India's national political parties are moving away from the old-fashioned electoral campaigning and have adopted some unconventional methods to reach out to the over 800 million voters ahead of the general elections, a leading Chinese daily has said.
The people-centric trend fuelled by a new political outfit, Aam Admi Party (AAP), which won an unpresedented number of seats in last year's Delhi assembly elections, has changed the equation of Indian politics, the Global Times said Wednesday in an opinion piece.
It said that after the historic win of the AAP, the two mainstream parties - the Congress and the BJP - have been forced to adopt innovative methods to counter the fledgling party.
The BJP has started a "discussion over tea" or "Chai pe charcha" programme with its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as part of its campaign to interact with people, it said.
Modi, who himself is the son of a tea vendor, has been interacting with the common people over a cup of tea.
The ruling Congress, whose image is badly marred by corruption allegations and is suffering from trust deficit among people, is also trying out some innovative ways in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
The party's vice president Rahul Gandhi is holding road shows to connect with the common people, including those in rural areas, personally as against mass rallies.
He has asked members of his party to exercise restraint in speech and avoid unwarranted personal remarks against political opponents.
"The party's de facto prime ministerial candidate and fifth generation leader Rahul Gandhi visited the railway station of national capital New Delhi, and interacted with porters and street vendors, assuring them he would look into their grievances," the opinion piece said.
"As the heir to the often female-led Nehru-Gandhi family's political legacy, he also addressed the first women's assemblage in the southern Indian state of Karnataka on the need for female empowerment," it said.