Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The abstract content of these AICC ads....

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference. 
You wake up in the morning and pick up the newspaper. Front page advertisement shows Rahul Gandhi in a serious pose, along with some 8-10 folks, with a slogan that seldom makes sense.
Congress shamelessly steals leaf out of NDA's book, claims credit
You complete reading the newspaper and switch on TV – chances of a Rahul Gandhi centric advertisement playing during the ad breaks on any channel are near 100 per cent. In vernacular channels, we have Yuva Congress karyakartas telling us how awesome Rahul Gandhi is.
You get ready for office, start your car, switch on the radio hoping to listen to some nice songs and pleasant conversations. You are bombarded with two kinds of ads – One is Bharat Nirman and the other one says how awesome Rahul Gandhi is.
While driving to office, you will come across at least two large flexi posters of Rahul Gandhi in a pose that says he is the deepest and greatest thinker of all time. Again mostly in vernacular.
Congress shamelessly steals leaf out of NDA's book, claims credit

In office cafeterias, news channels are generally shown on TV. You sit for breakfast/lunch/snacks/coffee – at any given point of time, within 10 minutes, either a Bharat Nirman ad or a “Rahul Gandhi is awesome” ad is shown.

To unwind, you open a youtube video, “Rahul Gandhi at FICCI” ad comes up.
Phew! At the end of the day, you become so frustrated with these ads that you might end up not switching on the radio or the TV!
So you might ask – what is wrong in this marketing strategy? After all, don’t they have to sell their ideas? Here’s what is wrong with the ads:
The UPA Government, in one of their Bharat Nirman advertisements claims credit for “Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana” and “Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan”. This is chicanery at its best. Both these schemes were started by the NDA Government. It is a known thing that NDA Government focus on infrastructure improvement led to tremendous opportunities for various strata of the society. The Gram Sadak Yojana initiated and implemented by NDA made sure that villagers are well connected to main centres of trade. For the UPA to claim that their achievement lies in merely continuing this programme shows their sorry state of affairs. Similar is the story with Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan – the NDA started this and the UPA is now merely claiming credit to just continuing it!
Also note, how the NDA did not name these programmes after any random leader. Imagine if the UPA ever came up with such schemes – one would have been named after Indira and the other would have been named after Rajiv Gandhi. The UPA Government and Rahul Gandhi leave no stone unturned in claiming credit for bring in RTI and RTE. They even claim it to be one of the cures of all the ills plaguing our country. One might even get tired of listening to “We bought RTI. We bought RTE”. Here are two facts – the precursor to RTI was the Freedom to Information Act, 2002. Right to Education was included as a Fundamental Right in the Constitution in 2002. Guess who was in power in 2002? The NDA Government – the UPA took it’s own sweet time (7 years after RTE was first envisaged in the Constitution) to come up with the finer details of RTE. It made changes to Freedom to Information Act and called it the RTI. Both these concepts were not envisaged by the awesome Rahul Gandhi and co.
Finally, we come to the Rahul Gandhi ad blitzkrieg. Here’s a fundamental question – what exactly do those slogans mean? For example – “Not suggestions, results”. What does this mean? When it is his party that ruled India for 17+16+5+5+10 = 53 years since Independence, who is this directed at? Who is stopping at giving suggestions? Who is showing results? His own party has been in power for 10 years since his debut – so against whom are these rhetorical and abstract slogans directed at? To whom is kattar soch nahi, yuva josh directed towards? Or consider this – “Not politics, responsibility”. Are we to seriously believe that the Congress does not play politics? Or are we to seriously believe that Rahul Gandhi takes up responsibility?
Rahul Gandhi thundered at the AICC plenary recently – the Congress does not depend on a single person. And yet, day in and day out, all we see are ads that portray Rahul Gandhi as the awesome leader we ever had. The characters in the ad say that they are associated with “Rahul Gandhi’s yuva josh/shakti” – yet not a single question to the Congress by journalists on how blatant can Rahul Gandhi lie? All of the ads DO NOT have a single picture of the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi. Not a single picture. Is Rahul Gandhi so afraid of being associated with them and their rule? Is Rahul Gandhi wary of using their names while promoting the Congress? Is Rahul Gandhi so ego-minded that he does not what to share space with the Prime Minister and his own party’s president? Or does Rahul Gandhi think the people of India are so dumb that they will look at him and all that his Government did in the last 10 years, separately?
The costs for such an ad blitzkrieg must be monumental. There is no way that the Government of India is spending Rs 175 crore on the Bharat Niraman ads. We don’t even have an estimate on how much the Congress is spending on these ads – surely front page ads in every single newspaper of the country; prime time ads in every single news channel of the country – these don’t come cheap at all. There needs to be a debate on both the content and cost of these ads – neither of which our TV channels will do. We just need to wait for the day the discourse gets better.


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