With the long drawn Uttar Pradesh Assembly election entering the third phase, the advertising wars in the state have begun to resemble a battle among corporates.
With the election commission tightening its watch over party spends, the focus in now on spreading the word through advertisements in newspapers.
The latest ad released in the weekend edition of a widely circulate national Hindi daily appears to be an oblique rebuttal to a series of oft repeated Samajwadi Party advertisements on TV channels and in newspapers, which had Amitabh Bachchan proclaiming UP as a crime-free state.
The new advertisement carries caricatures of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh: "UP poora trast hua, lekin apradh abhi adha hai ; inhen ek mauka aur chaiye, poore ka vaada hai." [UP is beyond redeem, crime in the state hasn't reached its full potential yet. They just want another chance to finish what they started.]
This is followed by a long narration alleging, "Goondon ne aisi mauj kabhi nahi dekhi [Criminals have never had opportunities like they now have]. "Police ki bhi aise durdasha kabhi nahi hui" [Even the police haven't been subjected to such humiliation.]
"Nithari jaisa kalank na dekha na suna" (A shame like Nithari has never been seen or heard before.] "Vyavastha mein vishwas dagmaga raha hai [One is losing faith in the system."]
The next line of the narration is evidently a retort to the oft repeated Big 'B' ad where he declares his cherished desire to be born again and again on the banks of the holy Ganga. "Punarmjanam to door, Ganga tat par isi janam ki khair manane ke roz lale parhte hain [forget rebirth, it is difficult to save those who live on the banks of Ganga now]
The last sentence is a direct attack on Mulayam and Amar Singh. It says, "Netaji aur chuttbhaiye lal-batti mein aur poora UP Ugahi, phirauti mein" [The leader and his buddy move around in cars with red-beacons, while the rest of the state faces extortion.] "Yahi hai Uttam Pradesh" follows the punch-line, while the footnote adds, "Aam aadmi ki awaz" [The voice of the common man.]
Taking serious note of the advertisement, the Samajwadi Party leadership proposes to make a complaint to the election commission. "We have already apprised Netaji (Mulayam) and Amar Singh ji about it; they will take it up with the EC," a senior party functionary said. Which brings us to the biggest question. So, who will the complaint be against?
Yes, the advertisement is not attributed to any political party or organisation. 'Common People's Voice' is what is printed at the bottom of the advertisement.