Parties take social media route to woo voters

Taking a cue from the success of BJP’s online campaign in Lok Sabha election, the other parties have opened up their war chest to spend on social media to expand the reach of their mass contact campaign for the Maharashtra Assembly polls.

The NCP, staring at a massive anti-incumbency factor, is using the platform of social media to showcase the development work done by it in 15 years of power in the state.

“We have realised that social media is the best way to reach out to youths, who account for nearly 55 per cent of India’s population. NCP has started using this medium extensively now to reach out to our voters,” party’s chief media co-ordinator Ravikant Varpe said.

A specialised team of people has been put on the job to constantly monitor any negative trend towards the party, Varpe said.

“The media cell ensures that we rectify our mistakes and make amendments to eliminate the negative perception in the minds of people,” said the 28-year-old NCP leader.

NCP is taking special care to strategise the content and timing of television advertisements to counter those by rival political parties, he said.

“Parties are using TV ads to spread false propaganda. TV is used as a medium to showcase only the negatives of the state. They say the state is lagging behind in terms of economic and social development and that we did nothing when we were in power. But the people should know what the truth is.

“Our ads will show how Maharashtra has developed economically and progressed on social indices in the last decade of our governance,” Varpe said.
The BJP, on the other hand, is trying to take its social media strategy to a new level with an ‘election committee’ war room set up, that works 24×7 and sends messages of any development happening in the party to the voters.

“The candidates are using WhatsApp, Facebook to update the events of the day. We have also been sending messages and using an automated voice calling facility that conveys our message to the people,” said Atul Shah, BJP spokesperson who is the candidate from Mumbadevi constituency.

“Our goal is to ensure that we use social media much more effectively than the way we used in LokSabha elections, to replicate our previous result in the state,” Shah said.

The Congress, after the massive drubbing in LS polls, has now aimed at devising an aggressive and effective media strategy for the party ahead of the state Assembly elections.

“There are 58 district Congress offices in the state. In each district we have a team of social media experts in-charge of Facebook and WhatsApp. In some districts we have people keeping a watch on Twitter and YouTube as well. It is through these channels we push the party’s view point that we want to communicate to the people,” MPCC secretary and incharge of IT and social media Dilip Chalil said.

The response from social media campaigns has been extremely good, Chalil said.

“We expect the social media campaigning to play a big role in helping us win these elections,” he expressed.