Ayodhya-Card & Media Coverage!

Ironically, media coverage has assumed a new importance for politicians and their rivals at all levels. At one level, it brings them into limelight on ground they presume to be advantageous for themselves. Media coverage may also be viewed as a nature of publicity, campaign, advertisement of politicians and of also what they seek to promote. Paradoxically, most politicians seem a little too concerned about seeking media coverage. In fact, media coverage has assumed for them the nature of rating their political credentials. Receiving substantial media coverage amounts to, in their opinion, a great political standing. To what extent can this be assumed as politically beneficial as they (politicians) assume to be?

From one angle, media coverage certainly helps people become aware of whatever agenda they try to promote. But there is no guarantee that publicity of this nature may also lead to electoral results desired by them. After all, prospects of their rivals picking on the same issue to criticise them also has chances of escalating. And when this happens, there is nothing surprising about debates, discussions and various opinions being expressed through media. There is no guarantee that media fervour over the issue may turn the political tide in favour of politicians and/or parties responsible for initiating “news” over the same.

Nevertheless, media power is assumed to have great strength for politicians and/or parties. Interestingly, irrespective of whether the issues the politicians focus upon have much appeal for people or not, there prevails the trend for them to weigh their importance by the coverage the same are accorded by media. Of course, at present, it would not be wrong to assume that this impression prevails among politicians linked with saffron brigade about Ayodhya and its religious symbols. Certainly, media has not refrained from according coverage to this issue. It is one of those ever-topical and also an old controversial issue that is expected to arouse interest among the people. Thus, when media choose to give importance to any issue, the decision is normally based on the level of attraction it will have for various classes of people, including politicians and the common people.

With respect to Ayodhya-issue, prospects of “news” linked with it being sidelined by any section of media may be assumed to be practically non-existent. After all, nowadays, a key aim of each wing of media is to remain in circulation and also gain commercial advantage. Ignoring or sidelining issues that may arouse interest of people and be regarded as important for key leaders, parties as well as for others is least likely to be given much consideration by any section of media. Increasing competition in the media world, leading to a tight race, cannot be ignored. Nor can the importance of various wings of media as important business centres and/or ventures. Thus, the fear of being left behind in the race and losing business are given serious consideration by papers, channels and other media sections. A priority of each is not to be outdone by its rivals in this tight race.

So, it isn’t surprising that “news” linked with Ayodhya is being accorded considerable coverage nowadays.  And of course Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has not ceased to gain advantage of the same. This includes Diwali celebrations at Ayodhya, renaming Faizabad district as Ayodhya and several more plans. An airport is expected to be named after Hindu deity Ram. Also on his cards is construction of a huge statue of Ram in Ayodhya. Certainly, Yogi has succeeded in gaining considerable media coverage for these ventures. Now, this gives rise to the question to political importance of his moves beyond the media-world. Yes, the religious tag attached with them cannot be missed. But can these assure political success for his party, which is BJP in the coming parliamentary polls and for him in the next UP assembly elections?

Importance of media power cannot be ignored from any angle. Yet, gaining substantial media coverage with photographs, even with headlines on first page, cannot be measured as success at other levels, particularly in India. Coverage with videos and live-recordings in television-news as well as special programmes also cannot be presumed to add much to the same success. The hard reality of rivals, critics and others criticising the same moves cannot be ignored. These too are paid some attention by the people in general. With respect to Ayodhya-issue, its political importance cannot be assumed to be same in rest of India as it is in Hindi belt. Similarly, whatever be the nature of coverage given to Yogi’s moves linked with Ayodhya, they cannot to be assumed to bear the same relevance for people outside his state.  This also implies that playing the Ayodhya-card with eyes set on victory during coming parliamentary elections does not and cannot guarantee total success.

Undeniably, all attempts are being made to exploit the Ayodhya-card by politicians linked with saffron brigade. Politically speaking, media coverage received can guarantee publicity but not electoral success!

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