Akalis pull Badals out of ads,Congress to show less of Capt

TV ads starring Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh - the print and radio spots do not feature him but fictional characters Jeeta and Jaggi - the number will be curtailed to fewer ads per day.

Written by Sukhdeep Kaur | Chandigarh | Published:January 16, 2012 3:53 am

Ads,print or TV,appearing in candidates’ constituencies to be debited to their individual accounts: CEO

They are the face of their party’s poll campaign in Punjab. But the Election Commission’s diktat that advertisements featuring star campaigners,who are also candidates,will be debited in their individual expense limit of Rs 16 lakh,has resulted in faces of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal going out of ads. In case of TV ads starring Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh – the print and radio spots do not feature him but fictional characters Jeeta and Jaggi – the number will be curtailed to fewer ads per day.

“Whether it is print or audio-visual advertisement,if it appears in the respective constituencies of star campaigners,117th part of it (there are 117 constituencies in the state) will be charged to the individual accounts as candidates,” says Chief Electoral officer,Punjab,Kusumjit Sidhu.

The EC’s directive has landed both Congress and Akali Dal in a piquant situation as it will mean no ads in newspapers or television channels which are streamed across the state. The Akali Dal has reacted sharply to the directive terming it as unfair. “Earlier,the expense of star campaigners was not added to individual accounts of candidates. Like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,even CM Badal and Deputy CM Sukhbir are heading the party in the state. Just because Sonia and Rahul are not candidates,their pictures will be debited to the party account whereas those of Badals,who too are star campaigners for the Akali Dal,will be charged to their accounts. Its unfair and I have written three different letters to the EC but have got no response from them. Since we are on a winning wicket,we have decided to be over-cautious and remove the face of the Badals from the print ads till such time as the matter is resolved,” Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral,who is handling the Akali Dal’s ad campaign says.

As for the TV ads,the party says the Badals were even earlier not a part of the electronic ads.

The Congress,which has only recently shot short films with poll star Amarinder by hiring a Mumbai ad firm,Leo Stride,that is behind some of the recent hit numbers of Bollywood star Salman Khan,will now be showing less of the TV ads that star him. The ads were to start streaming from January 15 on regional as well as some national channels.

“I have asked for my pictures to be removed in my constituency,Patiala. As for newspaper and radio spots,its not me but Jeeta and Jaggi who feature in them. For TV ads we have sought clarification from EC,” Amarinder said.

But the party has its strategy in place. “Since the number of TV ads showing Amarinder will be divided by 117 to be debited to his individual account,we will bring down the number of TV ads showing him per day.

So more ads featuring the PM Manmohan Singh,Sonia and Rahul will be shown to meet the budgetary limit of the EC,” said a manager of the Congress ad campaign.

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