Maharashtra: The fight for elections has shifted from the ground to the Internet. Parties like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are extensively focussing on the social media. However, the Congress in Maharashtra is yet to start its social media campaign.
The BJP, has a set of workers, called social media activists, whose only job is to spread the campaign online. Recently, when NCP supremo Sharad Pawar went to visit the hailstorm-affected farmers, a picture of him munching on cashewnuts made the rounds online. Some BJP activists claim it was they who managed to circulate the photograph to so many people.
They have also started adding 500 Facebook users from every taluka. Their target is to reach 288 talukas of Maharashtra. Jiten Gajaria, the social media cell head of BJP, says, “These people will work for us even post the Lok Sabha elections. We are not using the BJP portals because people prefer to receive a message from a friend rather than getting a bulk message from a party.” However, he preferred not to comment on the Sharad Pawar picture.
Meanwhile, AAP is also using the social media sites. They have a team, that not only sends out messages but posts events, achievements and other such news that would benefit the party on Facebook and Twitter. “We have a weekend volunteer concept and we are getting to work with many people through our social media exercises,” says Ruben Mascarenhas, campaign manager for Mayank Gandhi, an AAP candidate from North West Mumbai. They will also come up with a Facebook page soon.
Meanwhile Congress is lagging behind, at least in Maharashtra. “We have not started anything in Maharashtra as yet for the social media. Our AICC campaigning on Internet is huge. Khidki.com is one such initiative where our workers can get access to all the speeches of our leaders, know about the work done and get information that can be used by them to campaign,” says National Spokesperson of the party, Anant Gadgil.