|Students discuss elections at the canteen of AN College and on the campus of Patna University on Wednesday. Pictures by Jai Prakash
Smartphones in hand, college students in the city are doing the rounds to mobilise support for candidates in comfortable kurta-pyjama to beat, err meet, the election fever.
The general elections are days away and the fervour has peaked in Patna’s colleges. Even though examinations are knocking at the doors, nothing can douse the students’ enthusiasm to campaign for their favoured parties.
Social networking platforms and text messaging applications on smartphones are put to use. Canteens and tea joints are transforming into brainstorming zones. A pair of kurta-pyjama has become the new dress code.
Himanshu Yadav, a student of Patna University who turned out on Wednesday in a blue kurta, said: “I love wearing kurta-pyjama during elections, which is like a festival in the state. During festivals, you wear something traditional. So, accordingly, kurta gives off the perfect feel of elections.
“These days, you would find almost every student in the university wearing kurta. It has become the new dress code,” he added.
The kurta-pyjama not only scream traditional, they are extremely comfortable in the heat — of summer and elections — too. Apart from comfort, cost-effectiveness is also on the students’ minds.
They are making optimum use of new campaigning tools, including smartphone applications and social networking platforms.
Kundan Kumar Singh, a student of AN College, said the text applications have reduced cost of campaigning and has ensured connectivity to the masses. “Smartphones have become affordable these days. The craze for the applications available on the phones has made e-campaigning possible. We are using applications such as WhatsApp to connect to the students. They reduce the calling cost to a great extent as well,” he added.
The canteen at the college has turned into the major meeting point for the poll-crazy students. Politics and intricacies of campaigns are being discussed over a cuppa, ensuring the students have cost-effective modes at hand to mobilise support for their leaders.
Radhe Shyam, a public administration student of AN College, said: “The canteen is the best place for us to meet during the election season. A cup of tea refreshes the mood and is affordable as well. We often hold meetings here.”
Those who cannot attend the scheduled meetings head over to Facebook. Shyam said: “We have formed a closed group and a page on Facebook. We update the minutes of the meetings and the agenda discussed on the page.”
As part of the campaign, Shyam and his friends are also busy inviting people to like the existing Facebook pages of JD(U) and chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Kundan agreed that social networking platforms have made their work a lot easier.
“New media, including social networking platforms and smartphone applications, has reduced our cost of campaigning. E-campaigning is the silent but effective way to protest and support. We are able to reach the masses at a minimal cost,” he added.
Some students are not even concerned about zeroing in on a rendezvous point to discuss campaign strategies. One of them is Pappu Verma, a student of Patna University, who in spite of exams looming in front of him, is ready to mobilise support.
“Text messaging applications have made my life easier. I get in contact with my team members through WhatsApp. We don’t even have to fix a meeting. I can just interact with them over the smartphone applications. It ensures I don’t have to visit places to connect to the people so I get lot of time to study too.”
Patna University exams are starting on April 22.
He added: “Twitter and Facebook keep me updated about the parties and when I find something noteworthy, I share it among my group — on Facebook or WhatsApp. We have saved many trees this election. We have prepared digital pamphlets and hoardings and shared them on the phone applications. It has automatically reduced the advertisement cost and has reached everyone.”