Poll campaign goes hi-tech

PTI, PANAJI | 23 May 2007 18:46 IST

Technology virtually seems to have replaced the rustic electioneering methods, with internet and SMSes coming handy for political parties campaigning for the Goa Assembly polls scheduled on June 2.

Banners, posters and telephonic calls have now become things of yore. Candidates have resorted to technically easier
methods to connect with the voters.

Right from calling press conferences to inviting people for public meetings, cellphones do the job.

In Panaji, contestants and their supporters are reaching out to a sizeable chunk of literate population through SMSes,
seeking votes for their respective parties.

Supporters of Congress candidate Dinar Tarcar have already begun messaging people to vote for the fresh face
through chatting websites.

Tarcar is facing BJP heavyweight and chief ministerial candidate Manohar Parrikar in a one-to-one fight in the capital constituency.

The Election Commission has said it cannot monitor smses used for poll campaigning, despite the fact that an increasing
number of candidates are making use of this medium.

While the BJP launched its website, much before the declaration of Assembly poll in Goa, the Congress is yet to have their Goa website.

"We have received extremely good response for the website," a BJP functionary said.

In a step further, BJP has also posted Manohar Parrikar's profile on the networking website orkut.com, which also boasts of a community calling themselves 'Parrikar fans'.

While Parrikar's own profile has a personal touch to it his fans have described him as a 'technocrat, visionary and a
hardworking person'.

His personal profile reads, 'Hi, this is Manohar Parrikar and this is my newly created profile on orkut.com. I would
like to interact with all of you, particularly the youth through internet. Due to shortage of time, my replies might get a bit delayed but I will reply to each one of you in shortest possible time'.

However, Parrikar denies having created his profile on Orkut. 'I have not created my profile...I don't have time to
visit Orkut. I know who has done it', he smiles.

Interestingly, Parrikar, during his chief ministerial term had set up a mechanism to receive complaints from the common man on internet.

"He used to reply them personally and attend their problems. The internet had come handy for both -- the people
and the CM himself as he could get exact details of problem in a nutshell," Goa BJP spokesman, Govind Parvatkar said.

However, the technologically driven campaigning is well taken by generation next.

"It's not just about fan following. There are communities set up by Goan youths, that conduct poll surveys, wherein they
ask others to vote for a candidate of their choice...It's not exactly an exit poll, but it's kind of a survey," says Sonia
Kurtikar, a law student, who calls herself one of the 'Parrikar fans'.

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