Congress mayoral candidate Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia at an election meeting at Bhanu village in ward no 19 in Panchkula on Saturday.(SANT ARORA/HT)
Congress mayoral candidate Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia at an election meeting at Bhanu village in ward no 19 in Panchkula on Saturday.(SANT ARORA/HT)

Panchkula MC elections: Candidates reach out via small gatherings, social media amid pandemic

The mayoral candidates of the two main parties have hired separate PR persons who share their daily programme on hundreds of WhatsApp groups, Facebook accounts
Hindustan Times, Panchkula | By Tanbir Dhaliwal, Panchkula
PUBLISHED ON DEC 21, 2020 01:18 AM IST

Reaching out to people and seeking votes for the upcoming MC elections amid the pandemic has been a little challenging for politicians who are avoiding big rallies, but they are making do with nukkad meetings, door-to-door campaigning and social media.

Ten to twenty small meetings a day by each candidate, hiring of PR agencies, setting of IT cells to ensure circulation of messages on hundreds of WhatsApp groups, targeting the opposition via social media are some of the main communication tools being adopted this time.

The mayoral candidates of the two main parties have hired separate PR persons who share their daily programme on hundreds of WhatsApp groups, Facebook accounts, etc.

On Sunday, Kulbhushan Goyal, mayoral candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, held 11 meetings between 9am to 7pm. On the other hand, Congress’ Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia held 10 meetings between 10am to 7pm.

No bog rallies this time

Former city mayor Ahluwalia said: “Campaigning this time is different and difficult because of the pandemic. We have to take all precautions and are not holding big gatherings. Also, because these are direct elections, we have a large area to cover in a limited time.”

Ahluwalia said that social media was playing a major role this time. “I attend meetings as per the schedule made by the party. Apart from this, I also make separate visits to families. Rest, messages are being conveyed to a large number of people via Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, and we have a separate team for that.”

Naveen Garg, district media in-charge of BJP, said: “There are no big rallies this time. The candidates are holding nukkad meetings in which a few families of an area gather and vote appeal is done.”

He added: “Daily, over 20 such small meetings are held across the wards by senior leaders of the BJP. Apart from this, candidates go door-to-door to ensure people in their areas are covered.”

The BJP has also created a 15-member IT and media cell to manage Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts of the party. “The main work of the cell is to reach out to as many people as possible and give them every detail related to the campaign. Apart from this, the cell keeps an eye on rumours spread by the opposition and clearing false allegations,” Garg added.

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