Campaign for December two Mizoram Assy polls goes hi-tech

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Aizawl, Nov 9: Political parties in Mizoram go hi-tech in their canvassing for the December two Assembly election.

As the Mizoram People's Forum (MPF), a social front of the state's largest and most influential church Mizoram Presbyterian Church, has prohibited political parties from organising road shows, door-to-door campaigns, separate public rallies and throwing feasts, the Mizo politicians have found an ideal tool in the mobile phones to do the job.

By this time in the previous elections, the political parties could have been busy in organising shows, rallies and all those frenzied things.

But this year's electioneering is going to be really cool. This is obviously because no political party dares to go against the 'thou-shall-not' of the church leaders, said Vanlalremruata, a journalist.

The success of the MPF's motto of low-profile and inexpensive elections is because of huge support of the mass who seemingly have had enough of the old-style election campaigns, he opined.

In this situation, SMS campaigning has come as the right instrument.

Now, as the political parties are riding the technology wave to reach out to their supporters in every nook and corner of the state, sales of SIM cards and handsets have drastically gone up in Aizawl.

''My sale has gone up by triple since the past few weeks,'' informed Albert, a mobile phones dealer. Since door to door campaigns are no more allowed, SMS campaign comes as an alternative method. I note down the numbers of those who carry mobiles and send them SMS, seeking their votes. SMS campaign also saves time and money. Now, I don't have to travel to every nook and corner of constituency like the previous elections. All I do is sending SMS, '' stated a candidate.

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA), formed by Mizoram People's Conference (MPC), Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) and a civic organisation Zoram Kuthnathawktu Pawl (ZKP), claims that it is the first political organisation not only in Mizoram, but also in the country to have launched mobile phone group news.

''The UDA News helps us maintain the alliance's solidarity apart from sharing information across the remote places of the state. We also use it for election campaign as it saves time and money,'' UDA spokesperson C.Lallianchhunga told UNI here.

- He said thousands of people have joined the UDA News whose subscription is free. From the UDA News, one can get the programme and policies of the UDA besides the latest political developments in Mizoram. The UDA spokesman admits that they have distributed a lot of SIM cards to their supporters in the rural areas.

A campaigner for a candidate says he would leave Aizawl shortly with a good number of mobile phones. SMS based campaigns are comparatively cheaper than traditional media, no clutter and highly responsive, he says.

Seeking vote through an SMS is like paying a visit as today the cell phone has almost become a part of one's body, says the campaigner. I have received a number of catchy text messages from a candidate in my constituency. This is really going to prove effective, said 25-year-old Lalrinsanga in Aizawl.

A Congress worker said he sends out a lot of drafted text messages daily to the rural voters. Last elections, he went there to give the same messages.

As farmers in the rural areas are busy harvesting their rice in the jhums at this time of year, all they are likely to see is a text message, unlike 2003 elections when candidates and their campaigners took all the trouble to pay them a visit in their jhums.


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