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Political Advertising and India’s Democratic Government

PRAKASH SINGH / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Political advertising is an emerging significant tool/tactic or marketing communication. Now it is ‘used by political parties to communicate with public.’ Purposes are manifolds – (i) to create awareness about relevant political issues, (ii) issues of public interests, to promote, and (iii) to promote government policies and programmes, etc. Political advertising campaign strategy, including ‘print advertising, television, radio advertising, outdoor advertising, online advertising, mobile advertising, and social media advertising services’ have become the core technique of democracy. It is not always limited within the ‘election advertising’. In India, expenditure on advertisement is growing every year. It runs throughout the year and spends lavishly on advertisement and publicity. It has been recorded that government expenditures on ad spending have also been increasing. Many times, it is more than the programme cost. Therefore, we see that political advertising transforms political parties as ‘product’ and voters/public as ‘customers. Use of new technology in the political battlefield is inevitable. Sometimes, it is unethical and illegal for polarization and illusion to mislead the public. Unfortunately, politics in the democratic nation like India are very much like a business where the prime focus is upon influencing of targeted population. Is it good for Indian democracy because ‘Good advertisements cam not hide bad governance.’

Recent time, it has been noted that at present government of India and its chief fully depends on this political advertising campaign strategy in every time and it uses all types of media for publicity of government policies and programmes. A few days before, on the eve of completion of one year of Modi 2.0, the Prime Minister of India wrote an open ‘letter to the Nation’ to publicize the successes of his government. This letter is contradictory and ambiguous so far the subject matter is concerned. At the beginning of his letter, he claims that ‘a golden chapter in the history of Indian democracy has begun.’ But how is it?  When the economic crisis is the biggest challenge to the Nation? He shares mainly secondary issues of success from abolition of 370, Rama Temple issue, gas connection and so forth. He wrote ‘………….lives of millions have been transformed’, and ‘the dignity of the poor was enhanced’. It contradicts when he expresses, the country is ‘besieged with problems amidst a vast population and limited resources.’

Where is the economic success of the country? Where is the success of privatization of public sectors? Where is the success of industrialization? Where is the success of poverty reduction? Where is the success of generation of employment among youth?

He tactically avoids major primary issues of development for which majority of the population is facing numerous problems (social, economic and cultural). Even his government has failed to upgrade poor healthcare system which is the vital problem failed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has been tactically ignored the issue of youth development and unemployment while it is a more urgent issue needed urgent attention to save the most vibrant and major section of the population. Youth of different backgrounds (educated/uneducated, skilled/unskilled) is deprived of opportunity and justice. The rate of unemployment has been increasing daily. The pandemic has been pushing this into a great risk. It is surprising to note that the Prime Minister does not expense a word about the success of Skilling India for which huge revenue was allotted. Therefore, it was just a political advertising. His government is very much purposive to strengthen the hands of corporate through privatization of Railways to Coal Mines. But it is considering the fate of unemployed youth of the Nation. The COVID-19 pandemic has already created the most important survival challenge to the youth. It is the cause of the double burden of loss of  the job and no avenue for the fresher.

Occupational attainment is important for well-being at both the individual and societal levels. But, it has been observed that young people of India enter adulthood with fewer opportunities and less economic security. So, crisis of youth has been always a burden for a healthy society forever. The pandemic has brought structural changes in the economy. Young adults would further face a greater risk of living in poverty than before the pandemic. It would affect the nature of young adults through creating multifarious social indiscipline in the society. It would mislead behavioural change of the youth. It would influence to emerge social, economic and cultural agony in India’s highly rich cultural society. Lack of economic security- loss of a job, low or no income would be impacted on their personal relationships. Economic hardship would increase the likelihood of interpersonal conflict. Age of marriage might be declined. Social discipline would be jeopardized because of distress, lack of self-esteem, unhappiness and lack of life satisfaction. Young married population would face the problem of lack of marital quality and marital stability. It would be the cause of domestic violence, torture and marital murder and divorce. Consequently, their attachment to the obnoxious milieu and dependency on alcohol, drug and other would be increased. Family as well as social harmony/cohesiveness would be broken and misled.

So, the government should immediately adopt a new National Policy for youth to save the future of the Nation. Only political advertising is not enough to make “Ek Bharat is the guarantee for Shrestha Bharat.”

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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