AP poll scene hots up as parties try to take ad-vantage

Move over road shows and public meetings. This is the season for bone-tickling politically loaded advertisements that are being bombarded on the common man.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Published:March 3, 2009 11:51 am

* A silhouette,identified by the beard and heavy voice as of N Chandrababu Naidu,is being interviewed by an invisible journalist.

“Your opinion on Congress survey which says that it will win?”

“Not only the Congress survey,every survey shows that Congress will win,” replies the silhouette.

“Will the grand alliance benefit TDP or Congress?”

“It will benefit Congress only because it is not going to benefit anybody else.”

“Your opinion about YSR?”

“Politically,I may be opposed to him but personally,I admire him. I have been left with the image of an information technology Chief Minister,he has got the image of one who cares for the poor.”

* Two little birds are wondering: “What is the difference between former president Musharraf and YSR?” “Musharraf intended to stay on as president forever anyhow,YSR intends to stay on as the king of corruption.”

“Who between the two is great?”

“Definitely,YSR because he supports all the corrupt officials,he is there for his son’s Saakshi (newspaper) too.”

“What happens to such a chief minister?”

“People who are concerned about their families,their lives and their state will throw him out.”

Move over road shows and public meetings. This is the season for bone-tickling politically loaded advertisements that are being bombarded daily on a plethora of 24-hour Telugu news channels as parties prepare for elections. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) which started these advertisements has now been joined by the Congress,Praja Rajyam Party and Lok Satta Party.

Everyday,the parties come up with new,out-of-the-box ads while repeating the older ones intermittently which means almost every news bulletin is followed by these political advertisements. Some are serious while others draw guffaws like a Congress advertisement showing itself as an elephant chasing away dogs,that are barking among themselves and throwing mud at one another. The dogs represent all the other parties.

As new ads,reflecting daily developments in the parties and a satire on current affairs,come up daily,they have got audiences hooked to them. Since most of the ads are anonymous,it takes a while to comprehend who released the ad and why.

In one of the advertisements TDP founder late N T Rama Rao is shown venting his anger on his son-in-law and present TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu,calling him a cheat and unreliable. Entitled “NTR Atma Garjana” (NTR soul’s roar),it counters TDP’s “Yuva Garjana” (youth roar) held last year in Guntur. The ad appears to have been issued by the Congress.

While the Congress and TDP have made it very personal,Praja Rajyam’s ads are focusing on lack of development,upliftment of poor and promising change with the punch line “for change,Praja Rajyam”,which is mostly delivered by the film star-turned-politician himself.

Party spokesperson Dr P Mitra Reddy says Chiranjeevi himself is appearing in some ads being shot for release later.

Congress spokesperson Venkateshwara Paladugu says the Congress had to release ads targeting the TDP as the latter had stooped low in its criticism of Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and making personal attacks on him. The TDP,which has also uploaded its TV ad campaign on its website,says it wants to break the bubble that YSR has built around himself as chief minister who cares for the poor. However,it appears to have cornered itself after starting the ad campaign because the Congress camp is using Naidu’s past to nail him.

As election schedules were being declared by the Election Commission on Monday,the Congress released another ad showing a rickety cycle (TDP’s symbol). The message says when the cycle was in power,the state faced droughts and shortage of foodgrains. With the wheel of a fallen cycle rotating slowly,the message cautions voters not to fall into the vicious cycle again.

The ad war will continue even though the model code of conduct has come into force today as all the political parties have already obtained permission from the EC with an assurance that expenditure on the ad campaign would be submitted.

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