With little time left for political parties to reach out to voters, candidates are leaving no avenues unexplored to woo the maximum number of voters possible. From traditional campaign methods like going door-to-door and holding corner sabhas, the candidates are also visiting joggers’ parks, gymnasiums and even tea stalls to ensure they reach the last voter.
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With the 4-member panel system, the candidates not only have a larger number of voters to reach out to, they also have a larger area to cover. So, they have been working overtime to ensure they reach every nook and corner of their electoral panels. While door-to-door campaigning, corner sabhas and padyatras have been seen earlier, some unusual places have also turned into campaign sites. The candidates say the informal set-up helps them connect better with voters.
A few days ago, morning walkers and joggers at the district centre of Sector 6 in Indrayaninagar in Pimpri-Chinchwad were pleasantly surprised to find NCP candidates from Panel 8 amid them. In Pune, MNS candidates from Model Colony have trudged upwards on Vetal Tekdi to canvass for votes. Senior leader Ranjit Shirole said other than Vetal Tekdi, MNS candidates have also taken their campaign to Taljai and Parvati hills.
“When our candidates have to climb hills for canvassing, they are not in the traditional garb of politicians… they wear tracksuits and sneakers. This helps break the ice immediately,” he said. During morning hours, many local residents give the candidates a patient hearing, said Shirole. “This is the only time we can catch up with office-going voters, who normally return late in the evening,” he said.
Other than joggers’ parks, candidates are also seen connecting with voters outside tea shops in many areas. BJP candidates of Panel 8 in Pimpri-Chinchwad have adopted this particular strategy; they approach local residents near tea shops outside the badminton hall in the area. Samar Kamtekar, campaign manger of the BJP in the area, said it is difficult for candidates to reach all the voters within a limited time. “The badminton hall is the focal point of many people in the area and we have been meeting people there. Also, the informal set-up allows for better interaction between voters and candidates,” he said.