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The new ad from AAP appeals to the emotional side of viewers and mentions Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal no less than eight times in 90 seconds. Photo: HT
The new ad from AAP appeals to the emotional side of viewers and mentions Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal no less than eight times in 90 seconds. Photo: HT

AAP government under fire for new ‘political’ ad

The ad, which went on air starting Wednesday, blames opposition parties and 'dishonest' rivals for stalling AAP's anti-corruption work

New Delhi: “Hamaare liye toh Kejriwal bahut hi madadgaar ban kar aaye hai" (Kejriwal has been very helpful for us.)

“Kejriwal ne Delhi mei bharashtachaar khoob kam kar diya hai" (Kejriwal has drastically reduced corruption in Delhi.)

“Saare beimaan ikatthe ho kar Kejriwal ke peeche haath dho kar pad gaye hai" (All the dishonest have come together and are after Kejriwal.)

“Khud se kuch hota nahi hai, saare mil kar Kejriwal ke peeche pade hain" (They themselves cannot do anything but are after Kejriwal.)

“Roz bhagwaan se dua maangti hoon, hamaare Arvind ko salamat rakhna" (I pray to God every day that he protects Arvind.)

Slogans plucked from an election campaign? Not quite, the lines are actually from an advertisement put out on television by Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. The ad, which went on air starting Wednesday, appeals to the emotional side of viewers and mentions Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal no less than eight times in its 90 seconds.

The advertisement from the Delhi government—embroiled in controversies and fighting a pitched battle with the centre—blames opposition parties and “dishonest" rivals for stalling its anti-corruption work and praises Kejriwal.

In the advertisement, telecast widely but especially on news channels, a woman doing her daily chores launches into a monologue about how all political parties are against AAP, or more particularly against Kejriwal, while the chief minister tries to improve the state of Delhi.

Opposition parties said AAP was losing its vision of development and focusing on a political campaign funded by government money.

“This advertisement will damage the AAP more because it will constantly remind people about the promises made by the party... The advertisement is an attempt to bypass the strictures of Supreme Court on political advertisements. It is also an attempt by AAP to deflect attention from the ongoing crisis within AAP," said Sanjay Kaul, spokesperson of the BJP’s Delhi state unit.

“The AAP leadership had promised to be something which they are not. The law minister is facing fraud charges, a previous law minister was involved in violence against his wife and running dubious websites," Kaul added.

“To begin with, the claim that they have ended bribery is a false claim. But above all, they should rather focus on governance issues instead of putting all their attention on publicity. I see this advertisement as a weak attempt to make up for their credibility deficit," said Kiran Walia, senior Congress leader and former Delhi minister.

A political analyst said the AAP runs the risk of being seen as running a political campaign disguised as a government advertisement.

“It is an out-and-out political advertisement telecast using government money and it definitely is not in good taste. AAP appealed to the voters that it was different from mainstream political parties and here too, it is expected to set high standards for other political parties, which gets defeated with this advertisement," N. Bhaskara Rao, a New Delhi-based political analyst and founder-chairman of the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), said.

A senior Delhi government official, requesting anonymity, defended the ad: “Why should we not talk about Kejriwal (in the ad)? He is the one who has been fighting the battle of corruption. The issues of water, electricity—all have been picked up by him and no one else."

Before the Delhi assembly elections in February, AAP’s audio-visual campaign was based mainly on the theme of how other political parties, especially the BJP and the Congress, were conspiring to malign the work done by AAP.

AAP was elected with a historic mandate, winning 67 out of 70 seats. According to Rao, advancing the same narrative of “all against one" could be an indicator of “political desperation".

Gyan Varma contributed to the story.

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