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The unique campaign style of Churchill Alemao

April 22, 2004 15:08 IST

If it were not for the huge banners and the occasional sloganeering, the scene would appear to be one of merry making and festivity.

But this is no festival. It is Churchill Alemao, a former NSA detainee and Congress candidate from Mormugoa constituency, campaigning in his distinct style.

Alemao, a colourful personality, is not one to resort to the clichés of campaigning, and his method of using 'tiatra' (traditional form of theatre), musical bands playing full blast and impromptu road shows, livens up the otherwise dull campaign in Goa this time around.

Alemao, who is in a neck-to-neck fight with sitting Member of Parliament Ramakant Angle of the BJP, scores points for his unique campaign, which generally hits full steam after sunset when Goans come out to sit in village corners and the numerous bars that dot the state.

He brings in 'tiatra' groups to attract voter attention, while interspersing his speeches with music and drama, ensuring that the spectators are not bored enough to walk away.

His road shows are led by a fleet of motorcycles, a truck with music and singers, and then Churchill himself in an open jeep, waving to passers-by and stopping now and then for a impromptu meeting.

"He is very tuned in to what will attract the voter. Goans with their passion for music and dance are interested enough to listen to him," says a Congress worker.

Interestingly, Alemao's campaign manager is Francisco Sardinha, the man who defeated him in the 1998 election to win the Mormugoa seat.

Now, however, they have put up a united front, lashing out at the Parrikar government for allegedly 'discriminating between Christians and Hindus', and labelling the BJP as 'communal'.

"The fact that I defeated him does not make a difference. Now we are together and we are sure of cantering to a win," says Sardinha.

Churchill himself won the seat in 1996 on an UGDP ticket, and is confident that he will bag it this time too, attributing the people's 'tiredness with the BJP and its ways of power'.

If he does win though, credit should go in some part to his unique style of reaching out to people.

In a party otherwise hampered by frequent infighting, Churchill has managed to carve out a faithful band of supporters for himself.

Insiders admit the party is putting up a united face for the sole reason that a defeat to the BJP for the second time running would result in a huge loss of face for its top leader and its repercussions would be felt during the assembly elections in the state.

The BJP, however, has not taken too much of a hint from Churchill or his campaigning style, keeping its drive restricted to small village meetings and door-to-door campaigns.

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