The Bihar Post

Bihar polls 2020: Parties shift to actual rallies as voters reject virtual campaigns

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PATNA—In June this year, Union home minister Amit Shah had addressed the first virtual rally with his eye on the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar.

In the days to come to come, other political parties followed suit and began focusing online poll campaigns to connect with the voters. The move amply indicated what is going to happen during the assembly elections in the state in time of Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Election Commission too recommended such campaigns while restricting the number of audience at the actual election rallies to be addressed by the political parties.

The poll body strictly told the political parties how the social distancing norms have to be strictly maintained and necessary health items like masks, sanitizers and thermal scanners to be arranged at the rally grounds for the persons attending the rallies.

Initially, the political parties launched extensive campaigns by holding “virtual rallies” through digital platforms but as things stand today, they have once again gone back to the old mode of election campaigns with the digital campaigns failing to leave their impact.

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The political parties, especially the ruling BJP and the JD-U, have gone all out to address election rallies in their last-ditch attempt to get attention of the voters.

Many have alleged the leaders’ bid to address election rallies, however, have dealt a serious blow to health department’s efforts to check Corona spread as was seen during a BJP rally in Gaya where majority of the people attending the rallies were not only found without facemasks but also mocking the social distancing norms.

BJP president JP Nadda was first leader to launch actual election rally from Gaya town on 12 October. Since then, every party has now focussed their campaigns on actual rallies, rather than “wasting their time and energy” on holding virtual rallies. Nadda addressed other such election rallies in the state.

Other top BJP leaders, such as party’s Bihar in-charge Bhupinder Yadav, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and Bihar’s deputy chief Sushil Kumar Modi too have been regularly addressing actual rallies across the state for the past few days. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar too is not much behind them and has been addressing several actual rallies in a day.

Reports said the parties were compelled to shift to “actual rallies” from “virtual” for two reasons. First, their message was not reaching out to the traditional voters not comfortable with smart phones and technology and secondly, the general voters were not taking seriously the poll campaigns being launched through social medias which have lost much of their credibility for supplying “fake news”.

“Social media has lost much of its credibility now and hence none believes the contents in circulation. The situation is such that the people are refusing to believe even the facts!” commented Rajiv Kumar, state coordinator for Association for Democratic Reforms.

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