 29 in defense of her government’s decision to bar all but 13 newspapers from more than 2,400 government-approved libraries across the state.
“Kunal Ghosh, associate editor of Sambad Protidin, a Bengali newspaper, Nadimul Haque, owner of the Urdu newspaper Akbar-e-Mashrique and Vivek Gupta, director of Sanmarg, a Hindi daily, have been nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, on Trinamool Congress tickets.”– Indian Express, March 18
Ms. Banerjee seems to have adopted a divide-and-rule strategy when it comes to managing her public image, using hostility on one hand and appeasement on the other to counter a recent flood of bad press. The combination of banning some of the state’s most widely-read newspapers from libraries, while naming journalists from favored papers to cushy political spots seems designed to improve her public image.