Aam Aadmi Pary (AAP), the opposition Congress, and the ruling BJP have all put their best efforts forward to win over voters ahead of tomorrow’s second and final phase of voting in Gujarat. However, the BJP has undoubtedly beaten its competitors thus far in terms of campaigning, from hammering people with targeted social media messaging to organising its booth managers.
While Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi and a leader of the AAP, and Prime Minister and BJP mainstay Narendra Modi were busy campaigning for the final phase, Congress maintained what it has called a ‘low-key’ campaign. One of the 3,000 BJP booth workers for Ahmedabad’s Danilimda seat, Jayesh Bhai, 65, was spotted giving out the party’s wristbands to prospective voters while simultaneously keeping a close check on the voter lists. Danilimda is a Congress stronghold and a Muslim-dominated area, although the BJP has made a significant ground effort despite this.
Jayesh Bhai, a panna pramukh, or in-charge of one page on the electoral list, claims that each page of the electoral list now has a BJP panna committee to target the 30 voters whose names figure on it. The job of these 14,000 booth workers in Danilimda is to run do-to-door campaigning. ‘We have at least 3,000 panna pramukhs and five workers under them,’ an official says. Congress booth president says his party is running a ‘silent campaign’ against the BJP and PM Modi. He rubbished the BJP’s claim of having unleashed an army of lakhs of workers to reach out to voters. ‘It’s just bragging,’ he said, referring to the party’s claim that about 2,000 Congress workers were reaching out to voter.
The BJP has dominated social media with more than 300 WhatsApp groups created for each constituency, compared to just 20 for the Congress and AAP. Meanwhile, inside a tiny AAP office, dozens of booth workers are busy hard selling the ‘Kejriwal model’ of governance. ‘People need an alternative and we are that alternative,’ says 60-year-old AAP worker Kavita Ben.