Street vs star campaigning

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Street-star-campaigningAt a time when BJP and Congress are using modern methodologies like television, social media and mobile applications to connect with the voters the Aam Aadmi Party is following the age-old practice of contacting the voters personally. AAP has been holding rallies and conducting mass contact programmes to interact with voters in Mumbai and other parts of the country. The main objective of the programme was to talk to the masses about their problems and expectations and provide them an opportunity to know the candidate. Even Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was impressed with AAP’s mode of functioning as he said that his party needs to emulate it. The Congress party and BJP spend crores of rupees for political campaigning.

AAP had proposed the formation of mohalla sabhas to decentralise the power and improve governance at grassroots level. The party had organised a door to door campaign during the Delhi assembly election which enabled it make an impressive debut and defeat Congress. Volunteers had distributed pamphlets to create awareness among people about the agenda of the party.

The practice was quickly aped by both BJP and Congress who are trying to do the same ahead of the general elections. AAP has already trained around 3,000 volunteers at booth level who have in-turn trained others.

Mohan Kotyankar, AAP state executive said, “We do not have lumpsum funds like BJP and Congress. We are contesting 350 seats, and are using traditional methods to connect with people, not only on streets but at gram sabha level. But our volunteers are conducting online promotions holding door to door campaign. We are adopting all those methods which require very nominal funds.”

After a spectacular performance in Delhi Assembly polls AAP had started membership drive across the nation in January. The membership drive was a huge success as large number of people turned up to enrol their names.

Abhay Jog, a BPO employee from Kandivali said, “When I heard that Arvind Kejriwal has launched his party to contest elections, I could not resist my temptation to support him. He is intelligent, dedicated and selfless and I have complete trust in his leadership,” said Mishra.

Imtiyaz Ansari, AAP volunteer said, “The street play was chosen as our motive for campaigning because it connects with the aam aadmi (common man). Even uneducated can understand the motive behind it. Our aim was to reach the masses so street play serves the purpose. It creates awareness of what is happening in the society we are living in.”

“It is a way of bringing together masses for a better cause. It is not a boring speech delivered by some high profile politician and people losing interest over it. Slogans and quotes are extensively used while campaigning which creates an impact on people and encourage them to stand for what is right.”

Arun Pathak a businessman from Borivali said, “Kejriwal had set an example by refusing security. He was against the usage of red beacons on vehicles. When he arrived in Mumbai he travelled in autorickshaw and suburban trains. He had created a distinct identity of his party by holding dharna and fighting for the cause of the common man. I am impressed by his ability to connect with voters.”

AAP has given opportunity to many people who have quit their professional careers to join politics. Thus AAP has remained accessible to the common man who was frustrated with the policies of mainstream parties like Congress and BJP. The party has given an alternative to people who want good governance sans corruption.