This Orissa MP built up his electorate, post card by post cardMarch 19th, 2009 - 11:37 am ICT by IANS
By Jatindra dash
Bhubaneswar, March 19 (IANS) In these high-tech times of the cell phone and email, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Orissa, M.A. Kharabela Swain, has faith in the old method of sending personally signed post cards to voters. And why not? It has helped him build a personal bond with the electorate and seen him winning three consecutive times.
Swain, who is seeking a fourth term in the Lok Sabha from Balasore constituency, said he has sent at least half a million post cards during his political career of over a decade and the campaign has contributed majorly to his win.
“People also reply to my post cards. Many have shown me the cards they have received. They have kept them for years together,” Swain told IANS.
“Those who receive the post cards feel closer to me,” 56-year-old Swain said, adding he has sent some 5,000 cards in the past two weeks and plans to send as many as 60,000 more in the next fortnight.
“The post cards contain my appeal to people to vote for me. I put my signature on them while travelling and I post them myself,” he said.
Swain collects the addresses while interacting with the people during his visit to villages and towns. He later feeds the addresses in his personal computer. “I have a database of nearly 100,000 people,” he said.
“People think when I write their name on a post card that I am really serious about remembering them and I have put some personal and physical effort to connect with them,” Swain said, adding that he puts in serious efforts.
“Post cards with my handwritten signatures also have an emotional impact on the recipients,” he said.
“In this way I am able to reach out to people who do not have mobiles and computers. There are hundreds of villages in my constituency which do not have mobile network,” Swain said. Balasore constituency has some 3,700 villages.
“I have received dozens of post cards from him in the past one year. I am happy that he remembers me,” Sudhakar Mohanty, a voter of his constituency, said.
As a sitting MP and deputy chief whip of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, Swain has telephones and mobiles but he said he uses them only if there is some urgency and prefers to write letters instead. Before joining politics, he used to be a civil servant with the railways.
(Jatindra dash can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tags: cell phone, consecutive times, constituency, dozens, electorate, emotional impact, fortnight, half a million, handwritten signatures, Lok Sabha, march 19, mobile network, mp, orissa, personal bond, personal computer, physical effort, political career, post cards, swain