The cellphone rang. As Chandana, an undergraduate engineering student, answered the call she was startled. "Agyan namaskar, mu Naveen Patnaik kahuchhi (Namaskar, I am Naveen Patnaik speaking)", a familiar voice said at the other end.
These words are reaching out to people across Orissa through landline and mobile telephones, as the state goes to polls in two phases on April 16 and 23. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, also president of the ruling BJD, speaks in chaste Oriya surprising the receiver as such innovative campaigning is said to be first of its kind in the state's electoral history.
"This is part of BJD's hi-tech campaigning", said a senior party leader adding that people were happy listening to Patnaik's plea for votes on telephone.
The message is aired through voice recorder from a Delhi telephone number, BJD sources said. To start with, Patnaik seeks blessings and cooperation from the receiver so that the BJD can serve the state for another five years.