Coming under attack, Ajit Pawar cancels tender for hiring agency for publicity

Our work speaks for us, says Deputy CM office

Faced with criticism for seeking a private agency to handle publicity of his office, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday ordered to cancel the tender.

The State General Administration Department had on Wednesday floated a tender seeking an external agency to look after Mr. Pawar’s publicity across various social media platforms and to disseminate information, increase outreach on public-oriented decisions, and highlight announcements made by his office. The total cost of the tender was pegged at ₹5.98 crore for the year 2021-22.

Mr. Pawar, however, cancelled the order and clarified that his office did not need an independent social media agency. “Our work speaks for us, and we do not require publicity agencies. This office does not need an external agency and the government order regarding the same should be cancelled immediately,” a clarification issued by Mr. Pawar’s office said.

The Deputy CM office further said that Mr. Pawar preferred to work without limelight. “He does not require publicity to highlight his work. Only the government publicity department will take care of ensuring public relations for his office,” it said.

Earlier, Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought cancellation of the order. “The State government cites fund crunch when it comes to paying doctors and nurses but has money to hire a PR agency. It is a highly shameless behaviour,” BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said.

Nationalist Congress Party leader and Minority Affairs Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Nawab Malik, said it was important to ensure the government policies and decisions were popularised in a systematic manner. “Some are pointing fingers at the ₹6 crore expenditure. But they should first look back and check how much money was spent by the previous government and ministers,” he said, pointing out that the money that was planned here was nothing compared to the expenditure by the Central government and the BJP-ruled State governments.

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