The Left Front in West Burdwan has gone digital with its election manifesto for the upcoming civic polls in Asansol as Covid restrictions has affected the process of physical campaign.
The Left — that has failed to retain the three Assembly seats in the district in the last 2021 elections — has decided to send its digital version of election manifesto for the Asansol municipal polls to people through social networking systems in a bid to avoid physical contact and door-to-door campaign in this pandemic situation.
To raise the pitch for its campaign this time, the Left has come up with “Asansole Ebare Bam (Left Front in Asansol this time)” slogan to woo voters.
Asked how the Left planned to share its e-manifesto with voters, a CPM leader said that they had prepared a booth-level data base of electors and set a target to reach out to at least four lakh people through WhatsApp.
Asansol municipal area consisting of Asansol, parts of Raniganj, Jamuria and Kulti blocks has a little over nine lakh voters. The Left leaders said they would try to reach the rest of the electorate through Facebook pages and Facebook live.
“Initially we have collected WhatsApp numbers of over four lakh voters in Asansol civic area to whom we will send digital version of our manifesto and urge them to cast their mandate in our favour and the rest of voters will be reached out through Facebook pages and live,” said Gauranga Chatterjee, CPM district secretary and convener of the Left Front in West Burdwan.
He said they had also printed 25,000 hard copies of the manifesto that will be distributed among people wherever it is possible.
The manifesto commits to create free Wi-Fi zones for students in each municipal wards for online study that has become a trend in this pandemic. Besides they have promised to stop corruption at the civic body. They will also set up safe homes in every ward and a team will be formed to address women's problems and ensure their safety and security. Renovating old roads, building new ones and drinking water supply are also among their priority list.
“People are scared of being infected with Covid-19 from body contacts and might not accept our printed manifesto. Moreover, several areas were declared containment zones by the administration and the digital route is the only way for us to connect with the people,” said Chatterjee.
In Asansol civic area the administration has declared 25 containment zones and recorded 2,696 Covid-19 positive cases in the past seven days. The district has recorded 10,693 Covid-19 positive cases in the past two weeks and declared altogether 40 containment zones.
CPM leaders heaved a sigh of relief as the state election commission finally decided to defer the polls from January 22 to February 12.
“The SEC and the state government were determined to hold the polls on January 22 but the court compelled them to change the date,” said a CPM leader.
“The ruling party was planning to rig the polls by keeping pandemic-scared voters indoors. We will try our best to foil their attempt,” said Pankaj Roy Sarkar, a CPM district secretariat member.
Trinamul Congress leaders in Asansol, however, taunted the Left as an “extinct and insignificant” political group. “The people have rejected them and accepted Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee in Bengal,” said V. Sivadasan, district coordinator of Trinamul.