Decision following lack of patronage: Editor
Barring the Congress, there is no political party in Tamil Nadu that is said to be at a disadvantageous position when it comes to disseminating information and the party’s point of view on all major issues to its constituent-readers.
Major political parties run satellite channels, besides dailies. The two Communist parties in the State, for instance, have their own newspapers in Tamil — Theekathir of the CPI(M) and Janasakthi of the CPI.
Till early March this year, the State Congress also had a Tamil fortnightly Desiya Murasu, packed with information that also provided fodder for Congress men to defend their party’s position on various issues. It has just been shut down for want of patronage.
“It was run purely on subscriptions by party men and never was sent to news stands. As party men failed to review their subscriptions, I had no option but to close it down,” said A. Gopanna, Editor of the fortnightly, launched in 2008 with the support of Union Minister G.K. Vasan.
As most of its subscribers were Vasan loyalists, the magazine gave ample space for him while accommodating in detail issues and views of the Congress party. “But they also kept away from the magazine for reasons well known to them,” said Mr. Gopanna. When the magazine, started with a circulation of 12,000 copies, had reached its fifth year of publication, Mr. Gopanna wrote letters to 500 Congressmen across the State, seeking support.
“There was good response and I could run it for another year,” he said. Mr. Gopanna also periodically brought out booklets on major issues such as the Sethusamudram Project, Indo-U.S. nuclear pact and Sri Lankan Tamils issue, providing ammunition for the Congress men who found themselves in the defensive.
Even though he covered in full key public meetings of the Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, and allotted over 15 pages for his speech on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, his supporters too did not come forward to help keep the magazine going.
“We have Ministers from Tamil Nadu holding important portfolios at the Centre. But neither the party unit nor the Ministers took the initiative to release advertisement to sustain the magazine,” regretted Mr. Gopanna, who earlier co-edited Navasakthi, a publication re-launched by the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) led by the late G.K. Moopanar.
In the past, Navasakthi, as a daily, was edited by noted Tamil writer Jayakanthan, before its closure.