They work behind the curtains and remain largely unknown but their creative work is visible for all to see. Meet the creators of the cartoons, handmade stickers, posters and slogans that are the backbone of any student parties’ election campaign.
The Lyngdoh guidelines do not allow the use of printed material on campus for canvassing. To ensure that they are able to woo the voters without flouting the guidelines, student parties turn to their party workers who prepare handmade material for campaigning.
‘IDEA COMES FROM LEADERS’
Avneet Kaur is a law student and has been associated with the National Students Union of India (NSUI) for the past oneand-half-year. This year, she has been the brains behind a number of cartoons that have targeted the Students Organisation of India (SOI), NSUI’s arch-rival on campus.
“The ideas for the cartoons come from the top leaders after which we hold a discussion within our team. I am also composing the handmade stickers that party-workers wear on their clothes. Last year too, NSUI workers wore my stickers,”she said. Kaur is also the administrator of NSUI’s Facebook page and regularly uploads pictures and cartoons, which are quickly emerging as a major propaganda tool. Reet Saini of defence studies is the creator of the cartoon that labelled SOI as the ‘Smack Organisation of India (SOI)’. On using cartoons as a means of campaign, she said, “We are making cartoons and targeting SOI leaders. We are being intimidated and followed. But this only encourages us to fight back..”
NOT CONCERNED WITH LIMELIGHT
Sangeeta Katnaur, student of BSc (HS) chemistry third year, makes the stickers for the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU). “We make 150-200 stickers in one go,” she said. Katnaur doesn’t feel bad about being away from the limelight as she feels that she is doing an important job for her party. “We want to support our party as the university needs to have a students’ party and not a party which is controlled by politicians,” she said. For SOI-member Shivangi Walia, distributing stickers is an integral part of campaigning. “In a day we make around 500-600 stickers and distribute them among the students” she said.