Syed Muthahar Saqaf

Television and FM channel are playing a vital role

TIRUCHI: Unlike in the past, people residing even in the remotest rural areas have been discussing among themselves the various promises made by political parties in their manifestos, as the telecasting and broadcasting technologies have percolated down to these inaccessible places.

While it is the television set in the drawing room, which drags the attention of the residents of urban and semi urban areas, it is mostly the FM channel, which is ruling the roost in the interior villages. The availability of FM signal has come as an effective media for the spread of not only the entertainment, but also think-over programmes like news bulletins etc.

Gone are the days, when the political parties relied more on public meetings and publicity materials such as giant wall posters, banners, colourful wall writings etc., to publicise the names of the nominees, their symbols, the highlights of the achievements of the parties and the promises made in the manifestos.

But, owing to a strict vigil maintained by the Election Commission, all political outfits, in general and the candidates, in particular, have done away with the practice of incurring expenditure on publicity materials. Yet, the urge among voters to get to know the latest developments, trend, allegations and counter-allegations by leaders of different parties is still perceptible. It is here that the television and the FM channel have started playing a vital role.

The replacement of the audio-cassettes by FM sets in mofussil, town and mini-buses too has come in handy for the spread of the political messages to the travelling public.

A few women of Manamedu in Thottiyam Assembly constituency say that they are aware of the promises made by both the leading fronts. "We are intent listeners of FM programmes broadcast by a private network. It keeps us informed of the latest developments round the clock. Even the poorest of the poor listen to the FM channels at their work places and also at home", they added.

The same view was echoed by a few farm workers employed in the cutting of cane a Melasanthapalayam in the neighbouring Musiri constituency. "Every villager is aware of the names of the candidates and the poll promises, as they are propagated through the TV and FM channels regularly."

However, K. Kothandapani of Melasanthapalayam and C. Karuppiah of Sinthampatti observe that the locals are sceptical of the feasibility of certain election promises. In the past many tall promises were made only to be forgotten in the post-election period, Mr. Kothandapani says.

Do these villagers miss the usual pomp and enthusiasm of the elections? "We are happy that curbs have been imposed on wasteful expenditure," young Sumathi of Musiri says.