The Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and the newly-formed Kongunadu Munnetra Peravai (KMP) are the parties contesting from the Coimbatore Lok Sabha Constituency. While the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has drawn up an elaborate campaign plan for its ally, the Congress, the CPI (M) is to join its allies, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) in a joint campaign.
CPI (M) candidate P.R. Natarjan says 1,380 booth committees have been formed by the AIADMK and his party. For every 100 voters, a four-member committee has been formed to check voters’ list and other preparations. The campaign will hit the roads after the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance’s meeting in Chennai next week to introduce its candidates.
Handbills, posters and other publicity materials are being prepared. “Wall writings are permitted only in village panchayats. Our cadre will reach out individually to the voters in a door-to-door campaign,” he says
The DMK has drawn up an elaborate plan to help the Congress candidate win. And, the efforts had begun with motivation meetings for the cadre. “We have held 20 meetings from Valparai to the city in eight days,” says city deputy secretary P. Pynthamil. The DMK has divided the city’s 72 wards into eight zones. Ten-member committees consisting of DMK and Congress office-bearers and cadre have been formed for each zone. “Our campaign includes personally calling on VIPs in every area in the constituency”, Mr. Pynthamil says.
Meanwhile, the Congress has begun its individual efforts too. A large cut-out of the almost certain candidate R. Prabhu is placed on the compound of his house on Race Course. A larger cut-out put up by a councillor in the city has the images of all the Congress leaders, including Mr. Prabhu. The cut-out, put up for a Mariamman Temple function, serves the party’s indirect campaign method.
BJP’s election in-charge for Coimbatore, Pollachi and the Nilgiris S.R. Seghar says the party has been working on forming booth committees for the last three years.
A senior district functionary heads a booth committee of 10 members. He grooms a person among them to become the leader and then moves out to take up a constituency-level task. This is the case with each of the 1,100 committees.“We will distribute leaflets comparing the rule of the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP and the United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress. In our door-to-door campaign, we will explain to the people why they have to vote for the BJP,” says Mr. Seghar.
The “permanent allies” of the BJP – the Hindu front organisations – will also campaign for the party. Asked what the BJP’s campaign materials were, Mr. Seghar quips: “Definitely not money”. The DMDK is eagerly awaiting the arrival of its chief Vijayakanth, even as it has completed the task of forming 1,100 booth committees and even a legal wing to deal with problems during campaign. Mr. Vijayakanth is expected to enter Coimbatore District at Udumalpet on April 14. After campaigning there and at Pollachi that day, he will campaign in the Coimbatore Lok Sabha Constituency on April 15 and 16, according to party candidate for the Coimbatore seat R. Pandian.
BSP candidate and State secretary K.R.S. Manian says his party has formed a four-layer structure to handle the campaign. Teams have been formed to look after Assembly segments within the Lok Sabha constituency. “We have divided 1,100 booth areas into sectors. Each sector has 10 booths. Distribution of handbills, flag hoisting, street corner meetings and audio-visual presentation on the achievements of the party are some of the features of the campaign,” he says.
Party chief Mayawati may come to Coimbatore in early May for a public meeting which will be attended by all the candidates in the western zone of the State.