Patiala With the Election Commission of India (ECI) imposing a ban on holding public rallies and road shows till January 15, in view of the third wave of the Corona pandemic, political parties are resorting to traditional door-to-door campaigning.

“It is impossible to have contactless meetings with people through virtual modes. Neither candidates nor people are able to adapt to such methods,” said Patiala rural’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Balbir Singh.

Candidates and parties across the political spectrum second this opinion, adding virtual campaigning sessions are no match to the physical contact and bond that one forms with the voter. Balbir claimed that only political outfits like the BJP, which have proper logistics and a well-equipped IT cell could afford to go virtual.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from Samana Surjit Singh Rakhra said it had become difficult for candidates to reach out to people at such crucial time. “The matter is being discussed at senior leadership level and the SAD is going to send a representation to the ECI, seeking relaxations in the campaigning process,” he said.

Rakhra added that people in rural constituency cannot be reached through smartphones and online meetings. “These restrictions can be best implemented in metropolitan cities only. People in Punjab’s village have no internet data for their kids to attend online classes, and we are expecting them to attend online political rallies,” he said.

AAP candidate from Amloh in Fatehgarh Sahib Gurinder Singh Garry Biring said it would take a month to arrange all logistics and permissions for online meetings, even if they start preparing for it, immediately. “We have a built team of volunteers, who are perfect in door-to-door campaigning,” he said.

SAD candidate from Nabha, Kabir Dass, added that door-to-door campaigns and small group meetings in open spaces are effective. “Earlier, door-to-door contacts were carried out in last phase of campaigning. This time, however, it has been given prime importance,” he said.

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