The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Spin doctors run scared

Ahmedabad, Nov. 28: No established advertising firm is ready to handle the BJP’s account after the dust Narendra Modi’s Gaurav yatra kicked up.

Moving Pixels, an Ahmedabad-based film company, chickened out after video-filming the first two phases of the yatra in the course of which Modi made the statement: “Hum paanch, hamare pachees”.

“We virtually ran for cover when the media started hunting us for a copy of the tape. After that the BJP didn’t approach us and neither did we make an effort to pursue the yatra job,” said a senior manager of Pixels.

“We are a commercial venture and have a wide range of clients. We didn’t want to lose any of them for the sake of one account,” he said.

After a frantic search for someone who would make a couple of animated films on nationalism and security, the BJP reportedly zeroed in on an employee of a public sector company who is supposed to be a sympathiser.

BJP sources said the two films depict how terrorism has “come to our doorsteps” after the siege on the Akshardham temple, while Godhra would be mentioned “in passing”.

The films are also expected to show the latest attack on the Raghunath temple with the accompanying message: “While the Congress is busy releasing terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, who can also enter Gujarat, the BJP is the only party serious about fighting terrorism.”

However, with the Congress making development and the BJP’s “five-year misrule” the theme of its campaign, the ruling party was also forced to change its idiom.

A third ad spot will focus only on development projects of its government, showing footage of the Sardar Sarovar dam, how the Narmada waters mingled with the Sabarmati and presaged the Centre’s proposal to interlink major rivers, and how all the major cities of Gujarat have been connected to the four-lane national highway.

n See Pages 6 and 8

The BJP has become so defensive on governance that there was a realisation that Modi should not be projected over much, especially because he has come to symbolise communal violence rather than economic prosperity and peace.

Yamal Vyas, the BJP’s media-in-charge, said: “The message that Modi is a strong and able leader has been established through the gaurav yatra. In the last phase, the party’s projection has become more important because people have to be motivated to leave their homes and go to the polling booths and vote for the party.”

The other reasons for this subtle change of tack are the perception that the Delhi leadership did not take kindly to Modi’s iconisation and the fear that the RSS, which has historically frowned on the “personality cult”, may lie low during electioneering, BJP sources said.

Efforts to build Modi up as a Sardar Patel avatar have also been discontinued. “Sardar Patel is not part of our campaign,” Vyas said.

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