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Parties sing poll tune
Posters to songs all to woo voters

Supporters of a BJD candidate finalise campaign material in Chintamaniswar and (above) singer Bharat Chandra Behera record a song for an Independent candidate at a studio in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 25: Formal campaigning is set to begin tomorrow after withdrawal of nominations for the January 8 elections to the municipal corporation. Candidates, however, are ready with publicity materials to make it big .

While the hoardings made of flex, posters, pushing cards, flags are being prepared by the candidates through various suppliers, recording of election songs and slogans has also gained momentum with individual candidates aiming to attract the voters’ attention through innovative tunes.

Bharat Chandra Behera, a singer and composer, said that though the final withdrawal of nominations would be made by 3pm tomorrow, even before that Independent candidates have started composing their songs and slogans with clear-cut strategies keeping in their minds.

“Till Wednesday, I have recorded five songs of which, two are for independent candidates Dipak Kumar Mahapatra and Nalini Samartha. As per professional ethics I cannot tell the names of the candidates affiliated to registered political parties as the withdrawal of nomination papers is not yet over,’’ Behera said.

However, he added that the interest shown by candidates for campaign songs and slogans are little less this year in comparison to the 2008 corporation elections.

“One cassette containing songs and slogans costs Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 and there are at least 15 singers engaged in the preparation of the audio cassette. I hope after Thursday evening all singers will get more work,’’ Behera added.

On the selection of tunes for the campaign, the singer said: “The candidates are providing us the details on their wards and their strategy. We select four to five tunes and after consultation with the candidates the best tune is recorded.’’

Ranjan Khatai, owner of an advertising agency at Kalpana Square, said he has been busy in making election campaign materials for several candidates in the city. Khatai’s prime customer is Amaresh Jena, a Biju Janata Dal candidate from ward No. 45 for whom he is busy making posters, banners, pushing cards, flex materials and many such publicity materials.

“We are publishing a calendar describing 32 incarnations of Lord Jagannath for Jena, which, we believe, will bring him good luck and a victory. Besides we are also printing uttariyas (scarves) carrying party symbols and slogans,’’ said Khatai.

He said that Dillip Majhi a candidate for ward No. 23 also has given him orders for such materials. He is hopeful that after December 26, when the final list of candidates would come out, he would get more such orders from candidates.

“This is the time we make good business. We provide printing materials as per the demand of the candidates. We fix rates as per the quantity demanded by each candidate. As flex is currently on demand its price is more than the traditional paper posters. The rate of flex material is Rs 8 per square foot,” said Khatai.

A candidate said: “There are nearly 15 suppliers in the city who are supplying the printing materials to us for the campaign.’’ On the ground, all candidates, including the Independents, have intensified their door-to-door campaign.

According to the guidelines issued by the State Election Commission, a candidate can spend up to Rs 50,000 on election campaign. Three officials from Odisha Finance Service have been nominated as the observers for the poll expenditure. A candidate has to submit the audited account of their expenditure within a month of publication of the poll results.