Kerala Congress readies to take on Lefts media muscle

New Delhi, Apr 29 | Updated: Apr 30 2007, 05:30am hrs
The Congress in Kerala is set to unleash a star war against its arch-rival the CPI(M), by launching its own television channel, Jai Hind in July. The media blitzkrieg against the reds were being planned by the Congress to counter the Lefts upper hand in the field of media.

The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) will have an absolute control over the channel, KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala said. Chennithala will also be the president of the holding company that owns the channel. KPCC will hold over 50% of the channels shares. This is being done to control the day-to-day operation of the channel. The channel will have an independent view, but will take care of the interests of the Congress and its friends, Chennithala told FE.

The AICC has offered moral support for the launch of the channel, which has a budget of Rs 50 crore. We are not approaching the AICC for financial aid for the time being. But once the channel is launched, we hope to make the AICC a stakeholder as well, Chennithala said. Speaking about channel wars, KPCC spokesperson and director of Jai Hind MM Hassan said The CPI(M)-controlled Malayalam communications Ltd is already running three channels. The CPI is planning to launch another channel. Leader of the Muslim League, MK Muneer, is the chairman of India vision, a news channel.

Hassan said the leadership was thinking about the project for the last two years. With an initial amount of Rs 10 crore, we would be able to start airing the programmes, he added.

West Asia-based Malayali businessmen are also said to be helping KPCC in the venture. Jai Hind Communications Ltd and Bharat Broadcasting Ltd, the major fund-raisers for the channel, will be chaired by Vijayan Thomas and Aniyan Kutti, two non-resident Keralites. Defence minister AK Antony will lay the foundation of the channels studio on May 1. It must be noted in this context that KPCCs newspaper Veekshanam is printed from six places. The CPI(M) launched their channel when they were in power. We are now the Opposition and are launching a channel with assistance from the public, he said.