DD Girnar and the elections

The Congress bought more than three times the advertising time on the public broadcaster than the BJP did. It did not help.
But DD Girnar did its best to get the vote out, say MONAZIR ALAM and INDIRA AKOIJAM
 Documentation: Voxpopuli
 
Doordarshan’s Gujarati channel, DD Girnar, did a steady stream of public service advertising in the run up to the two voting days in the elections just concluded. Over four weeks, voting appeals stressed the right to vote, the obligation to vote, and the need to vote for an eligible candidate, rather than vote on the basis of caste of religion.
These appeared every day, several times a day. They averaged a total of 30 minutes of voting appeals a day, or more. On the 9th of December, for instance, DD telecast close to 20 spots totalling almost 60 minutes of airtime.  Overall there were 400 election related public service spots telecast between the 19th of November and the 17th of December. On the first v voting day, 13th December, the appeal to go out and vote was telecast from 8 am to 9 pm, on the hour.
Some of the voting appeals featured election officers from different places explaining how AVMs worked. What the channel also carried was little skits it telecast several times a day. On one a Radio Mirchi radio jockey called Dhavanit  would appear and say: I cannot forget two things one is talking on radio and another is to vote.
Other skits featured college students’ drama queuing up for  movie tickets or restaurants but not for voting. Moral of the skit: go and vote. Another featured people  complaining about present road conditions, bad transportation, and  corruption, under the tag line “Koi kasu kartu kem nathi” . Moral of the story: if you do not vote this would continue in future. Go and vote for the right candidates.
 
In the third and fourth week the drama telecasted was a reminder of the dates  for voting--13th and 17th December--and the need to choose the right candidate.
 
The channel also devoted as much as 7 1/2 hours overall to broadcast slots for parties participating in the election. One party which did not avail of these telecasts seems to be the Gujarat Parivartan Party.
How did the Congress and the BJP use the public service broadcaster? Both chose to advertise on it, but the difference in use is significant. The Congress bought more than three times the advertising time on the public broadcaster than the BJP did. It kicked off its advertising spree earlier, from the 19th November while the BJP ads on Doordarshan began to appear only from the 24th. Mr Modi and the BJP evidently preferred other means of reaching out to the voter.
Their ads on Doordarshan dwelt on the  injustice that central govt. is doing with Gujarat, and how the Bharatiya Janata Party had brought development to Gujarat without the help of central government. The party also roped in Bollywood celebrities and TV actors to appeal to people to vote for the BJP. The common tag line  for the BJP advertising was “Ek Mat Gujarat Bane Bhajapa Sarkar”.
The Congress campaign, “Disha badaliye, dasha badaliye”, urged people to change their fate by changing the direction of their vote. It was a fairly harsh campaign in tone. It dwelt on the corruption of BJP government during the last ten years, injustice done to farmers by giving their land to industrialists, injustice done to  students and common people.
It does not seem to have to delivered a substantial change in the direction of the Gujarat voter’s ballot.
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