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World Cup final changes poll campaign strategy
Saturday's final has prompted the political parties to reorder their campaign strategy for the Assembly poll.
Kolkata: India's sterling performance in the cricket World Cup and the mass euphoria it generated ahead of Saturday's final has prompted the political parties to reorder their campaign strategy for the Assembly poll. Not only did they cancel all meetings, door-to-door campaigns, 'padayatras' et al, their candidates in some constituencies are watching matches along with people at local clubs and party offices in a bid to enlist support.
"Keeping popular sentiments in mind, our party workers are watching matches with locals to share in the excitement and at the same time seek their support for our candidates," senior Trinamool Congress leader Sultan Ahmed told PTI.
Many candidates riding the cricket bandwagon have even been advised to talk to voters about how the party would encourage sports and youth development, if voted to power. "We are talking about promoting sports - how we are going to open more stadia in the state and encourage local talent in sports. We want to bond with the populace in a better way and cricket is another opportunity for that," said Trinamool MP Sisir Adhikari.
Debaprasad Roy, sitting Congress MLA from Jalpaiguri, rued that his party workers were not able to campaign during the high-voltage India-Pakistan clash at World Cup semifinals on Wednesday. "Now during the final match, we will campaign only in the rural areas where there is no television and where nobody
is bothered about cricket. Not disturbing those who will be watching the game, will also fetch us additional points before the voters," he said.
Echoing his political rivals, CPM candidate from Dum Dum and state housing minister Gautam Deb said that the best thing during this time is not to disturb the voters, who are busy watching the games. "We do not want to disturb them when the matches are being played. During other times, we will reach out to them," he said.
Many politicians are enjoying this break from their hectic campaign schedule, while others are worried about their electoral fate. "It is difficult for me to enjoy these matches when the elections are knocking at the door," said Firhad Hakim, Trinamool candidate from Kolkata Port constituency.
Admitting that in his district electioneering has been affected badly due to the recent cricket matches, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress MP from Murshidabad, said: "For the common man, the cricket euphoria is more important than everything else. The election fever has faded away due to the cricket fever."
One exception is the BJP which said it was not changing its campaign plans for Saturday. "For most of the people, the World Cup is over after the India-Pakistan match. We did not campaign during that time. But now we will be doing our work normally," state BJP president Rahul Sinha said adding that he will go ahead with his rally at Farraka in Murshidabad on Saturday evening.