Candidates hit campaign trail with novel ideas

Enterprising candidates venture off beaten track by putting model of party election symbol on roads, using mobile tablets to SMS voters centre info and even going for eco-friendly canvassing by eschewing vehicles and public rallies to avoid air, noise pollution.

The Pune Municipal Corporation election is a fortnight away and some candidates are using ingenious methods to woo voters. Ravindra Dhangekar, a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate from panel number 38 (Ravivar Peth), is using an eight-foot-tall 'railway engine' -- a vehicle modified to look like the MNS symbol -- to attract voters. 

Loco-motion: A vehicle modified to look like a railway engine, the 
MNS election symbol, in Ravivar Peth yesterday. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

"Last year also we had made a model of the engine, but this time we modified a tempo into a railway engine which emits smoke like an authentic engine," said Dhangekar.  The engine replica runs on diesel and can carry ferry about 20 people at a time. 

Power engine: MNS workers drive a model of the party's election 
symbol 'rail engine' in Ravivar Peth yesterday. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

"Currently, the engine is running in my panel only, but if necessary I will give it to other MNS candidates too, so that they can use it to attract the voters," said Dhangekar. Dhangekar refused to comment on the money spent on the engine.  

Tablet for election: BJP's Ravindra Salegaonkar updates a mobile 
tablet with information related to voters in his panel

Tech-savvy Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Ravindra Salegaonkar, who is contesting from panel number 12 (Model Colony), has hired six mobile tablets so that instead of distributing election slips he can just SMS voters about the serial number and centre of voting. 

"I have installed a special software in these tablets that can save the entire voter list of my panel. When I visit the voters personally, I save their name and mobile numbers, using which I can send them an SMS that will be useful on the day of voting," said the BJP candidate. 

Eco-friendly neta
Ameya Jagtap, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate for panel number 36 (Law College Road) who has the distinction of being the youngest person from the party contesting the election, is all set to initiate an eco-friendly election campaign starting today. 

"For the last few years, I have been working on the Save Hills campaign. I am extremely cautious about environmental issues and took a vow not to disturb the surrounding environment while campaigning," said Jagtap.

Jagtap and his supporters will not be using vehicles while campaigning in the panel he is contesting from. 
He has also decided not to hold public rallies where large crowds will gather as it give rise to noise pollution and disturbs the  surroundings.

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