DailyPost 2279

That one day democracy would be turned into an open arena of advertisements, in different forms, ways, and displays was beyond anybody’s imagination. The wining over hearts and minds of people have literally got into undemocratic way in the conventional use of the term and democratic practice. Advertisements keep on cropping up in political debates on a regular basis gives us a clear idea, that is has become a well-established tool of politics and governance. No political party or the government is ready to let if off, it is becoming more and more intense by the day, marketing end to end is the new political avatar, or a mass based universal franchise democracy.

The tax payer pays for every single element of democracy, necessary, fanciful, lavish or serving purely political and vested agendas. Some advertisements, more by way of field publicity for schemes and facilities have been happening for decades. Even some ads always been there during our national festivals. The reasoning of all these have never been questioned because presumably there was nothing to question. The was barely any impact of it on politics and funds spent on this activity was also small and could be treated as another activity of governance.

The governments either kept changing or remained stable for a variety of reasons and publicity was never treated as a major contributor to victory or loss, not even a minor one. The realisation of political parties that the results of elections can be made dependent on a media blitzkrieg was the initiation of the travesty of democracy. All parties are guilty of it. The advertisements of yesteryears and campaigning of today are totally different. The governments outreach through advertisements have taken a different methodology and more often than not it has political overtones. The multimedia campaign end to end has become the curse of Indian democracy.

Creating perception is now the name of the game. If political campaigning is treated like marketing, then all what is being done preceding the elections is an advertisement / marketing campaign. The so-called poll strategists use technology too in a big way to get eye balls and make them favourable by hook or by crook. Slogans, jingles and all the props that come with it. The total quantum of govt ads are just adding up and taxpayers’ money is being squandered. The figures are mindboggling and so is the quality of ads. The geography does not matter, any government can put it’s ads anywhere, in any unconnected state or area. The focus in on branding, that every shot matters and so does every campaign. From hoardings to social media it’s the same story all over the day.

Sanjay Sahay

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