Quiet election campaign confounds Doonites ahead of LS poll


With the campaigning for the April 19 poll ending this evening, the people are wondering why the high-octane campaign- accompanied by graffiti, banners, posters and loudspeakers- expected this time in view of the high stakes involved in the electoral battle has remained missing. Though Dehradun is the nerve-centre of the State’s politics, the poll fever has not gripped the city this time with the star campaigners of all the parties barring Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath having given it a cold shoulder. The city has remained quiet during the days when there should have been a feisty campaign.    

Asked to explain why the poll zest is absent this time, particularly in Dehradun, the political analysts said that multiple factors are behind this lackluster campaigning, including the predominant social media edging out traditional mode of campaigning, fund crunch and Election Commission of India’s strictness in enforcing its rules.    

Commenting on this unusual poll phenomenon in Doon, the BJP State spokesperson, Vinod Suyal said that the stress laid on making video clips to be circulated on the social media platforms as a tool of canvassing for votes has set the tone and tenor of this time’s poll campaign apart from those of previous elections. “Political parties have latched on to the improved networking strategies on social media while shunning the conventional campaigning through rallies, street corner meetings and door to door campaigning. The usage of flags, festoons, banners and graffiti are much less than previous elections. Social media-based campaigning is cheap and fast. Besides, its reach is wide. We can easily approach the tech-savvy youngsters through this route in order to woo them electorally. This aside, the ECI’s insistence on the political parties following its rules strictly has dampened the spirit of campaigning this time,” he said.          

The Congress, on the other hand, ascribed its subdued campaigning to fund crunch worsened further by freezing of its accounts. “This has forced us to fall back on social media platform-based campaigning as this costs less than the traditional mode of campaigning. The resource-rich BJP has, however, gone at full throttle in its high-voltage campaigning with the party betting big on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s persona. His photos  feature in their festoons, banners, posters and wall graffiti,” said the State Congress vice- president Suryakant Dhasmana.

“Social media platforms have proven to be the most effective tool for election campaigns as a large section of the people use smartphones and internet. This factor has influenced political parties to prioritise social media campaigns over traditional ground-level campaigning methods and we are using it too ,” he added.

A senior journalist Shishpal Gusain while talking to this correspondent admitted that the election campaign this time is relatively quiet in the city compared to previous electoral battles.

Spelling out the three major factors which he thinks are responsible for this low-key campaigning, he said that these are the emergence of the easier options of social media-driven campaigning which involves lesser cost as compared to the ground-level campaigning, rising costs of traditional campaigning through flags, festoons, banners and hoardings and lastly, the hawk-eyed vigil being kept by the ECI, forcing parties to seek permissions from it at every step of traditional campaigning.

“Of course, we are missing the customary noise and heat of poll campaigning this time, but this is an unstoppable trend with social media-propelled campaigning elbowing out the conventional style of campaigning, given the high-tech age we are living in,” he added.

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