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Big B bats for Samajwadi Party

Wednesday 21 April 2004, by SUBRAMANIAN*Nithya

New Delhi , April 21: THE Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has assembled motley of stars from the saas-bahu serials, the Congress has lined up its own list of film stars, but the Samajwadi Party has roped in the biggest of them all - Amitabh Bachchan, the Superstar of the Millennium.

Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party is embarking on a series of television ads in which, the Big B talks about a Shining Uttar Pradesh, without directly talking about the Samajwadi Party. Only a voiceover at the end of the ad asks people to vote for the party which will make `Uttar Pradesh an Uttam Pradesh.’

Bachchan, in a recent television interview, had mentioned that he would not campaign for any political party. However, the Bollywood star has been associated with the Samajwadi Party chief. In October last year, the UP Cabinet had constituted the UP Development Council to look into the vertical development of the State. Besides Bachchan, leading industrialists including Mr Kumar Manglam Birla, Mr Anil Ambani, Mr Adi Godrej, Mr M.S. Banga and Mr K.V. Kamath were appointed members.

In this ad, the film star speaks about the importance of Uttar Pradesh and says that `Bharat Uday’ is not possible without progress in the State. According to advertising industry sources, the Samajwadi Party campaign has been created by Percept Advertising.

Senior ad industry officials said that this is perhaps the first regional party to advertise on national channels. "So far, the Congress and BJP are the only parties that have been using the Hindi mass entertainment channels such as Star Plus, Zee or Sony. Others such as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have been active at the regional level." They also added that in the next few weeks the political parties are only going to raise their advertising pitch.

"The exit and opinion polls are going to play a crucial role in determining the advertising strategy for the political parties. It will have an impact on the exposure and intensity of ads," they added.

Meanwhile, the confusion on the issue of airing political ads on the eve of poll dates remains. While the Supreme Court had said that all political advertising should stop 48 hours prior to polling, television channels said that they cannot selectively block ads in States where voting is to take place. Hence, while some channels pulled off the ads before the first phase, others continued to carry them.

See online : The Hindu

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