Graffiti In Elections

Though the campaigning for the simultaneous Lok Sabh and Odisha Assembly has reached at its peak across the state, one can hardly find a graffiti drawn by any political party.

In the digital age where flex and banners are made within minutes and candidates under take social media as means of campaign, there is hardly any place for graffiti.
However, one can find such old methods of election campaigning like writing on the walls in Odisha’s Nabarangpur district, one of the tribal dominated areas of the state.
“Election campaign through graffiti is an old election culture. Though many people have forgotten it and rejected it with development of technologies, Nabarangpur upkeeps the practice,” said a school teacher who has been observing the changing patterns of election campaigning in this tribal district.
He said the graffiti mostly kept alive in Nabarangpur because of two factors. One- the literacy rate in Nabarangpur is still below 50 per cent and two-people get impression of an election atmosphere from graffities.
Graffiti is mostly a Bengal culture. Since a large number of Bengali speaking live in Nabarangpur, the political parties prefer to satisfy the voters in the manner in which they get mood of the elections.
Like Bengal, graffiti is mostly used in Nabarangpur by all the parties.
Nabarangpur district has five assembly segments like Umarkote, Jharigram, Dabugaon, Kotpad and Nabarangpur. Two other assembly segments like Malkangiri and Chitrakonda of Malkangiri district are also part of Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seat.
In Umerkote, where a large number of Bengali settlers live in Raighar area, is witnessing a straight fight between BJP and the BJD. This time, the ruling BJD has fielded its sitting MLA Subhas Ganda while BJP’s Nityananda Ganda has been giving him a big fight.
Subhas has been seeking election for the second time and also carries anti-incumbency while Nityananda though lost last time, has been boasting on the Bengali votes. Nityananda feels that the Bengali settlers will this time support the BJP as the Central government has been making provisions to give better status to the settles.
In Jharigaon, Minister Ramesh Majhi’s borther Prakash Majhi has been contesting as a BJP candidate. Ramesh has been fighting the Lok Sabha seat. As Ramesh was elected twice to assembly from Jharigaon in 2009 and 2014, people feel that the minister has done little for the people.
The drinking water and irrigation problems continues to affect the people of Nabarangpur and Ramesh had done little to solve the problem. Therefore, people are not so happy over Ramesh’s performance. However, the poor people of Jharirgam are attached to
Naveen Patnaik led BJD and therefore may vote for Ramesh and Prakash also.
Another problem for Prakash is that people here do not support two brothers contesting the polls from one family. It is Ramesh Majhi after Giridhar Gamang who has brought family politics in tribal area.
Nabarangpur assembly segment was mostly a Congress fort. But, this has gone to the hands of BJD since 2009 from where Manohar Randhari was elected twice.
This time, the BJD has changed its candidate and fielded Sadasiv Pradhani. He is fighting Gouri Shankar Majhi of BJP and Sadan Nayak of Congress. The fight is triangular here.
In Dabugaon two-time Congress MLA Bhujabal Majhi has been trying for a hat trick. Manohar Randhari is a BJD candidate and another Monohar Randhari is also an independent candidate. BJP has fielded Padaman Naik. Bhajabal is running ahead of
Kotpad MLA Chandrasekhar Majhi has been seeking re-election and facinf Padmini Dian of BJD and Khageswar Pujari of BJP. Chandrasekhar is going ahead of his rival in this seat.
In Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seat witnessed a triangular contest between Congress candidate Pradeep Majhi, BJD candidate Ramesh Chandra Majhi and BJP’s Balabhadra Majhi. Pradeep has lost the polls last time by about 2,00 votes from Balabhadra Majhi (then in BJD) in 2014 polls.
This time, the equation has changed and Balabhadra is a BJP candidate. He replaced party’s Parsuram Majhi, who is contesting as MLA candidate from Jharigaon.

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