– V.N. Balakrishna | January 27, 2014
Ahmedabad | One of the serious problems BJP faces in fighting the Congress is that the Congress does not read its own manuals, nor does it feel an obligation to follow a doctrine of its own.
The Congress in claiming the advertisement tagline “Main nahin, hum (Not I, We)” of Narendra Modi’s Mehsana “Chintan Shivir” (brainstorming camp) of 2011 seems unruffled at the faux pas of its ad agency Dentsu India.
The ad released last Friday showed the phrase emblazoned behind Rahul that seemed as egregious as that of late Congress president Dev Kant Barua who coined the slogan ‘Indira is India and India is Indira.’
Rahul Gandhi lead campaigner for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections is facing Modi juggernaut without the nuptial bliss of being named the Congress’ prime ministerial candidate. The silence of Old Guards in guiding young Congress Turks is deafening.
Congress mode of functioning has come to resemble Louis XV, the King of France, who ruled 300 years ago and claimed deluge after he is gone. His reign saw downgrading the power of France, weakened treasury and distrust among his people that soon led to the French Revolution 15 years after his death.
Rahul ad caught Modi the way a red flag catches the bull. Modi reacted strongly saying the Congress ‘copied’ his theme from the Mehsana “Chintan Shivir” while top BJP leaders such as Shahnawaz Hussain going as far as questioning the intelligence of the Congress for this blatant act of plagiarism. Hussain mocked, “Nakal ke liye akal chahiye (even imitation needs brains).
There is radical shift in ad strategy of a demoralized and defeatist Congress unlike in the past when party chief Sonia Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh featured prominently. This time heir apparent of the Congress is being asked to stem the Modi juggernaut with rank and file in disarray. In overprojecting the scion can end justify the means?
In all fairness Congress cannot be held responsible for Dentsu’s faux pas as the agency is accountable for creating original taglines. Even if Congress wanted the ad desperately Dentsu India still has to be blamed for failing to point out the harm it could do. Dentsu also ought to be aware of the past where mammoth Modi PR machine has been going whole hog ever since Modi took over Gujarat decade ago.
Dentsu claims its philosophy is “Good innovation, technology and enterprise.” Surely it cannot be unaware of Modi’s much publicized 3D speeches, Vikas Raths equipped with projectors and LED Raths each with a 110” screen roaming interior villages during election time? Modi is ad savvy and upgradation of his personal website and social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube hardly go unnoticed. His rising frequency of advertisements on TV, print and online and his own TV channel NaMo Gujarat catching public eye are all well-known. Yet despite Modi ads mushrooming Dentsu took the Mehsana Chintan Shivir ad to palm off as its own.
Congressmen as is their wont would not pay heed to genuine criticism. The advertisement which appeared in all the major English and vernacular newspapers needs to be gracefully withdrawn. However the Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari seemed unrepentant when he said, “The BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant has an ostensible proprietary right over the words ‘I, me, myself’ while the partnership with the people that transformed the country over the past 10 years provides a legitimate claim to Congress & UPA over the word ‘We.’”