Now, parties fight it out for screen space
Mamata Banerjee and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee may not have shared screen space together on TV but both the CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress have been trying to outdo each other in the pre-poll battle being fought everyday on news channels. Nandini Guha reports.kolkata Updated: Apr 13, 2011 15:55 IST
Mamata Banerjee and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee may not have shared screen space together on TV but both the CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress have been trying to outdo each other in the pre-poll battle being fought everyday on news channels. News channel Star Ananda has been devoting around 90% of its telecast time to election-related programmes for the past one month. This will go up further as polling day approaches.
A senior official of Star Ananda said the audience response to election-oriented programmes has been overwhelming. “We took off several shows, especially at prime time, to put election-oriented news in focus. The result is that during our prime-time viewership has touched over a crore whereas in a non-prime time slot, our reach is up to 40 lakh,” Suman De said.
For another top-rated Bengali news channel, 24 Ghanta, Mukhomukhi Mukhyomantri (starring Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee), was telecast at least thrice and reached over seven lakh voters. The channel is devoting at least four hours of primetime programming to election-oriented shows.
“Campaign trails of political leaders of Left parties and Congress, interactive shows involving top leaders and some more interviews with the chief minister are on the cards,” said Anjan Bandyopadhyay, editor (input), 24 Ghanta. He said the channel also asked for a studio interview with Mamata Banerjee but there has been no response from Trinamool.
“Their party has only one face, Mamata. We have several — Buddhadeb, Nirupam Sen, Suryakanta Mishra, Gautam Deb and Biman Bose will repeatedly appear on the small screen,” said CPI(M) central committee leader Mohammed Salim.
As for Mamata, her widely-televised padayatras seem to be making up for the lack of microphones in the campaigns so far. “Apart from this, Didi has taken part in several meetings, again telecast live,” said a Trinamool functionary.
The CPI(M) accused her of copying the style of the US presidential campaigns. “But she does not have the courage to face her political Opposition openly,” said Salim. “We have a right to refuse walking into another Trinamool party office ( a channel),” said a CPI(M) functionary.