Election campaigning has taken a musical upswing in Meghalaya with political parties trying their best to connect with the voters by hitting the right notes.
Every evening, for the past one month, Wahiajer and its neighbouring village, Ummulong, in Nartiang assembly constituency, has been witnessing a live soiree with people dancing and singing to some of the liveliest campaign songs of candidates contesting this February 27 elections.
"One will find here young and old, men, women and children participating in the once-in-a-five-year festival of democracy with fervour every evening," a retired government employee and a resident of Wahiajer village, W Shylla, said.
The rallies of candidates and political parties are never complete without good music, she said.
The political battle here in Nartiang is getting intense by the day with sitting MLA and NPP contender Sniawbhalang Dhar trying his best to outsmart his rivals – Jopthiaw Lyngdoh of the Congress and Draison Kharshiing of the BJP.
The constituency is also home to thousands of people whose coal businesses have been affected badly by the NGT ban.
"Coal ban, lack of employment for the youths, inadequate health care and education facilities are some of the issues that bother people in this part of the state," Donkhian Lyngdoh, a youth leader in the area, said.
Music may not solve the problems of the people but it is a catalyst for change, Jopthiaw told PTI, urging voters to vote for him to ensure better development in the constituency.
At his rallies across the constituency, Jopthiaw and other Congress leaders are campaigning hard for Dhar’s ouster, blaming him for the lack of development and loss of jobs in the constituency.
"But not all people who attended the political rallies are interested in what the loud-mouthed politicians said from the dais. Hundreds are drawn to the rallies by the foot-tapping music," the youth leader said.
The candidates are not the only ones to be blamed for the new musical mishmash ahead of the polls. The state election commission has been using this art form to get the voters registered.
The campaign yielded results as the total voters in the state went up from 15 lakh plus voters in 2013 to 18.42 lakh voters this year, chief electoral officer F R Kharkongor said.
Singer Usha Uthup was roped in by the Election Commission to urge the 18 lakh eligible voters in the state to actively participate in the forthcoming elections.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, too, began his campaign in Meghalaya by attending a rock concert last month.
The BJP, which drew a blank in 2013 elections, has also roped in local musical icon Lou Majaw for their campaign video.
The regional parties like the United Democratic Party, the Hills State Peoples Democratic Party and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement are no exceptions.
A F Dkhar, the United Democratic Party general secretary, said each candidate have their own theme song for the campaign.
The candidates took time out to get the songs recorded individually. The party theme song, however, is the same one that was used in the 2014 general election,” he said.
Sitting Congress legislator from Shillong-East constituency and two-time minister Ampareen Lyngdoh’s campaign song has become hugely popular among the youngsters in her constituency.
The song has been inspired by from Shaggy’s popular number ‘Strength of a Woman’.
"It speaks high of what a woman can achieve in her struggles and drew notes and inspirations," said Pearly Shabong, who considers the two-time minister her idol.
As the song played on loudspeakers in the background, Lyngdoh visited one door to another, seeking votes personally from the electorates in the constituency.
"The song speaks a lot about me and my being a woman. It encapsulates what a woman representative like me can achieve as I strive to deliver good to my people," the Congress MLA said.