Amid the high-octane election campaign across the country, the folk artists from Odisha’s western part are busy participating in public gatherings helping the candidates in garnering people’s support.
Even with the emergence of social media platforms and modern musical instruments (like DJs), artists performing folk art still keep audience spellbound during election campaigns in the coastal state of Odisha.

Extensive election campaigns across the state extended the opportunity for folk artists too to better their financial status.
Apart from opting for new methods, political parties still prefer the performance of folk artists as the most effective tool to attract people to gatherings and rallies.
A local artist Shankar Prasad Behra said that during the time of elections, the demand for folk artists from Odisha’s western part is on the rise and these local artists attract people towards political rallies and public meetings held by candidates.

The artist said that the world-famous Sambalpuria folk art is very popular in the western part of Odisha and through this artwork, they attract people to the venue of election campaigns and appeal to them to vote in support of a candidate.
“We have performed across the state and made appeals to the voters during the poll campaigns to register their active participation in the festival of democracy,” Behra said.
As invited by different political parties, we wrote songs for them and performed as well, the artists said, adding that be it any party, we prepare songs for them and perform.
As compared to the previous time, the trend of engaging folk artists into the poll campaign has witnessed a slight decline due to the emergence of social media platforms and other modes of communication, pointed Behra, adding that “currently, our team comprising of singers, dancers and musicians are getting good opportunities to make money”.
Still, political parties engage with folk artists in the campaign because of their calibre to connect with people through their performances in local language and dance, the artist said.
The assembly elections and Lok Sabha polls in Odisha are taking place simultaneously. The elections are being held across four phases–from May 13 to June 1. The counting of votes will be held on June 4.
In the last assembly elections in 2019, the BJD won 112 out of 146 seats. BJP won 23 seats and Congress got nine seats. In the Lok Sabha elections, the BJD mopped up the lion’s share of the electoral spoils, with the BJP and the Congress bringing up the rear. The BJD won 12 seats, the BJP finished a close second at 8, and the Congress bagged just a lone seat. (ANI)