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WB: Graffiti ban prompts new innovations
April 03, 2006 11:34 IST
For the first time in its history, West Bengal goes to polls next fortnight sans graffiti, hitting traditional painters hard and forcing political parties to churn out newer methods for wooing voters.
The Election Commission ban has goaded poll managers to dabble in new age campaign innovations -- from apparel to e-options and roadshows to snazzy electric lighting -- that showcase party symbols and candidates' virtues.
"We have the traditional cassettes and videos. But now that wall writing is gone, one has to bank on variety, be it ranpa walkers or personally compiled poems," says Trinamool heavyweight Sovandeb Chatterjee who is seeking re-election from south Kolkata's posh Rashbehari constituency.
Bengal's net-savvy IT minister Manab Mukherjee, trying his luck again from north Kolkata's Beliaghata, is unleashing his creative juices on the Net.
After a personal Web site that offers paeans to the IT boom in the state, he has lined up film shows in the metropolis to showcase the 'allround development' slogan of the Left Front.
Countering this, Trinamool's poll organiser Madan Mitra, a key candidate himself, is planning to soon release a campaign film depicting 'Left Front misrule'.
He has two more campaign novelties up his sleeve: hundreds of specially-designed vests for morning walkers, joggers and rickshaw pullers and sparkling electrical circuit dazzlers that scream paribartan anun (to herald in change).
Red and white shirts and bandanas with Communist Party of India-Marxist symbols are being delivered in bulk at local party offices and youth clubs.
This time around, traditional colours are giving way to funky varieties -- yellow, green and blue -- to give the fashion-conscious a choice in election wear.
And then there are new-age contestants making their way into urban middle-class homes, thanks to cheaper, effective and highly personalised platforms -- Web sites.
CPI-M's Asok Bhattacharya, a minister in the Left Front government known for his proximity to former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, has floated a Web site where he receives complaints from his voters in Siliguri and emotional messages from people rooting for the Bengal cricketing icon.
The party's Tollygunge candidate Partha Pratim Biswas has distributed pamphlets in the constituency displaying his homepage and urging prospective voters to check it out.