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Poll hopefuls in gift-giving race

Prospective candidates are distributing gifts, calendars, diaries etc. among the electorate in a bid to reach out to them.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2003 12:32 IST

It’s a game of ‘the early bird gets the vote’. Prospective assembly election candidates are distributing gifts, calendars, diaries etc. among the electorate in a bid to reach out to voters at the earliest.

“Whoever contacts the voters first has a natural advantage,” said a Congress member who was distributing these packets in the constituency of his choice.

A particular candidate is distributing a packet consisting a small calendar, a pocket diary, a pen, and bindis, all featuring the party symbol. He has given away 3,000 packets to people living in the jhuggis of the area. The publicity material has the name of the candidate in bold and also states that he would either contest from the Congress or as an independent.

It is not just Congress ticket-seekers who are resorting to this tactic. BJP ticket hopefuls too have started distributing gifts among the electorate.

Potential candidates are also targeting office-bearers of Resident Welfare Associations (RWA).

This Diwali, many RWA office-bearers were surprised to receive gifts from politicians. “Normally the politicians take gifts or monetary benefits, this Diwali, however, it was different,” said a Rohini RWA office-bearer.

Caste leaders, office-bearers of RWAs, trade organisations and market associations or anyone who the politicians thought could command some votes got gifts.

The candidates are hoping that giving gifts before the election tussle begins in earnest will help their cause.

Even sitting MLAs are distributing gifts and other material to their voters to remind them that they would be contesting the polls again.

“Even if I do not get the party nomination, my profile in the area will become better and help me in the future,” said a BJP member when asked what would happen if he did not get the party ticket even after spending a small fortune on gifts.

First Published: Nov 03, 2003 18:00 IST