“Virodhiyon ka har var hua kharab, iss baar bhi Harda Uttarakhand ke nawab” (all tactics of the opposition have failed, this time too Harda will rule Uttarakhand) reads a Congress slogan circulated on various social media platforms.
Another one reads: “Apni Sanskriti ko bachana hai, Harda phir se lana hai” (Harda has to be brought back to power to protect our culture).
These slogans suggest the Congress is heavily banking on ‘Harda’ – as chief minister Harish Rawat is known among the party old-timers from Kumaon – and his achievements to return to power in the state as it faces a tough electoral fight from the BJP.
Though the government is dealing with the anti-incumbency factor, it has smartly positioned Rawat as the authentic Uttarakhandi face.
Interestingly, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and party president Sonia Gandhi are missing from the publicity content on social media and elsewhere.
The party’s campaign vehicles, which have to be sent to different constituencies, carry only Rawat’s photos and the details of his achievements.
“We have a local face (Rawat) and this gives us an advantage. Nonetheless, other leaders, including state party president Kishore Upadhyay, are too part of the campaign trail,” Congress spokesperson MD Joshi said.
In contrast to the Congress’ campaign, the opposition BJP is relying on the ‘Modi magic’ and the BJP-led NDA government’s achievements.
Despite the BJP having a battery of senior local leaders, including former chief ministers BC Khanduri, BS Koshyari and Ramesh Pokhriyal, the party’s publicity materials are full of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s portraits and his government’s announcements. Other publicity materials also highlight the “misgovernance” of the Congress government.
“Kali kamai ke hisab ko janta mange hisab, aa rahi hai Bhajapa sarkar” (BJP government is coming to power as people ask for the details of black money), reads a BJP slogan.
The BJP says it is working on a two-way campaign strategy – one for outdoor campaign and the other for digital platforms.
“During the Parivartan Yatra, we gave space to all the important leaders in publicity materials. But in digital mode, our team is focused on issues,” said Devendra Bhasin, BJP spokesperson.