Party workers shouting slogans through the streets, candidates shouting promises, multi-hued flags with myriad party symbols fluttering across the streets are a thing of the past. This year, candidates and parties are looking at innovative ways of campaigning to stand out and have better recall value.
Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray still remains the centre of the party’s campaign. Sena workers have been distributing audio clips carrying Thackeray’s commanding voice with the message, “… With the Assembly elections coming up, our true fight begins now. You helped us win Lok Sabha elections, but now you must get to work and prepare for a bigger victory in the Assembly elections. At any cost, the saffron flag should flutter above the Vidhan Sabha…”
According to a Sena spokesperson, this audio clip was part of Thackeray’s speech after the 1995 Lok Sabha victory. “People are still emotionally attached to Balasaheb. People still like to be reminded of him and so we looked at old clips and have been passing around old videos on WhatsApp. These audio cards have been distributed throughout Maharashtra,” says Harshal Pradhan, Shiv Sena’s spokesperson.
While some evoked late eminent leaders through audio cards and posters, others are showcasing work done in the constituency by screening short films atop modified vehicles, street-plays and advertising in local movie screens.
“In my constituency, there are many uneducated and illiterate people. So, making them see things instead of just reading or hearing them will work much better even though it is slightly more expensive,” says Ganesh Khade, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) candidate from the Dharavi Assembly constituency. Accordingly, a white-coloured mini-van, fitted with a large cinema screen on its surface, has been traversing the narrow bustling roads of the slum sprawl to promote the Raj Thackeray-led party.
The 16-minute documentary gives a glimpse of Thackeray’s vision on how Maharashtra should be.
A documentary on Krishna Hegde, the sitting Congress MLA from Vile Parle, simply showcases his work over the past five years.
Shots of the new Milan subway overbridge, his “role” in getting techie Bhavesh Parmar out of a Pakistani prison and bytes from people in the constituency endorsing him make up the 10-minute documentary, which is shown at the beginning of each public meeting and will be driven around on a modified tempo throughout the constituency from next week. Besides this, Hegde has roped in college students to conduct street plays, where his work in the constituency are enacted. “We do 10 shows in a day and mainly go to the slum areas in Marol and Vile Parle. We focus on how Hegde has resolved issues in the constituency and caught drug-peddlers and arranged blood for needy patients, among other things,” says Satyajeet Kamble, a second-year BSc student from Sathaye college, who along with 10 others perform the street plays.
From streets to screens. The sitting Congress MLA from the Versova constituency, Baldev Khosa, has taken the election advertising a step further by booking advertisement slots in movie theatres. With cinema halls packed to capacity on the weekends, shows of the latest releases were preceded by a minute-long advertisement heaping praises on the work done by Khosa in Versova. The advertisement ended with the slogan, “Versova ka bharosa. Baldev Khosa.”