One on one campaigning in Goa

BY ninan| IN Regional Media | 22/04/2004
The island state with an 82 per cent literacy rate is attempting an opinion-building exercise with low cost and low-key campaign strategies.

Y. Bala Murali Krishna


The time-tested, multi-step, flow-of-communication strategy with more thrust on a inter-personal and inter-group communication approach to win over the electorate, is on trial once again in Goa which is going to polls on April 26. 

The island state with a significant 82 per cent literacy rate has an over 9.2 lakh electorate spread over 40 assembly segments in just two Lok Sabha constituencies, Panaji in North Goa and Mormugao in South Goa. It  is poised to set an example to other constituencies in the country in opinion-building with low-cost and low-key campaign strategies. 

There is no major campaign blitz by either the national or regional parties. No defacement of walls with posters or even a leaflet war or banners and buntings at cross roads and junctions, making the election the most calm and peaceful event in this otherwise serene international tourist destination. 

None of the burning issues such as looting of the domestic and foreign tourists by meter-less taxi and auto rickshaw drivers, resettlement of thousands of inhabitants in the Mahdei and Nethravali sanctuary areas following a supreme court directive to comply with the reserve forest notifications, mounting water and sanitation problems, human rights violations in labour-intensive areas or the notorious Baina red-light area, have been widely discussed to their logical conclusion. 

The ruling BJP started the exercise to woo the electorate three months ago, well in advance of the election notification. It did so by selecting more than 1700 trained workers who had been authorized to meet the electorate individually in all the 1003 booths to win them over - a real inter-personal communication strategy. 

Besides, the BJP leaders in groups, headed by the party functionaries, ministers and different cells of professionals in the party also meet the electorate door-to-door to convince them of the need for defeating the Congress, which they said, not only failed to provide the people with stable governments but also branded Goa as a classic example of defection, horse trading and corruption. 

Mud-slinging by either of the parties, the BJP and the rival Congress, had become the hallmark of the campaigns, through competitive press conferences day and in day out. The latest entry to the daily press meets was the Congress-backed NCP ally Dr.Wilfred D’Souza who was contesting from Panaji against Union Minister of  State for Finance Shripad Yesso Naik. 

D’Souza, a surgeon-cum-thrice former chief minister, is valued by the electorate for his numerous qualifications, his Good Samaritan approach as a doctor, and for his more than 30 years experience as a politician, which outweigh arts graduate Shripad whose "incompetence" allegedly resulted in changing his portfolios five times, like a ping-pong ball. 

On the other hand, the union minister was banking on his 3-point list of achievements that included choosing Goa as permanent venue for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), sanction of a Rs.2500 crore conventional centre with multiplex theatres, inclusion of a  4-lane highway project on National Highway 17 between Patradevi and Polem, and catalyzing the sanction of international airport at Mopa, besides expansion of the existing Dhabolim airport at a cost of Rs.130 crores. 

In the midst of  this scenario, the Diocesan Service Centre for Social Action representing the Catholic Church issued two circulars censuring the "India shining campaign" and directing the people to vote for secular parties. It also talked about politics of corruption, defections besides seeking disclosure of all information related to ongoing works under the IFFI to the public under the Right to Information Act if the government was transparent in governance. 

This may turn the apple cart in favour or against the Congress or the BJP as Catholic Christians and other minorities comprise about 40 per cent of the electorate in the South Goa and a considerable number in the North Goa. Both the Congress and NCP candidates in the state belonged to Christian community. 

 The Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ), unlike its counterparts in other states, did not take the initiative in bringing the different candidates on one platform to elicit their views on the burning issues including topics such as privileges of legislators and parliamentarians.  

Only the D-Day will decide whether the inter-personal and group communication skills were going to play a decisive role in Goa where all the contestants adopted the same strategy. 

The success of the communication styles of Mahatma Gandhi and Mao-Tse-Tung was based not on the two leaders’ personal charisma but on a multiple flow of messages they entertained. They moved from the leader to specialized spokespersons/opinion leaders to hundreds of thousands of lesser party activists to the masses while also moving directly from the leader to the masses. 

Will the approach hold good in case of Goa this time where the Church had come out with circulars to the electorate and the political parties engaged in door-to-door communication and personal contacts much more effectively than before?


The author is a Goa-based media and science specialist and can be contacted at












Subscribe To The Newsletter
The new term for self censorship is voluntary censorship, as proposed by companies like Netflix and Hotstar. ET reports that streaming video service Amazon Prime is opposing a move by its peers to adopt a voluntary censorship code in anticipation of the Indian government coming up with its own rules. Amazon is resisting because it fears that it may alienate paying subscribers.                   

Clearly, the run to the 2019 elections is on. A journalist received a call from someone saying they were from Aajtak channel and were conducting a survey, asking whom she was going to vote for in 2019. On being told that her vote was secret, the caller assumed she wasn't going to vote for 'Modiji'. The caller, a woman, also didn't identify herself. A month or two earlier the same journalist received a call, this time from a man, asking if she was going to vote for the BSP.                 

View More