Unable to match the Congress and the BJP in manpower and organisational strength, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has taken the campaign battle to FM radio channels in the widespread constituencies of South and West Delhi.
While Kanwar Singh Tanwar (47), contesting from South Delhi, is airing a personalised jingle all day praising him on two radio channels, his West Delhi counterpart, Deepak Bhardwaj (58), will be starting his adverts this week.
Tanwar’s jingle describes him as one who “cannot tolerate anyone’s plight, and breaks the shackles of poverty”. The 35-second jingle, aired between hit songs and top-rated programmes, calls him “a passionate social worker who does not need to earn from politics”.
Tanwar is a businessman with declared assets worth Rs 155 crore. He was Delhi’s richest candidate until Bhardwaj declared his net worth of Rs 622 crore to become India’s richest neta this election.
“The radio is the most powerful medium today. It is the only medium that people carry with them outdoors, and are tuned in almost all the time,” Tanwar said.
For Bhardwaj, it is also about maximum untilisation of campaign time. “It (radio) has the widest reach within the shortest time. West Delhi also has a large chunk of Metro-commuters, who are hooked to FM every day,” Bhardwaj said.
The South Delhi constituency, with 90 per cent of Delhi’s peripheral villages making its expanse, has the lowest density of population among all the seven seats. The West Delhi seat, too, has far-flung rural belts in Najafgarh and Matiala.
In Delhi, the radio has an estimated 1 crore listeners. The airwaves are rife with a war of jingles and slogans between the Congress and the BJP as parties but individual candidates except Tanwar have not woken up to its power.
For the BSP, a nascent political power in Delhi, the radio is a boon.
“We do not have the manpower to organise big rallies and meetings at all corners of the constituency during the short period campaigning. Radio is the best way to get the voters familiar with candidates’ names. Even the poorest hut in a village is likely to have an FM radio. Our Noida candidate, too, is using this medium for the same reason,” said a party insider.