Aspiring and sitting corporators have taken the cut-throat competition of wooing voters to the virtual world in the run-up to the civic body elections, scheduled in January next year. Prospective candidates of all political parties are busy creating their profiles in social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to reach out to tech savvy voters of their respective areas. Some of them are even launching their own websites.
According to tech-savvy aspiring corporators, an online platform helps in one to one interraction with people. One can also showcase developmental works done during his stint by uploading related pictures on these sites. "I think it is the most economic and easiest way to reach out to the thousand of voters at a time," said Vishakha Gaikwad, a prospective NCP candidate from Panel Number 18 (Vadgaon Sheri).
"I joined Facebook just two months ago when I decided to enter into the electoral politics," she added.
Gaikwad, who recently switched sides to the MNS from the BJP, added that since she is a political greenhorn, it is necessary for her to connect with the people of her panel whom she cannot meet personally.
"I am quite active on Facebook. In just two months, I have made 300 friend on the social networking site," the wannabe corporator said.
However, she accepted that Twitter is little difficult to operate. For BJP worker Dheeraj Ghate, his Facebook account is not limited to his voters but for all the people who want to get in touch with him to share their grievances.
"I had joined Facebook around four months ago and now I have to make my own page as the number of friends on my profile has crossed the 5,000 mark." Ghate has uploaded more than 400 pictures of various events organised by him along with his pictures with senior BJP leaders.
"The area from where I will contest the election consists of educated and tech savvy people. I think, social networking sites are the best way to reach out to them," Ghate said, adding that he also plans to join Twitter soon.
Sandip Ladkat, sitting NCP corporator from Panel Number 60 (Bhavani Peth), was inspired by Anna Hazare's online agitation. The fact that he reached a larger number of audiences through his blog inspires him to join FB. "My panel is a predominantly slum area. But the youngsters are now net savvy irrespective of their social status and have access to the social networking sites through cyber cafe.
While BJP worker Ravindra Salgaonkar from Model Colony and Bhimrao Kharat from Viman Nagar area have launched their websites to reach up to the thousands of people. "I have facilitated a search engine on my website which will help voters of my area search for their name, list number and the center of voting on the day of election," said Salgaonkar.
Sitting NCP corporator from Viman Nagar area, Bhimrao Kharat, has created his FB profile (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002153694263) and launched his website (http://bhimraokharat.com/) four months ago. "My son handles my FB account while I have hired few experts to manage my website. Since most of the residents I interact with are high-profile personalities who are usually hard-pressed for time, I had no choice but to become tech-savvy to effectively communicate with them," he said.