The Big B of Bollywood had recently expressed his desire to endorse Brand Kerala. Following his statement in the media, the tourism minister of the State has sent a letter to Amitabh Bachchan, expressing the ministry’s wish for the same. Within no time of Big B’s acceptance came the political interference for which Kerala has always been known for.
However, this time the opposition for the plan came from within the ruling party and also from its central authority. From the centre, CPI (M) Polit-Bureau member Mr. Sitaram Yechury opposed the plan on reasons that Brand Icon for BJP — ruled Gujarat cannot act as a Brand icon for LDF — ruled Kerala. I think Mr. Yechury has to correct himself by understanding that tourism advertisements never portray the political party that is ruling the state or country. This statement is an outcome of his never fulfilling dream that Kerala will always be under the left control. If there has to be some opposition, it should actually come from Gujarat on claims that brand ambassador for their state should not promote other states. But they seemed to be quite rational. Rather, they have better things to ponder over about developments in their state than on wasting time for unproductive matters like this. Why does LDF not try and learn from the development happening in Gujarat? Leave apart their political agenda, which is quite unacceptable.
Though appointing a brand ambassador is not the only solution for developing Kerala Tourism, Bachchan effect can definitely give a boost to the sector. First reason for that is the credibility of the Bachchan brand which is highly powerful. Secondly, Tourism is a product which has to be targeted on all the age groups and classes of the society. In that case no other celebrity is as appealing to all the age groups and social class as Bachchan is. Finally, tourism commercials never propagate for the political party ruling the state, rather they focus on the culture and uniqueness of the place. But definitely the ministry should focus on improving the factors like infrastructure facilities, proper transportation, cleanliness and sanitation. Only a combination of all these factors can payoff well in the future.
Therefore, Kerala Government should go ahead with the plan. No authority outside the ministry should be allowed to interfere in the matters of state. Let Sitaram Yechury and his comrades back in the State watch some tourism advertisements to clarify their misconceptions. After all, downloading ads from YouTube is quite easy nowadays.
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and is a student of SCMS – Cochin.