Elections have become quieter affairs thanks to the strict rules imposed by the Election Commission. Much of the noise and colour that once made them resemble carnivals are no longer in evidence. The assembly elections in Kerala last April were an exception. Roads across the state were adorned with colourful posters, flags with the poll symbols of different parties, huge hoardings, and vehicles with loud music and parody songs plying in towns and cities.Of late, the election heat is more felt in television studios and the media. Numerous local channels in Uttar Pradesh host opinion polls, debates and special shows during the election campaign. Candidates find it more convenient and easy to communicate to voters through the media. In Uttar Pradesh, while the Samajwadi Party’s young face, Akhilesh Yadav, is covering the length and breadth of Uttar Pradesh during his Kranti Rath Yatra that began in September 2011, the Congress used hi-tech buses to air general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s messages to the villages.Senior leaders, however, are sticking to their traditional rallies and campaign speeches. Though it does not have the good prospects of winning a majority on its own or becoming the single largest party in the state assembly, Congress, which came to a distant fourth in the 2007 assembly election, is more visible in Uttar Pradesh, at least in the areas that go to poll in the first two phases.Interestingly, the real reason behind the silent campaign in Uttar Pradesh is not the Election Commission but is apparently the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which proved most of poll pundits wrong in 2007 by winning 207 of 403 seats. BSP chief Mayawati was never a media savvy leader – she never gave any interview, did not interact with the media, nor did she address any press conference during her campaign in 2007. She had pooh-poohed all the opinion polls, but never bothered to counter them with any public statements. Instead, she relentlessly worked at the ground level and took a cross section of people into confidence to win her electoral test. There was neither a publicity blitzkrieg nor was there any particular agency to do public relations for her party – not at least visibly. Mayawati’s successful experiment has inspired other parties, including the Congress and SP to adopt area-wise tactics – most of the candidates in the fray now believe in house-to-house visits to introduce themselves to voters.But Mayawati also had a section of silent voters – her own Jatav community which swears by her leadership. Come what may, they will not flinch. Perhaps this is what gives the BSP leader confidence even now when poll pundits are writing her off. However, things do not seem to be so bright for her. Because many voters in Uttar Pradesh say, Mayawati, who reached out to them personally during her campaign failed to touch their heart during her five-year rule.