Workers sweat and strain in last-mile push

The volunteers quietly went about making the last push to gain traction among voters.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M , Sumegha Gulati , Shalini Narayan | New Delhi | Updated: February 6, 2015 8:42 am
BJP workers campaign in Lajpat Nagar. (Source: Express Photo  by Gajendra Yadav) BJP workers campaign in Lajpat Nagar. (Source: Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

Through the day, even as cameras followed their leaders, it was the volunteers who quietly went about making the last push to gain traction among voters.

If in one area, the BJP’s panna pramukhs held meetings and went door to door, in another part, the AAP’s think tank operated out of a refurbished party office, gearing up for D-day. The Congress too pitched in, attempting to cut through the direct-face off and sought support for their leader Rahul Gandhi.

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In Jangpura, Ravinder, a BJP man, is hard at work, hurriedly making his way through the streets of Lajpat Nagar-II, campaigning for his candidate M S Dhir. He stops at the Gulatis in E Block. Before he can enter the house, the owner Rakesh Gulati steps out and in fluent Punjabi says “Prava, baar baar andi lod nahi, vote tanu hi milega” (You don’t need to keep coming. You will get the vote).

A satisfied Ravinder moves on clutching a bunch of pamphlets. The pamphlets have been prepared by the party with pictures of Modi and Kiran Bedi and the names of each voter printed across it. “This is to make each voter think of the party. Pamphlets always make an impact,” he said.

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AAP
In Krishna Nagar, where the AAP is challenging BJP’s CM candidate Kiran Bedi, two floors of the party office have been digitized. A white board displays the 43 teams who will fan out on February 7. Inside a room, a volunteer, heading one such team, is holding a meeting asking the volunteers to “filter data” on electoral rolls.

“We are now identifying AAP supporters and making a list of bogus voters. These details will be given to polling agents,” Amit Mishra, a booth in-charge, said.

In New Delhi, a single room flat on the fifth floor of Vittalbhai Patel House, a group of volunteers walks in to prepare ‘election kits’ which will be given to polling booth managers. These kits contain electoral rolls of each booth with photos, stationery, a brass seal and a copy of annexure. “We have identified 13 zones and zonal prabharies who will head booth management,” Sandeep Singh, a booth in-charge, said.

Congress
As evening approaches, Tanveer (21) and a group of Congress booth workers in Gulfam Manzil in Okhla break for tea. It is their second since morning and the centre is buzzing with activity.

The second year BA student joined Congress after being “impressed by Rahul Gandhi’s views”. Since morning, Congress booth workers in this Asif Khan bastion have been busy talking to people, putting up posters and sending out voting slips to people. Confident of a win, Tanveer says Congress will have a “clear sweep”.

This is not the case everywhere. Congress workers are a disappointed lot; fighting a battle many already consider is lost. Randhir (19), a first year BA student of IGNOU, has been campaigning on his Scooty.

“I spent the day speaking to people of UPA’s policies — Women’s security, NREGA. Par har jagah jhaadu chal raha hai (Everywhere it is the broom that holds sway),” he said.

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