MUMBAI: In today’s time, elections are not limited to open ground speeches. Political parties are finding innovative ways to persuade the voter; from TV to social media, nothing has been spared.
If one takes the general entertainment channels (GECs) into account, one can see hundreds of ad spots being bought by the political parties to showcase their agenda to the common man. However, the leaders in the GEC space i.e. Star Plus and Zee TV have taken a step further and have incorporated the message of voting in their programmes.
The two channels want their viewers to go out and vote for the 16th Lok Sabha elections and in order to spread the word, they have dedicated special tracks on the matter.
Talking about Zee TV, three of its shows have integrated the ‘Power of 49’ in their storyline. The channel has leveraged some of its protagonists like Shilpa Shirodkar from Ek Mutthi Aasman, Roopal Tyagi from Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke and Neha Marda from Doli Armaanon Ki to drive in the message of how precious every woman’s vote is.
For instance, in Doli Armaanon Ki the lead Urmi drags eve teasers, who were harassing her sister-in-law in a mall, to the jail. Just as Urmi files a FIR against them, a politician walks in commanding the release of the eve teasers since they are related to him. Urmi then drags the politician to the court and gives out the message of ‘Power of 49’.
“As one of India’s most responsible broadcasters, Zee has constantly mirrored the emerging realities of the society we live in, highlighting a variety of burning issues that merit public mind space,” points out Zee TV programming head Namit Sharma.
Sharma adds: “Just like our festivals, in today’s time, elections are more of a celebration with all the fanfare around the campaigns. We will also be integrating this aspect of the election campaigns in our shows in the coming episodes.”
Similarly, in Ek Mutthi Aasman, the track was designed in a way that spreads the message that women play an important role in deciding who will be the next ruling party of India and that they should utilise this power in a right way.
The plot was altered to convey the message. In the show, Kamla Bai, comes to know that a girl in the neighbourhood has been stopped by her mother to attend school because she thinks that it is not an appropriate place for girls, she immediately makes the mother understand the strength of women in today’s society. She states many examples of how women run the society.
Similarly, in Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke, the protagonist Gunjan was seen giving out the information on ‘Power of 49’ conveying the helpline number and urging women to call and address their grievances to the government through the helpline.
Chart topper, Star Plus, is also leaving no stone unturned to spread the word. The channel believes in the philosophy – ‘Youth karega apne vote ki value... Tabhi badhegi Desh ki value!’
With the thought of mobilising the youth and taking its Nayi Soch agenda forward, the channel has introduced an initiative to encourage first time voters to register for the upcoming general elections. Led by its popular face and youth icon, Veera, the campaign started in February and has created series of public service messages, prompting young viewers to register, vote and make a difference.
This year, with the number of potential first time voters being estimated to be 12 crore, the channel wants to spread the awareness about the voting rights through the campaign.
“We want to encourage them to exercise their vote and contribute to the country’s progress. However, a lot of them are still not aware that the registration is an important prerequisite to voting. This first phase of our campaign aims to address that,” Star Plus senior vice-president marketing and content strategy Nikhil Madhok.
Moreover, Star network, this month also brought back the righteous popular talk show, Satyamev Jayate. It's no coincidence that the show came back at a time when the country is gearing up for the general election to be held in April-May.
With passions riding high and everyone out to prove their political credentials and concern for the country, the new season was aptly themed ‘Jinhe desh ki fikr hai’ (those who are concerned about India).
The channels are doing their bit, now will have to wait and watch how many will go out and vote.