There has been a growth of almost 40% in the circulation of magazines linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since the BJP government rode to power in 2014.
The publishers of Organiser in English and the Panchajanya in Hindi, considered as the mouthpieces of the Sangh, however assert that the growth has been an outcome of a concerted “publicity exercise and revamped content and design over the past five years”.
Data available with HT shows that the publications registered a growth of 10% for Panchajanya and 28 % for Organiser between 2013 and 2014, but there after, Panchajanya’s jump has been over 65%. Its circulation of 60,000 in 2014 reached 100,00 in 2017; while the Organiser’s numbers have gone up from 18,000 to 25,000 , or 39% for the same period.
Editors of both the publications have been quick to disassociate the growth to the BJP being in power.“It is not a sudden increase, but an outcome of a systematically carried out plan, which includes targeting specific readership and running campaigns,” Prafulla Ketkar, editor of the Organiser told HT.
“We can’t grow on the basis of government support; we are using the organisational approach to expand.”
Panchajanya’s editor Hitesh Shankar echoed this view. He also attributed the growing popularity to its “data based and factual journalism”.
Both publications, which have had on their editorial board senior BJP leaders such as former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani and KR Malkani, have also gained as beneficiaries of advertisements from public sector units including the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI