Parties use radio to woo voters

SRINAGAR : Radio has emerged as the most favoured medium for politicians in election-bound Jammu and Kashmir to woo voters as the first-phase of Assembly polls in the state draw closer.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is making its first serious bid to get into power in Jammu and Kashmir, is using an audio clip of Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s address at a rally in Kargil during the inauguration of a power project there.

“Jammu and Kashmir can become a model of development for the entire country,” Modi says in the clip which is being repeatedly aired on a private FM radio station since elections were announced in the state last month.

Even in other media like newspapers, the BJP has made Modi the face of its campaign as it has embarked on its ‘Mission 44+’, a reference to the number of seats required for a simple majority in the state Legislative Assembly.

Congress is also using the same Radio station but instead of using any particular leader as the face of the campaign, the party which ruled the state in coalition with National Conference for last six years, is banking on development works to garner support for its candidates.

“Which party constructed the four-lane road from Lakhanpur to Ladakh? Congress. Which party constructed tunnels at Chenani and Zojila to provide round the year road connectivity in the state? Congress. My vote only for Congress,” the Congress advertisement says.

Opposition PDP had so far not taken to radio advertisements at party level but some party candidates from the urban constituencies were using the medium to woo the voters.

Khurshid Alam Wani, the PDP candidate from Khanyar

constituency in Srinagar district, is making a pitch for votes on the promise of development of the old city. His campaign on radio is seeking a “vote for change”.

The party candidate for Amirakadal constituency of the city Altaf Bukhari is also running the radio campaign along same lines.

However, the premier political party of the state – National Conference — has been late in using the airwaves to drum up support for its candidates.

“We have submitted the campaign material to the Election Commission and we should be on air from today (Monday),” National Conference spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu told PTI.

Although Mattu did not cite any reasons for the delay, it seems the party wanted to hit the airwaves just in time ahead of the first phase of polling tomorrow.

National Conference had used the medium in 2008 Assembly elections with an aggressive campaign which was based around resolution of problems faced by the people.

Whether the radio campaign paid any dividends to the party six years ago cannot be quantified in the absence of an emperical study, National Conference managed to win 28 seats in the elections then, arresting the slide in party fortunes. From more than 55 seats in 1996 elections, it had been reduced to 28 in 2002 polls.

In addition to radio, BJP has been targeting the mobile telephone subscribers through pre-recorded calls and SMSes as well.

However, there have been some complaints too about the unsolicited calls and SMSes from the BJP campaign as even those subscribers, who are registered for ‘Do Not Disturb’ service have been receiving the calls and SMSes.

“There has been some error and we will look into it to ensure that it does not happen again. We respect the privacy of the people,” BJP spokesman for Kashmir Khalid Jehangir said. (AGENCIES)


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