To reach out to a wider audience, BJP has engaged 12 teams to perform street plays (nukkad natak) to convey the party manifesto through characters and plots, and has also hired “magicians” to popularise the party. Over a dozen teams of “nukkad natak” performers – each team comprising six youths – are performing in different constituencies of western UP. These teams will move to constituencies going to polls in the third and fourth phases of elections, after canvassing for the first and second phases is over. “In their plays, they are showcasing problems faced in UP, such as crime incidents, power cuts and eve-teasing. In their plays, they highlight promises BJP has made in ‘Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra’ (election manifesto) to redress these problems,” said a senior BJP leader.
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“Through these plays, BJP’s poll promises and symbol are reaching the masses in an attractive manner,” said Govind Narayan Shukla, BJP state secretary and state in-charge for ‘Prachar Toli’ (publicity team). He further said the party has obtained permission from Election Commission to do so. The party has provided content to nukkad natak members, who wear kurtas and BJP scarves while moving through Assembly constituencies. These plays are usually staged in small markets in urban and semi-urban towns.
Over a dozen magicians are also moving through various constituencies and popularising the “lotus” election symbol through different tricks. Apart from residential areas and markets, these magicians also perform at public meetings of BJP candidates.
Wearing shiny overcoats and capes with magic wand in one hand and a shining blue or red bag in the other, these magicians perform six different tricks, and in each trick, they display the BJP flag, symbol and photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“For example, a magician calls a person from the crowd, asks him to search the bag, but the person finds nothing. Then, the magician calls another person and ask him to do the same thing. But this person finds a BJP badge or flag in the bag. The magician then says this person is a ‘good man’ who has found the ‘right’ thing,” said a BJP leader.
The leader described another trick in which the magician displays an empty photo frame. He then waves the frame, and when he displays it again, it shows a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Street play performers and magicians have been asked to take care of demographic conditions before selecting areas to perform in. To avoid opposition, they have been asked to take care in areas where people are strongly against BJP ideology,” said a senior party leader.