Behind the BJP's caustic ad campaign: IT kids and central ministers

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 03, 2015 11:28 IST

The BJP advertisements targeting AAP that are appearing in daily newspapers are making a lot of noise in the Capital’s poll season.

The latest, which sought to weld Arvind Kejriwal’s remark with his caste (gotra), has not gone down too well with AAP. The first one that showed a garlanded photo of Anna Hazare, suggesting AAP had killed the anti-graft campaigner’s ideals, had also evoked sharp reactions.

HT found that the ad campaign had initially been planned for the social media and not for the newspapers. But in January, after the party declared Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate, the team behind the campaign thought it could be used to neutralise AAP’s direct attacks on Bedi. It was then decided to use newspapers for their maximum and immediate reach.

Senior BJP leaders told HT that the campaign is the brainchild of the IT cell of the central and Delhi BJP units.

This includes senior ministers who felt that the ads must be tongue-in-cheek to have a better recall value.

A team of 10 people are responsible for deciding the subject and content of the advert. The team meets daily in the evening to decide the next day’s advertisement.

In fact, the party had thought about dropping the campaign after the first ad that appeared on Friday, depicting Anna’s photo, attracted criticism. No ad appeared the next day. “But, our workers told us that the ads got a huge response from the people and we must continue with it,” said a senior BJP leader.

“There is always a course correction mid-way and in this war-like situation, we decided that we should come out with the advertisement in the print media that has a wider reach,” said a senior BJP leader.

Explaining the need for the campaign further, party sources told HT that there was feeling that only a positive campaign of good governance was not enough to take on AAP’s aggressive reachout programme. “In our culture, swearing upon your children is a big issue. Hence, we portrayed it in our first advertisement. It has an emotional connect. We are focussing on AAP’s U-turns only,” the leader said.

The campaign is likely to continue till polling day, February 7, as they are not bound by the model code of conduct, the leader said.

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