Poll campaigns losing frills in Province 1

- Post Report, BIRATNAGAR

Nov 14, 2017-

There is a visible difference in the way political parties and their candidates are campaigning for the upcoming elections in Province 1. Unlike in the past elections, parties here seem to have limited the use of election publicity materials like flags, pamphlets, shirts and banners.

From the mountain district of Taplejung to the low-lying Tarai district of Morang, many parties have adopted no-frills campaigns. Candidates are emphasising on doorstep campaigns and small mass meetings to reach out to voters instead.

Politicians in the region say most people today are politically up to date, thanks to the pervasive mass media and social networking sites, which is pushing traditional publicity methods to obsolescence.   

It seems that the Election Commission (EC) strictly enforcing its code of conduct has also helped realise this transformation. 

Another contributing factor is the fact that the upcoming elections come on the heels of the local level elections, when the parties and candidates heavily relied on party flags, shirts and print materials despite the EC’s caveat. 

“Use of flags, posters and banners are used to create election environment. The recently held local election have already set the platform for the coming elections. So there is little or no need of doing the same thing all over again,” said Nepali Congress (NC) candidate Shekhar Koirala, who is contesting from Morang-6. 

According to Bishnu Kumar Nembang, a CPN-UML leader and the left alliance candidate from Panchthar, the changes that election campaigns are witnessing will become a norm over time as Nepali voters are becoming more politically aware. 

“Most voters these days weigh the candidates and their agendas before voting ,” he said. 

A candidate contesting in the federal elections from Jhapa reckons that high cost of running an election campaign also had a significant contribution to muted publicity trend.

But this does not mean the election campaigns have lost their steam.   

“Social media has made a lot easier for candidates to reach the voters. It is more effective to paint social media walls instead of real ones these days,” he quipped.

Published: 14-11-2017 07:53

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