As the campaign for the Assembly elections came to an end on Monday evening, a big task lies ahead for voters to decide who they will give their vote to in the multi-corner contests in all eight Assembly seats of the city, with almost every candidate and political party aggressively presenting its case to woo them.
“The voters are disheartened by the way political leaders have been behaving during the election campaign. The pubic is quite confused and unable to decide who to vote for,” said Satish Khot of the National Society for Clean Cities (NSCC).
The NSCC was committed to creating awareness among voters on exercising their right, he said, adding: “There has to be contribution of the political party as well by doing positive campaigning but the picture was different this time.”
According to civic activist Vivek Velankar, “The voters have a tough task ahead on deciding on who to cast their vote for. Frankly, the voters are frustrated with the political situation and the way party leaders behaved in the election campaign with no single trustworthy party in the picture.” He added: “I hope this does not reflect in the voter turnout on October 15.”
In the fiercely fought contests, candidates of all political parties used all kind of mediums — from conventional type of one-to-one meeting to the access through latest technologies to reach out to voters.
The actual campaign for most candidates started late due to major political parties dragging the alliance issue for long. Later, it was too hectic for all the candidates to start campaigning as the plans of confident aspirants collapsed while many unprepared were pushed into the fray.
The campaign that began with meetings with various groups, housing societies and local leaders was then shifted to holding padyatras, corner meetings and rallies by senior leaders or star campaigners. The last two days saw the candidates focusing mainly on roadshows with star campaigners or on their own.
The candidates also made sure that if they were unable to personally meet each voter, their pamphlets reached every household. All the candidates relied more on vehicles installed with public address system.
This election also saw use of digital screens installed on campaign vehicles for audio-video messages. This was apart from the advertisements in newspapers, television channels and radio channels.
Realising the impact of social networking in the Lok Sabha polls, all candidates made their presence felt through Facebook, WhatsApp and individual websites to reach out to techno-savvy voters. The candidates also had public relation teams at their service to take on the responsibility of reaching out to the media.
Among the prominent persons who addressed election rallies in the city included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and MNS chief Raj Thackeray. The Congress did not organise any big rally in the city, but party vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressed one at Saswad. The BJP managed to rope in a host of Union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-run states.
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