Marri Ramu

Some candidates prefer family members or close confidants to receive the calls

Seasoned politicians have long standing personal assistants to help them out

HYDERABAD: For contestants, fighting elections meant planning campaign, wooing voters and outwitting rivals all these days. Here is a new dimension to it - managing mobile phone calls.

Thanks to the sharp fall in service prices propelling massive usage of mobile phones, managing phone calls is becoming a huge task for every contestant. With voters, supporters, leaders, officials, family members and well-wishers making calls on different issues, handling them without annoying anyone is posing new challenge to candidates.

This has necessitated in finding right persons to manage the calls as these have to be dealt with carefully lest it dents their image. Therefore, while some candidates depend on their personal assistants who are chosen carefully after verifying their antecedents, others depend on family members or close confidants.

Take the case of BJP nominee for Secunderabad Assembly nominee S. Ramesh. He chose an MBA degree holder to handle the job. “I didn’t want anyone to complain about my response. Hence, I preferred an educated person to manage the job,” Mr. Ramesh, who too is an MBA, says. His assistant receives every call, jots down details and conveys the same to Ramesh whenever possible. Depending on urgency of the call, Mr. Ramesh responds – either meeting him/her personally or returning the calls.

Telugu Desam candidate for Medchal constituency, N. Prabhakar Goud, initially used to answer all his phone calls. Soon, he realised he was spending more time on phones instead of concentrating on his campaign. His party colleague and personal friend, N. Yadagiri, took over the onerous task. He decided to carry out that job till the end of elections as “it is directly connected to his friend’s image”. But, for seasoned politicians like K. Laxma Reddy (contesting for Medchal seat) and BJP nominee for Secunderabad Lok Sabha, Bandaru Dattatreya, it is not much of an issue as they already have long standing personal assistants. “Having handled such calls for years, we know which one is an important call and ensure everyone is properly responded to,” the personal assistants say. Mr. Dattatreya and many other enterprising politicians have also began their own websites with interactive features through which assistants post replies to issues that cannot be resolved over phone.