- Negative Political Campaigning has been around for a long time and it depends upon highlighting the opposition’s negative traits rather than one’s own positive traits. In a populace looking for change and looking for reasons to vote out the current government, this type of negative campaigning generally works to help voters make up their minds.
- In the United States this type of political campaigning (also known as mudslinging) has been going on for a long time. Researchers have found that while negative campaigns tend to be more memorable, they have their own fallouts. In the US, amazing amounts of cash are spent on political ad campaigns, but an estimated 68% of that advertising was seen to be negative rather than positive.
- The understanding is that in Maharashtra, given the disillusionment of the voting public with the ruling NCP (know more for tainted leaders such as Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel than the work done in the state), such negative ad campaigns should work well. They could well help people make up their mind and perhaps spur on the fence sitters to go cast a vote, where earlier they may have remained indifferent.
- Recently there have been a spate of BJP’s political ads on the TV and radio in Maharashtra. The Maharashtra Hindi BJP TV Campaign not only tell the tale of people being happy with Modi’s rule at the centre, but narrate stories of public dissatisfaction with current regimes. Where on the one hand a common man rants against bad roads and toll taxes in spite of terrible roads, another speaks of the need to develop tourism, agriculture, lower inflation and so on.
- This time, the BJP is working on a dual campaign – where on the one hand it is highlighting their trump card Modi, their ads featuring his fiery speeches and other declamations including the recent ones in the United States. But on the other hand the ads are working hard to denigrate and dismiss any work done by the current government. Typically the ads show disgruntled and angry common people, looking for change. Scroll down to see some of the BJP TVC Maharashtra Hindi video ads.
- The point that the ads are trying to make is this: ‘kuthe anun thevla ahe Maharashtra Mazha’ (where have you brought my Maharashtra state to). However we have seen before that negative campaigning can have a nasty backlash as well.
- This is true for the BJP’s Maharashtra campaign – there problem here is that it shows the state itself in poor light. This has not gone down well with people. The trouble is that entities such as the Shiv Sena and the MNS have taken offence to the manner in which the ads are portraying Maharashtra as backward; the implication being that it is lagging behind Modi’s Gujarat.
- The ad campaign was seen as too aggressive even by sections of the BJP who have opined that it may hurt the image of the party. The campaign has since been withdrawn. (Source – Economic Times).
Video courtesy – Bharatiya Janata Party