In the race to grab eyeballs and gain attention, cartoons have emerged as the weapons of choice for parties contesting these polls. Not necessary funny and in the lighter vein, these have been used to mock, malign and rake up issues to engage students, but most of these cartoons do not ask for votes, per se.
Currently on in the cartoon show is a ‘war’ between Students Organisation of India (SOI), the student wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) with the latter releasing the first arrow.
In some of its cartoons, all uploaded on its Facebook page, PUSU has termed the SOI as the ‘Smack Organisation of India’ and accused them of bribing students with food and free trips. Its promise of free washing machines was mocked at. Some cartoons also mocked deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal with the CM Parkash Singh Badal also featuring in one of these.
“We have been getting a good response on our cartoons. You can compare our Likes with that of the SOI. Our eight-member team takes inputs from us and draws the cartoons. The SOI is running for cover and is inquiring on the people who are making them,” said Brahmjot Gill, PUSU Facebook page administrator, adding that for them, personal attacks were a no-no.
Hitting back in the same coin, the SOI uploaded cartoons where it raked up the April 9 firing incident on the campus where two PUSU leaders had to go to jail and described them as criminals. The SOI also mocked at National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, presidential candidate Siya Minocha.
“The PUSU started this campaign. We have replied back,” said Babalpreet Bains, the SOI leader, who gets these cartoons designed from his team.
National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the Students for Society (SFS) have so far not used cartoons. The SFS is resorting to street plays to mock at current leaders of rivals with the NSUI saying that such tools could backfire.
“We have been advised not to resort such type of campaign. Sometimes, such cartoons back fire too,” said Gaurav Kler, who handles social media for the NSUI.