Former Ranchi mayor Rama Khalkho (left), who is eyeing a comeback in the June 23 polls, hands over a pamphlet to a woman at Tetartoli, Morabadi, in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
If posters and banners with pictures of mayoral aspirants beaming at you are curiously missing from Ranchi roads in the run-up to the June 23 contest, here’s why.
Your would-be mayor believes in person-to-person contacts and door-to-door visits to get a first-hand report about your problems than merely making promises on a few pieces of paper or billboards that fail to make much impact.
Campaigning for the mayoral election has undergone a sea change this time with almost all candidates unanimously agreeing that they feel that they have a better chance of winning if they take the trouble of visiting voters on their doorstep.
Be it BJP-backed Asha Lakra or Ajsu-supported Barsa Gadi, everyone seems to be falling back on the twin mantras of “mohalla baithak aur jan sampark abhiyan (group meetings in colonies and public relation campaigns)” to strike a chord with the masses.
“Mere poster dekhkar log kya karenge? Behtar hai ke main unhe khud jaakar milun (What will people do by seeing my posters? It is better if I meet them personally),” came the candid confession from Asha.
On Tuesday morning, Asha visited Kanke Road, Gandhi Nagar, Dhawan Nagar, CMPDI and Hatma. In the afternoon, she was seen at Satellite Colony and the areas along Harmu Bypass. The evening was reserved for Bariatu and Tharpakhna.
So, are posters a strict no-no this time?
“No, no, I am not saying anything as such. Posters will be put up later. As of now, I want to meet people personally, be among them. Can my poster lend an ear to their stories of happiness and sadness?” she asked.
Barsa said something on similar lines when asked which mode of campaigning she preferred the most.
“Logon se milna hi theek hain. Jan sampark ho raha hain to log mujhse nazdeek se mil pa rahe hain, sun pa rahe hain, aur main bhi unko sun rahi hoon, jaan rahi hoon. (It’s better to meet people. Through public meetings, people are getting an opportunity to meet me, hear me. I am also being able to hear them, know them,” said the mayoral aspirant, who walked through the lanes of Argora, Chutia and Mundagara on Tuesday to interact with residents.
That voters have lost their faith in the public representatives who hardly visit them once elected to power was reinforced when Mehrunnisha, a lady in her mid-40s, asked Barsa, “You are contesting the election, so you are here. After getting elected, will you come back to see whether the problems have been solved or not?”
“I am noting down all the problems so that I can address them if I become the mayor,” Barsa assured the woman.
Madhuri Lakra, another candidate, faced similar questions from the public while holding meetings at Hehal, Bajra and Itki in the morning.
“This is all because of their past experience. Earlier, so many promises were made, but nothing was done. The city has gone from bad to worse,” Madhuri complained.
The veteran of them all is also keeping it low this time.
Rama Khalkho, who found herself on a sticky wicket after her name was linked to the cash-for-vote controversy that led to cancellation of the mayoral polls last year, said: “I am concentrating on small group meetings because that will help me put my thoughts in a better way.”