The Congress is changing colours.The ubiquitous Tricolour backdrop has been replaced by sunshine yellow in all its publicity material in an attempt to catch eyeballs.
From bags that Congress workers are carrying, to badges, stickers, the sunshine yellow bus that both Chief Ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit and Pradesh Congress Committee President Raj Babbar are travelling in are all yellow.
Congress' political strategist Prashant Kishore, who is overseeing its campaign in UP, is replicating a successful experiment that he did in Bihar elections. There he had binned the usual green colour of JD(U) and RJD, replacing it with flaming red yellows.
Surprisingly, Kishore who was first hired for Punjab by Congress has not made any such changes there.
In a state where Samajwadi Party's red-green and Bahaujan Samajwadi Party's blue has ruled for more than a decade, since 2002, Congress' yellow is open to interpretation. Many see it as “soft hindutva“ posturing while others claim that it is simply more relatable for voters.
Vice president, Campaign Committee, Jitin Prasada claims that it was not a conscious decision to any particular end. Yellow, which represents prosperity, is seen as an auspicious colour. Especially in Eastern Uttar Pradesh where there is a tradition to gift yellow sari by maternal grandmother to the bride to be worn especially during the lagan ceremony.
A source close to Prashant Kishore said, “We have brought the Tricolor to the forefront, as a wraparound to the party symbol of open palm, and therefore couldn't have used Tricolor for background as well. Hence yellow.“
For the first time in its electoral history the Congress is aggressively branding itself. “After the spectacular show in 2009 Lok Sabha polls in UP, it was proposed that each Congress worker will have party flag afloat at his residence and vehicle so that Congress presence is felt. It never took off,“ a senior Congress leader said. It is not the case this time as the party, with just 28 seats in an Assembly of 403 members, is going out of its way to be “seen“.
As part of its door-to-door campaign, which party Vice President Rahul Gandhi kicked off from Deoria on September 6, it is getting farmers to fill forms detailing their loan dues. The slogan “Karja Maaf, Bijli Bill Half, Samarthan Mulya Ka Karo Hisaab“ (Loan Waiver, half the electricity bill and reasonable Minimum Support Price) is emblazoned on the form. “A counterfoil will be handed to each farmer who fills this as a record of our promise to him. He can always waive it before us and demand the outcome of our promise,“ Prasada said.