Tuesday February 20, 2018
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The AAP commercial: Is it an effort to create a personality cult for ‘Hamarey Arvind’

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By Shilpika Srivastava

Opening scene: A saree-clad woman grabs her purse, goes to a vegetable vendor and buys vegetables. However, maybe it’s an irony of middle-class house-maker, she falls short on money and sadly returns back one of the vegetables that she planned to buy.

Next scene: Bijli ka bill aaya hai! Smiling, she shows her newspaper-reading, chai-sipping husband her electricity bill. And all thanks goes to the Arvind Kejriwal Government. (Is the lady ignorant of the fact that the tariff shot up by 6 per cent this Monday?)

The above scenes are small glimpses from the recently launched TV advertisement by the Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party which is amusingly trying to highlight the achievements of the government.

Throughout this advertisement, a voice-over recounts those old and tough days before the AAP government and how the lady would cry alone and think of how she’ll manage to pay the bills and run the home.

What’s wrong with the ad?

The two-minute advertisement tried hard to focus on Delhi government’s achievements but instead ended up being self-congratulatory and sexist.

The commercial disproves of a new kind of politics that the party had initially promised. Rather, the advertisement has indeed turned out to be a model of political corruption that takes roots in almost all political parties across the country.

In the light of 6% power tariff hike in Delhi, the advertisement is misleading and is loosely trying to cover up the reality.

What’s more disturbing?

What’s actually bothersome in this ad is the audacious abuse of public funds to create a personality cult for ‘Hamarey Arvind’. The commercial is trying to show that the whole world is conspiring against the CM and he is the only honest man left alive in this world who can curb down corruption and promise real ‘Acchhe Din’ to people. In fact, the ad is boldly trying to portray Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal as the saviour.

In addition, the commercial is an unabashed infringement of the Supreme Court guidelines that states that any government should avoid the glorification of political personalities in their advertisements. The order also expounds that there should be no use of public funds for the projection of parties and their leaders.

The ad has also attracted strong criticism from many political leaders.

The ad ends with, ‘Hey Bhagwan, hamaarey Arvind ko salaamat rakhey.‘ (Oh lord, keep my Arvind safe).

PS: The background music in the commercial is the opening notes of Peter Cetera’s Glory Of Love which was the theme song in Karate Kid.

Watch the ad here.

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

  • Neeru Bahl

    The advt is not sexist. It shows the reality of a typical middle-lower middle class home maker in Delhi. This is how she spends her day, doing household chores and struggling to meet family’s needs within a given budget. So the writer should minutely have a relook on how a lower middle n middle class house wife spends her day in Delhi, And a typical man in Delhi hardly contribute anything in house hold chores except watching TV!

  • Neeru Bahl

    The advt is not sexist. It shows the reality of a typical middle-lower middle class home maker in Delhi. This is how she spends her day, doing household chores and struggling to meet family’s needs within a given budget. So the writer should minutely have a relook on how a lower middle n middle class house wife spends her day in Delhi, And a typical man in Delhi hardly contribute anything in house hold chores except watching TV!

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AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 percent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 percent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons
According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons
The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)