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May 14, 2013 at 09:31pm IST

Will UPA's 'Bharat Nirman' campaign help resurrect its flagging image?

New Delhi: There's nothing like a feel good advertisement when you are down in the dumps. And no one needs it more right now than UPA-II. Faced with uncertainty, embarrassment and an election in the next one year, the government plans to bombard us with not-so-subtle reminders of what they did get right in the last nine years.

This is the Congress's Rs 180 crore ad blitz 'Bharat Nirman', written by Javed Akthar and filmed by Pradeep Sarkar. No ominous comparison to the BJP's 'India Shining' campaign please, insists the party.

Historically, smart tag lines have worked well for political parties - Jai Jawan Jai Kisan (Congress, 1965), Garibi Hatao (Congress, 1971), Abki Bari Atal Bihari (BJP, 1996). But there have been notable exceptions - the most disastrous of them all being the NDA's 'India Shining' campaign 10 years ago. Flashy and lopsided, it was dubbed as the worst poll strategy in the country's history, something that ultimately cost the BJP, the 2004 elections, and Rs 100 crore.

Then there was the Samajwadi Party's advertisement where Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan mouthed the ironical words, "UP mei dum hai kyunki jurm yahan kum hai". Despite what Amitabh Bachchan said, a state hit by lawlessness and crime voted out the Samajwadi Party in 2007.

If you live by publicity, you'll probably die by it, they say. The Congress must certainly hope that's not the way it ends for them.

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