As poll campaigns get more intense with every passing day, parties are looking beyond cadre support to reach out to voters. Several of them have engaged private agencies for a host of activities ranging from printing and distribution of voter slips to tailor-made SMSes to churning out demographics of voters based on factors such as age, caste and religion. If this was not enough, candidates are going to consultants offering the entire election management.
"Candidates can no longer depend or believe only their supporters. There are firms offering all kinds of services and contestants hiring them to connect with the voters," said an activist managing the affairs of a Congress Lok Sabha candidate from city.
According to Hitesh Jain, division head of unityelection.com, they offer specific services like preparing customised lists of voters on factors such as locality, age, gender, religion, caste and linguistic preferences. The firm is catering to nearly 20 candidates at present.
"We also provide services like sending details of polling booths to the voters. Though there are search options in the Election Commission website, our speciality has been customisation and simplification of the data," said Jain.
He said there are scores of firms offering similar services and most of the candidates in the state may have engaged the services of these firms.
Kishor Hinge, manager of Ornret Technologies, a firm that offers election management software, said they provide services such as preparation of voter lists, bulk emailing, media management and wholesome consultancy for polls.
Hinge said, "Right from distribution of printed slips to the voters, to training activists on how to pursue voters to technical support, we offer all kinds of services. Our election management services begin about three months prior to elections."