In India elections are no less than the festivals; as they are called a 'festival of democracy'. But in times of Covid-19, elections and electioneering have also changed a lot. Had it not been Corona pandemic, reporters from New Delhi would have packed their bags by now to cover elections which are due by the end of this year. It's not only the reporters but leaders of various political parties are also in a fix about their campaigning. The online prachaar has come to help them.
JD(U),the ruling party in the state is planning a huge virtual rally of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on August 7. JDU's senior leader Ajay Alok told us that they will reach out to 50 lakh people on Facebook through this rally.
He also says that door-to-door campaigning was risky as maintaining social distancing will be difficult.
The party has established 243 special satellite links to disseminate information via WhatsApp. Special projectors will be rented out to each panchayat so that Chief Minister's virtual rally could be watched by people in the remotest areas. While Opposition maintains wifi connectivity was an issue in state, JDU rebuffs all such charges and claims the adequate connectivity was available even at the panchayat level.
All parties are are trying to figure out way reach out to their electorate.
"The traditional way of door-to-door campaigning to reach out to the electorate is an ideal way." believes LJP leader Chirag Paswan.
"But guidelines of social distancing need to be followed," he adds.
He is reaching out to his karyakartas through video conferencing.
He has done 50 virtual conferences so far with the karyakartas of his party. He is also planning virtual rally of Ram Vilas Paswan in the month of July. He feels digital campaigning was an expensive way to reach out to the people, so it has its limitations too.
RJD leaders Tejashwi Yadav is also holding virtual conferences with the party karyakartas to take their feedback.
RJD RS MP Misa Bharati said,"Digital Medium is very expensive, and also wifi network is a problem in remote areas of the state".
For her door-to-door campaigning is the best way to reach out to the electorate and can be done at the local level while maintaining norms of social distancing.
National parties too are going digital in the Bihar as elections are due by the end of this year.
BJP President Amit Shah was the first one to hold a virtual rally in the state. Congress too has started it's digital membership drive ahead of the election, one can become a member of Congress party in Bihar by giving a missed call on a toll-free number and providing some other details
The party is trying to build its campaign 'Bole Bihar-Badlo Sarkar' on WhatsApp and Facebook. Congress in-charge for Bihar and RS MP Shaktisinh Gohil told us that party was using all social media platforms to reach out to the electorate.
"We are using Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram app to reach to the people," he said.
Corona has changed our lives and our politics too. Politicians going digital way is the new normal of politics. Corona has forced political parties to find novel ways to reach out to people.