May 6 Catchy jingles and video clips highlighting achievements and failures of different political parties have flooded television channels and radio broadcasts in the battleground Bengal this election season, where 42 crucial Lok Sabha seats are up for grabs.
State’s ruling Trinamool Congress was the quickest as it launched a 2.30 minutes music video on April 4, much before its political rivals, and bought slots in a number of Bengali news and entertainment channels for showing it.
The melodious video, launched by party supremo and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is based on the theme of peace, harmony and progress prevailing in the state under the current regime while repeatedly harping on Trinamool’s pet slogan – ‘Maa-Mati-Manush’ (mother-motherland-people).
It talks about how the state welfare schemes like ‘Khadya Sathi’ (food security scheme), ‘Swasthya Sathi’ (group health insurance scheme) or the much acclaimed ‘Kanyashree Prakalpa’ (scheme aimed at preventing child marriage and spreading women’s education) have benefited the common people across all spheres of the society.
Recently, the party has come up with another video hailing the women power. The video shows close ups of a number of women of varying age groups and backgrounds while the voice over talks about the importance of spreading love to defeat “demonic forces”.
“Our advertisements are much more varied compared to the BJP’s and other parties’ ads. Basically, we are providing the content and others are reacting,” Trinamool Congress spokesperson Derek O’Brien told IANS.
In a bid to combat Banerjee’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is targeting at least 23 out of the 42 seats from Bengal this time, has come up with numerous short video capsules of 20-30 seconds, focused entirely on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party’s 2019 election catch line — “Phir ek bar, Modi sarkar” (Modi government once again).
The short video clips, aired on both regional as well as national television channels in Bengal, are on two themes. While a set of videos talk about the development ushered in by the Modi government across the country over the last five years, the other set of clips attempt to contrast it by portraying an alleged atmosphere of fear, violence and lawlessness in Bengal.
Modi, however, is the only BJP leader shown in all the videos and short clips to project him as one standing taller than any other opposition leader. It also shows them as a disparate group of politicians with no unity.
“Most of the advertisement campaigns are being handled from Delhi. We have made Bengal-specific five-six video capsules which are being aired on local channels,” a state BJP leader said.
Though much lower in terms of visibility, Congress and the Left have also launched their own set of election campaign videos on Bengal’s television channels.
An advertisement released by the Congress shows a farmer’s family, fad-up with the “false promises” made by both the state government and the Centre. In the video, the farmer enthusiastically tells his wife and son about Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), the minimum income guarantee scheme promised by the Congress in its election manifesto, and urges the viewers to vote for party’s “the hand” symbol.
The Left parties, which ruled Bengal for 34 straight years before stumbling in front of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in the 2011 state Assembly polls, have also released a series of video clips highlighting the joblessness, lack of investment and “poor” standard of education and healthcare in the state.
“We have asked the people to vote for the Left Front as it is the only alternative to the communal and divisive forces.
“We have released five-six videos. Our target audience is the general people, the people adversely affected by various policies of the central and state governments,” said a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader, in-charge of the party’s campaign in electronic media.