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Home > India > News > Report

Campaigning in K'taka goes high-tech

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | April 10, 2008 17:32 IST

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Karnataka is witnessing one of the most hyped elections the state has ever witnessed. Parties like the Congress, Janata Dal-Secular and the Bharatiya Janata Party are doing everything in the book to outsmart each other so that could be the ones to call the shots at Vidhan Soudha -- Karnataka's seat of power.

The run up to the D-Day is bound to be a pot-boiler and parties, apart from finalizing candidates to contest polls, are thinking of various ways market their candidates and also their agenda for the state.

An evident change that one can get to see is the manner in which parties are going to canvass.

Committees have been formed in every party to ensure campaign superiority. Parties have chosen the high-tech route to canvass for votes.

Both Congress and BJP have two advertising agencies each in Bangalore to take care of the publicity. Although the JD-S is yet to appoint an agency, they have started work through party workers, who are in constant touch with television channels and web portals to advance their campaign.

Advertising agencies, which did not want to be named for this report, say that this time the focus is on an alternative medium of advertising for the elections -- meaning fewer newspaper advertisements as compared to previous years.

Considering that the Election Commission has put a sealing of Rs 10 lakh per candidate, parties feel that it would be cheaper to look for an alternative method of advertising.

Sources in Congress told that they would be spending around Rs 2.2 crore on advertising. Apart from using FM radio stations and an SMS campaign, the party plans to woo voters in cities in style -- that includes use of giant LCD screens.

The Congress has also started its own call centre in Bangalore, which gives updates regarding the agenda of the party and also its candidates.

Advertising agencies handling the campaign for the BJP say they will go ahead, more or less, on the pattern that Narendra Modi [Images] used in Gujarat. Apart from using television space to a large extent, their main thrust would be on bulk SMS.

BJP leader Pramila Nesargi says that a hi-tech campaign is aimed not just to get the votes of the rich or upper middle class, but is also an attempt to bridge the gap in society. The BJP is expected to spend Rs 2 crore on advertising.

The JD-S, which has always been projecting itself as a farmer friendly party, too has hi-tech plans. Apart from the television, they would on post advertisements on web sites.

JD-S sources say they would concentrate on pop-up advertisements and bulk mailing system.

The party believes the number of people using the internet has gone up five fold in Bangalore and hence this would be the best way of reaching out to the voter. Through the bulk mailer pattern, they would send out mails at random regarding their party, the candidates and also their agenda for the election.

The JD-S is expected to spend anything between Rs 1.2 to Rs 1.5 crore for advertising.

Political parties also feel the need to have eco-friendly pattern of advertising. With the Election Commission making it clear that political parties should avoid the use of plastic, the use of buntings, flags and banners is being brought to a bare minimum.