U'khand campaign still old-school

Punjab, Goa and Uttar Pradesh may have witnessed high-tech campaigning, but in the mountains of Uttarakhand, it is the time-tested networking strategies that work.

Most of the voters in the hills reside in far-flung villages, and do not have access to smart phones or the internet, and for a few, their DTH-enabled television sets are the connection to the outside world.

For Sameer Raturi of the fledging Prajamandal Party, his personal outreach, made during an agitation he led last July against illegal stone-quarrying in the lower Himalayan mountains, has been the base of his campaigning as he seeks votes for the February 15 Assembly elections from Devprayag constituency, located at the confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers.

The fray also has heavy weights such as Mantri Prasad Naithani of the Congress, BJP-rebel Diwakar Bhatt, Congress rebel Shoorvir Sajwan and Vinod Kandari of the BJP. Being well-entrenched players, each of them has some kind of organisational support for campaigning.

“For the urban regions, we have a team of cyber warriors. Elsewhere in the hills, a candidate has to rely largely on his local contacts,” Anil Rastogi, a senior leader of the Dehradun unit of the BJP told DH. Amarjeet Singh, the head of the social media department of the Uttarakhand Congress, is responsible for creating an online buzz in favour of the party, and Chief Minister Harish Rawat in particular.

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