However, as so often happens, many, if not most of the people sharing the “public interest” advertisement are sharing it for its entertainment value, rather than its intended message of protect Kejriwal from the “attacks of the corrupt.”
The Delhi government ad features a ‘housewife’ who is a big fan of ‘Kejriwal’ as he brought down power and water bills for her family. It shows her making food in the kitchen and getting angry when she overhears her husband listening to television talk shows.
“Everyday, when I see the TV, it feels like all the dishonest people in the world are going after Kejriwal. Everyday, they say something nasty about him. I feel so angry about them.
They can’t do anything themselves, so they are all going after Kejriwal. Everyday, I pray – ‘Oh God, please keep our Kejriwal safe.’ Come, let’s all support Arvind…”
On Youtube, three times as many people gave the ad a ‘thumbs down’ as did a ‘thumbs up’.
The Supreme Court has banned public-funded ads that encourage “a personality cult and the image of one or a few individuals which is a direct antithesis of democratic functioning.”
It also banned advertisements that seek to publicize achievements of the government as it believes that people would get to know when a government is functioning well, without having to be told through advertisements. “Achievements of a Government should not be a matter of publicity”.
Noted lawyer and Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan has already called the ad a violation of the recent Supreme Court order banning the misuse of public funds for glorification of politicians.
“The ‘Jai Ho Kejriwal’ ad on TV, being a crass projection of Kejriwal, is against the SC order. It is an abuse of funds to project a leader,” Bhushan said on Twitter.
“Apart from being a crass and crude abuse of funds, the Kejriwal ad on TV is sexist and projects women as servants of their husbands,” he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has threatened to take Arvind Kejriwal to court for spending people’s money on an ad that is so flagrantly in violation of Supreme Court guidelines.
However, even the central government led by the BJP has also brought out ads that seek to tell the people how much better off they are under the new government compared to earlier. “This is only the beginning,” the ad, played across the country, promises.
In a statement, BJP’s national secretary RP Singh said the ad projects Kejriwal as a ‘messiah of poor’ while leaders of other political parties, administrative officials and media have been projected as villains was a gross violation of the recent Supreme Court order.
SWARAJ ABHIYAN REACTS
AAP faction Swaraj Abhiyan, led by Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, also criticized the ad and called it ‘disturbing’.
“It bellies the promise of a new kind of politics that emerged from the anti corruption movement. This advertisement itself is an example of political corruption that is endemic across political parties in the country,” the media cell of the outfit said in a statement.
Coming as it does in the wake of a 6% rise in power tariffs, the advertisement is misleading and an attempt at cover up, it said.
“Besides, it also attempts to deflect the public attention away from a legitimate criticism that this government has faced due to misconduct of its functionaries. The advertisement is highly regressive as it reinforces a stereotyping of women in their domestic roles, given the way a woman, the main character of the film has been projected.”
“The heart of the problem however is that this TV commercial unashamedly abuses public funds to create a personality cult for Arvind Kejriwal. It sings paeans of the AAP leader and tries to project him as a messiah. It is worth noting that the ad has not a single mention of Delhi government and has 11 mentions of the politician – seven times Kejriwal, two times Arvind, one each of “unhone” and “unkey.” It roughly comes out to be one mention of the politician in every 11 seconds of the advertisement.”