Booking prime space everywhere Publicity blitzkrieg
The publicity blitzkrieg is dazzling ! In other words leaving nothing to chance. So apart from the routine task of reaching out to the media and speaking out their minds on issues which are deemed to be important to the people, the big two, that is the BJP and the Congress are sparing no expenses in reserving prime space in all the major newspapers published from Imphal and spelling out what they intend to do if elected to power. No expenses spared and newspaper houses must surely be laughing all their way to the bank even as readers are being greeted with screaming announcements on what either intend to do, if elected to power. For the BJP, it is a call to re-elect them to office for the second term and for the Congress it is about reaching out to the people to return to power after a gap of five years. Apart from the Page 1 advertisements on all the major newspapers published from Imphal, the BJP has gone one step ahead and booked a space for itself to carry the 8 column advertisement, which is otherwise known as the airbus advertisement almost every single day. Literally sparing no expenses, underlining the point that the stake is indeed high. For the BJP the publicity blitzkrieg which it has launched in the form of paid advertisements is definitely in line with its call for Congress Mukt and apart from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura, it seems to have set its eyes firmly on Manipur, which has for long been with the Congress. The Congress on the other hand is intent on stopping the juggernaut of the saffron party and it is this one line statement that one can read in the very decision to station its poll observer Jairam Ramesh who has been coming out with a series of regular press conferences to spell out what it thinks are the shortfalls of the BJP led Government. Given the way in which the two principal political parties have gone about to occupy prime space on the pages of the newspapers and in the process occupy the consciousness of the people, one would think that all the problems and issues besieging the State are at the finger tips of the two political parties and they have the answers to all problems besetting Manipur. The interesting question is whether the people would be taken in by the publicity blitzkrieg launched by either party. Already voters of 38 Assembly Constituencies have decided which party or candidate they should vote for and the date for the 22 more is on March 5.
It must have registered in the consciousness of all the political parties in fray here, but the interesting part is, in many of the Assembly Constituencies, it is tribe affiliation and the place from where the candidate hails that can turn out to be the important factors. In the hills, tribe affiliation does play a major role and there is strong possibility that tribe affiliation may just influence the decision of the voters. So it is that tribe affiliation must have been taken into consideration while deciding on the candidate list of each political party. For instance, at Churachandpur district the voting pattern may just fall along the divide between the Kukis and the Paites, the Maos and Marams in Senapati, the place or village from where the candidate hails in Ukhrul and Kamjong etc. All these equations are complex, no doubt, but the factors which have been briefly touched upon here are no doubt crucial and these are points which will be highlighted or will be highlighted with each passing day. As in other parts of the country, the family’s name can also play a crucial role in influencing the decision of the voters. If the Congress continues to bank on the Gandhi name, there are also some families here in Manipur, which are almost synonymous with electoral politics. All these factors taken together can have a profound impact on how the voters decide who to vote for when D day comes. So come March 5 and do not be surprised if voters cast their vote on basis of the family name of the candidate, the village to which he or she belongs, the tribe and sub-tribe of the candidate etc. The election Mathematics may just prove to be as complex as some of the hardest formulae ever concocted.