Ad featuring Goan regional party leader kicks off row

April 21st, 2009 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Panaji, April 21 (IANS) A controversial advertisement published in a local English daily Tuesday, showing a Goan regional party candidate with a cross above his head, being beheaded by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader with a scissor, has created a sensation in the Goan political and media circles.
The advertisement, published in the largest circulated English daily Herald, contains a clip-to-art - a collage created by piecing together separate images, depicting a cross above a photograph of United Goans Democratic Party (UGDP) candidate from South Goa Mathany Saldanha’s head, which is trapped between the blades of a pair of scissors, held by BJP’s Manohar Parrikar and former UGDP general secretary Radharao Gracias.

The pair of scissors is incidentally UGDP’s election symbol. Speaking to IANS, Saldanha said that he would initiate criminal proceedings against the Herald, which published the ad and artist Vicente Correia.

“I have also complained to the chief electoral officer about it (CEO). It is mischievous and in bad taste,” Mathany said. Parrikar also said that the advertisement was in violation of the code of conduct as it used religious symbols.

“The use of a religious symbol in such an advertisement is not a good sign. I am writing to the election authorities. I want to see how they act in this case,” Parrikar said, alleging they have not behaved in a fair manner during most of the campaigning period.

When IANS contacted the creator of the controversial advertisement, Correia said that he had paid Rs.4,000 to get the advertisement published. “I had a vision of the cross coming out of Mathany’s (Saldanha) head. He is being crucified in the same way John De Baptiste (a Biblical preacher) was crucified by King Herod’s wife,” he said.

Correia also said that the graphic was a creative exercise and insisted that it was not published at the behest of any political party.

Herald’s editor Ashwin Tombat told IANS that the advertisement made no reference to Mathany.

“Other than that I have no comment to make,” Tombat said.

The controversial advertisement comes on the heels of repeated cautions by the election authorities, that any surrogate advertising in the media would attract criminal action against the media outfit.

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