Road shows, night marches leave their mark in Lok Sabha poll campaign

Updated - March 27, 2024 09:25 am IST

Published - March 27, 2024 12:37 am IST - Kozhikode

Shafi Parambil during a roadshow in the Vadakara Lok Sabha segment recently.

Shafi Parambil during a roadshow in the Vadakara Lok Sabha segment recently.

An open four-wheeler struggling to move ahead amid a sea of people. That was how a road show taken out on March 10 by Shafi Parambil, the UDF candidate from the Vadakara Lok Sabha segment, reached thousands and lakhs of viewers through amplified aerial footage and photos.

The Congress, Mr. Shafi’s party, and the IUML, its alliance partner, probably wanted to prove a point: the shifting of K. Muraleedharan, incumbent MP, who had earlier informally begun his campaign, to Thrissur, would make no difference to their spirits.

Mr. Muraleedharan himself got a similar reception when he landed at the Thrissur railway station. A few weeks earlier, K.K. Shailaja, Mr. Parambil’s rival and LDF candidate, was given a rousing welcome at the Vadakara railway station after her candidature was announced.

Such events have become one of the markers of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, with candidates of the LDF, the UDF, and the NDA greeting people standing atop open vehicles. Party workers accompany them, carrying flags, banners, pictures, and placards. Percussion artistes chip in with their drum beats.

A senior LDF leader in Kozhikode claims that in this era of social media, creating a perception about popularity and political strength is equally important. “Most youngsters are hooked to the Internet. We can influence them through videos and photos of our candidate standing amid huge crowds. They are widely shared on social media,” he adds. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself took out a road show in Palakkad recently.

Another key form of mobilisation of the masses is through ‘night marches’. Bands tied on their heads and carrying torch lights, LDF candidates are seen leading these marches from the front. They gain traction on social media.

This is probably for the first time such large spectacles are becoming the mainstay of campaigns. And they are here to stay.

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