EThe use of technology to add punch to poll campaigns has never been so extensive in Andhra Pradesh as it is today.
They are armed with SMS messages and ring tones on potential voters’ mobile phones, short films packed with catchy slogans and specially designed campaign vehicles fitted with projectors, television sets and CDs for the electoral battle.
Leading the pack is IT-savvy TDP president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu who was first off the block with a media blitzkrieg involving ad films on regional channels highlighting his government’s achievements and optimum use of communication technology to reach out to voters.
The ruling party, which has in its kitty a strong line up of film and television personalities working on a variety of innovative campaign methods, is to bombard over 10,00,000 (1million) mobile phone users with SMS messages and ring tones carrying the ‘message of development’.
Mobile screens will be flooded with SMS message from Naidu telling potential voters how the TDP is committed to the development of the state.
“The IT route to reach out to voters is not only cost-effective but also carries a personal touch,” the co-ordinator of TDP’s Technology Wing P N V Prasad told PTI in Hyderabad.
Noted film director K Raghavendra Rao, who also advises the government on the electronic media, is supervising the production of ad films focussing on the TDP’s campaign theme of ‘Development versus Destruction’.
Despite a ban on political advertisements in the electronic media, TDP leaders had worked overtime to find alternative ways to ensure that the short films reach the targeted audience.
The party has requisitioned over 100 hi-tech vans, fitted with 16mm projectors, public address system and a generator, to be used by film and TV artistes for the poll campaign.
Each van, with 10 to 12 artistes, will cover about five villages a day and present skits and plays to highlight the achievements of the TDP government and the need to ensure continuity in development.
“These artistes have voluntarily come forward to canvass for the ruling party impressed by its commitment to development,” noted comedian A V Subrahmanyam, who was recently made the TDP’s spokesman, said.
The main opposition Congress, whose election campaign committee is headed by renowned actor-director Dasari Narayana Rao, has come out with a CD focussing on the ‘misrule of the TDP’ and warned voters that another term for the TDP would prove disastrous for the state.
The All India Congress Committee is sending 12 special vehicles, fitted with television sets and Video Cassette Players, to the state unit to be used during the three-week long campaign.
The state Congress unit has commissioned popular comedian Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam to produce a series of crisp ad films capturing the essence of the opposition party’s policies and programmes.
As many as eleven short films of two-minute duration each highlight the Congress’ promise of free power to poor farmers, low interest crop loans and other welfare packages.
Not to be left behind, Bharatiya Janata Party candidates are also banking on the Internet and modern communication technologies to fine-tune their campaign strategies.
K Lakshman, seeking re-election from Musheerabad assembly constituency in Hyderabad, is preparing to send e-mails and make personal calls to ‘opinion makers’ among voters to lend a personal touch to his campaign.
“Online campaigning is as important as offline campaigning,” Lakshman, who is also the state BJP general secretary, said.
Senior leader and Union Minister of State for Urban Development B Dattatreya, seeking re-election from the Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency, has launched his personal website highlighting his contributions to the development of the city as an MP from 1991 to 1996 and also as Union Minister for the last six years.