'This is your prime minister calling.' Over the next few weeks, over 2 crore (20 million) people will pick up the phone to hear Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's voice at the other end, asking them to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the coming general elections.
Cyber campaign in the cyber age. The BJP has designed an e-campaign that promises to be something the electorate has never seen before. To be launched on Thursday, it will begin with the Prime Minister's recorded message playing on the phone in Hindi. This will later be recorded in English and other regional languages.
The BJP's high-tech campaign, unveiled on Wednesday, plans to make good use of other media like radio, mobile phones and the Internet. Television, local cable networks and movie halls will, of course, be used as in earlier elections. The party expects to reach about 150 million voters, of a total of 600 million, through e-campaigning.
Thus, cellphone users can SMS 3030 to download screen-savers of Vajpayee and the BJP's election symbol. One can also download the Prime Minister's poems and replace the operator log with the party's election symbol.
The BJP is also planning to offer services like free downloads of mobile ringtones based on its anthem, Vande Mataram, Vajpayee's poems and the India Shining campaign.
"The plan includes sending SMS on the key achievements of the government, information about campaigning, public meetings, television appearances of key leaders and even for conducting opinion polls," Pramod Mahajan, general secretary, BJP, said.
The party is also using the Internet for campaigning. It is giving the final touches to a portal that will provide information about the party's candidates, advertisements and manifesto among other things.
The BJP has collected 20 million e-mail addresses, where the Prime Minister's message will be sent. "We will also e-mail articles from Indian as well as foreign journals praising India," Mahajan said.
Another aspect of the BJP's poll campaign is Generation Y2K4 -- to target young and first-time voters. For this, the party will use music channels like MTV and Channel V as well as the employment and matrimonial sections of newspapers and FM channels."We are also planning campus advertising and merchandising to catch young voters," Mahajan said.