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Films, fashion shows, wrestling: How parties are wooing young voters in Madhya Pradesh

From featuring Bollywood stars to celebrating shuttle trains and organising fashion shows, political parties are trying more glamorous tactics to catch the attention of young voters.

Madhya Pradesh Elections 2018 Updated: Oct 23, 2018 14:19 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Madhya Pradesh election,Vote bank
Farmers and youth attend a political rally in Ujjain, in May 2018. Madhya Pradesh goes to polls on November 28. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT File Photo)

Events featuring Bollywood stars, a marathon in Gwalior, a fashion show, self-defence camps in Indore and Ujjain, poetry events (kavi sammelan and mushaiyra) in Bhopal and a folk dance festival in Bundelkhand – political parties in Madhya Pradesh are going all out to woo young voters.

According to chief electoral officer’s office in Madhya Pradesh, 56.09 % of the 50.3 million voters in the state are in the age group of 18 to 39 years.

Recently, a new political party Jay Adivasi Yuva Sangthan (JAYS) invited film star Govinda to address voters. Now, the party plans to bring another actor, Mithun Chakraborty for its next event.

Vyapam whistle-blower Anand Rai, who joined JAYS recently, said, “If JAYS comes to power, movies of Govinda will be declared tax free so that people in rural area can get entertainment at much lower cost.” This , he said, will take care of “people’s need for entertainment”. Rai was responsible for shining the light on the controversy surrounding the body organising admission tests for everything from medical college admissions to some government jobs (popularly known by its Hindi acronym, Vyapam).

But it isn’t just talks featuring Bollywood stars; in Khandwa, BJP MLA from Mandhata, Lokendra Singh Tomar celebrated the anniversary of the Beed-Khandwa shuttle train last week with young voters with a cake and a speech; and Congress leader from Bhopal, Govind Goyal has so far organised a fashion show, mushaiyra and a wrestling competition. “We can’t ignore the young generation during the election,” he said.

Several BJP MLAs in the race for party tickets have launched Apps to woo young voters, sharing information on their plans. Among these are cooperative minister Vishwas Sarang, parliamentary affairs minister Narottam Mishra, MLA Rameshwar Sharma and former Bhopal mayor, Bhopal Krishna Gour.

“It is necessary for us to explain our work and convey our messages to them so we are doing this with help of sports events, technology and other events for youngsters,” said Sarang.

The Aam Admi Party is also trying to woo youngsters with open debates and street plays.

“The politicians , who are organising religious events including Bhagwath Katha, Ram Katha and Jagrata in almost all the 230 constituency, realise that the youngsters are not interested in long political speeches and religious events so they have decided to organise other events (as well). This year we have seen variety of events. We will do a survey of its impact,” said Rolly Shivhare, member, Association of Democratic Reforms, Madhya Pradesh.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 12:56 IST