As the second and final phase of polling draws closer, political parties and leaders in Chhattisgarh are making good use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to woo voters.
Leaders of the two main political parties in the state — BJP and Congress — are putting social media sites to good use, promoting themselves and lambasting their rivals on virtual platforms.
There are scores of such pages with thousands of followers which have been created by political parties and their supporters. These web pages contain everything from schedules of proposed rallies to the outcome of past meetings which were held in the state ahead of the Assembly polls in the state.
Pages entitled Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee and Chhattisgarh Congress predictably highlight the party’s manifesto for the Assembly polls and the 2014 general elections. These pages also contain messages against BJP.
“I personally have been working on the campaign for over three years. We are highlighting the failures of the ruling BJP and scams under their tenure,” said Bhujit Doshi, a senior member of the research and social media cell of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee.
The ruling BJP and its supporters are no less active online.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has taken to tweeting the successes of his government on micro-blogging site Twitter as he seeks popular support to return for a third consecutive term at the helm.
In print and broadcast media as well, BJP and Congress have launched an advertisement blitzkrieg to garner votes.
While local TV channels frequently air BJP and Congress advertisements, newspapers, too, are full of appeals to voters by political leaders.
New media for campaigning, like cycle and autorickshaws, too, are displaying election advertisements.
Cycle rickshaws, decorated with party posters and carrying loudspeakers playing songs praising political candidates are a common sight now in the state.
The more traditional means of catching voters’ eye, through graffiti, meanwhile, continues as a prominent poll-time feature in the rural areas.
From houses to shops in interior areas, all have been painted over with advertisements for electoral candidates.
Given the poll buzz and the politically-charged scene, Election Commission officials are taking strict measures to check any violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
Campaigning for the second and final phase of polls in Chhattisgarh ends on Sunday evening with the voting to be held on Tuesday.
The first phase of polls in the state on November 11 had covered 18 Assembly constituencies.