Elections in UP are unusually quiet this time

Campaign in the largest state of the country, in the true sense of the term, is yet to begin.

Lucknow: The familiar sound of ‘Jitega bhai jitega bhai’ over the loudspeakers is missing in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends the highest number of MPs to the parliament, this time.

There is no colour visible on the ground and even posters and hoardings are nowhere to be seen.

Even the messages on the mobile phones are hard to come by. It is only the television that keeps up the momentum with speeches and debates.

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Electioneering in Uttar Pradesh this time around is unusually quiet and subdued. In fact, it does not seem like election time at all.

Campaign in the largest state of the country, in the true sense of the term, is yet to begin.

While the BJP is focussing on the national campaign and is going ahead full steam, opposition parties are keeping a low profile – with most of their candidates not yet declared.

Slogans, once the mainstay of campaigning, are also conspicuous by their absence.

“The BJP has one slogan ‘Abki baar 400 paar’ and every candidate is banking on it. No candidate has coined a slogan for himself because he wants to ride high on the Modi wave. The slogan is catchy and has already caught on,” said a BJP candidate from central UP.

The Congress slogan ‘Ab Hoga Nyay’ has failed to catch the fancy of the people.

“It does not convey exactly what the Congress wants to say. The slogan should be short and catchy – one that can say everything in a few words,” said Ravish Mathur, a young psephologist.

The SP and BSP have not yet found slogans of their choice for this season.

The change in the style of campaigning has also done away with flags and posters.

“People no longer get impressed or are swayed by posters and flags. The majority of them have already made up their mind. It is useless to waste one’s money on such things. Earlier, people used to choose candidates but now people choose parties and candidates are just incidental,” said a candidate.

Most candidates are also using social media for campaigning in a very cautious way. For instance, much before the elections were announced, the SP candidate from Lucknow, Ravidas Mehrotra, put out his audio message via phone to the voters. However, he soon gave it up and no other candidate has followed this.

A BSP candidate explained: “Social media is a double-edged sword and can be used against you. It is safer and better to establish a direct connection with the voters and convey your message,” he said.

Interestingly, almost all candidates are also shying away from giving interviews and taking media persons along on their campaigns.

They claim that they have been asked by their party leaders to keep the media at a safe distance.

S N Dixit, a retired political scientist from Allahabad explained the phenomenon saying that silence prevails when the candidates and the people know the outcome of the elections.

“Almost everyone knows who the winner is. So no one is making a noise. The prospective winners are keeping quiet because they are confident of the outcome. The opposition too does not want an unnecessary effort because they also know the result,” he said.

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