Cartoon characters spicing up Punjab polls

Cartoon characters seem to be an answer to satirist Jaspal Bhatti`s demand for some colour in the Punjab elections scheduled for January 30.

Chandigarh: `Jhoota` and `Thaggi` and their rivals `Jeeta` and `Jaggi` are spicing up the Punjab poll campaign taking pot shots at rival party candidates in newspaper advertisements, FM radio channels and social networking sites.
These cartoon characters seem to be an answer to satirist Jaspal Bhatti`s demand for some colour in the Punjab elections scheduled for January 30.
Main opposition Congress` publicity wing was the first to launch the fictional characters `Jeeta and Jaggi`, which have been targeting Parkash Singh Badal led SAD-BJP Government
on various fronts. Jeeta and Jaggi are common names in rural Punjab.

The Congress` fictional characters appear every day in newspaper advertisements and on FM radio channels besides being a hit on social networking sites Facebook and YouTube.

Jeeta and Jaggi ask questions to each other and give answers that punch holes in all-round development claims made by the SAD-BJP combine.

"Our campaign has been a great hit and has got great response across age groups," said a youth Congress leader.

Quick to launch a counter attack, the SAD came up with its own fictional characters named `Jhootha`(liar) and Thaggi` (deceiver), who launch a veiled attack on the Congress`
characters, questioning why the latter are going around spreading lies when so much development has taken place.

A few days back, Jaspal Bhatti had pointed out that there should be more `colour` to the elections to make the contest interesting.

In a lighter vein, Bhatti had even written a letter to the State`s Election Department requesting that "mudslinging" should be allowed in the polls.

Parties have hired professionals to handle their campaign through the Internet.

From day-to-day happenings to list of candidates to information on rallies, everything is available on Facebook accounts and websites of key leaders in the poll fray.

"The online campaign has gained momentum and is playing an important role in the elections," feels Sandeep Sandhu, who is handling the Congress` online campaign.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal headed SAD also has a team of professionals who are maintaining pages of leaders on social networking sites besides websites of key

People`s Party of Punjab (PPP), the party floated last year by Sukhbir`s estranged cousin Manpreet Singh Badal, is also banking on online campaign, with Punjab`s noted comedian
and party leader, Bhagwant Mann, claiming that they have a fan base of over 1 lakh on its various Facebook accounts.

To cash in on the popularity of `Kolaveri Di`, PPP created its Punjabi version to woo the voters. The song has been penned by Bhagwant Mann and sung by him and another

The song `Saade dilan vich vas gayi hai PPP` (PPP has found a place in our hearts) has become a great hit ever since it was uploaded on YouTube, claims Mann, adding that they had restricted from making any personal comments against rivals and instead highlighted their own agenda in taking Punjab forward.