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BJP shifts focus from feel-good

T R Vivek in New Delhi | April 29, 2004 07:44 IST

The recent exit poll results have forced the Bharatiya Janata Party to correct its communication strategy mid-course, as a resurgent Congress plans an advertising blitz before elections on May 5.

A key member of the BJP's media strategy team said there was a feeling in the party that overemphasis on "India Shining" had boomeranged. Leaders have been advised to avoid references to the feel-good factor and instead speak about the party's development agenda for the future.

"The feel-good campaign has run for too long and people now want to know about the future. The exit polls have driven out any feeling of complacency that might have crept in," he explained.

On the other hand, sensing improved prospects, the Congress is planning to flood the vernacular dailies and TV channels with ads over the next few days.

"Our plan is to use the entire party apparatus during the third phase. Elections on May 5 will be decisive," said the party's chief media manager, Jairam Ramesh.

Ramesh on Wednesday held confabulations with Anita Nayyar, managing director of the media buying agency Starcom, and a couple of other senior executives from Leo Burnett finalising the party's advertising plans for the May 5 election.

According to Ramesh, the party has benefited immensely from its back-to-basics communication strategy with the "plight of the common man" as the central theme.

"We will continue to do more of the same. This campaign is also a lot different from the earlier ones because it is a low-cost operation run very transparently. We managed to puncture the NDA's 'India Shining' campaign in a low-key manner," Ramesh said.

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