BMC Election: The battle goes online

Updated: Feb 04, 2017, 13:59 IST | Silky Sharma

Even in the WWW, the BJP's digital team zips ahead of the rest, but the Sena is clawing its way with some snazzy campaigns, while the MNS, as elsewhere, languishes

Members of the BJP's social media team at the party's Dadar office. Pic/Rane Ashish
Members of the BJP's social media team at the party's Dadar office. Pic/Rane Ashish

With an eye on the upcoming BMC polls, the BJP has found an online platform as a battleground to attack their opponent. mid-day spoke to social media conveners of political parties to know what's on their agenda and how they plan to take the fight to the opposition in the digital space. Looks like it's going to be a battle of tweets and shares.

'Our city, our agenda' for the BJP
Facebook followers: 6,96,829
Twitter followers: 60,035
The BJP's online activity focuses on promoting the development it has made in the state, its plans for development post the BMC polls and their 'Our city, our agenda' portal. "We are the only party to initiate a separate portal called, 'Our city, our agenda' where we have asked citizens to tell us what changes they want in this city," said Keshav Upadhye, BJP spokesperson. BJP's social media convener, Devang Dave said, "Our city, our agenda' started mid-January and till date, we have received around 6 lakh suggestions. In the past, we have set up a strong team of professionals and volunteers in cities like Nagpur, Pune and Nashik to handle the Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and YouTube accounts. This time, in each ward, we have set up a team of 10 people to handle social media and the response has been remarkable."

All about the supremo's views for Shiv Sena
Facebook followers: 2,20,663
Twitter followers: 47,217
Harshal Pradhan, Shiv Sena's media manager, said, "There is no strategy as such; we are looking at attracting followers on social media. Like always, we try to spread our party leader's views and updates amongst people." Pradhan added, "The concerns we have raised in front of other media are the same ones we've updated on the social platform." Speaking about frequent attacks from MNS after the party high command rejected its proposal, Pradhan said, "There are some political parties we don't even consider replying to, so we have clearly ignored them on social media."

MNS gives a counter to 'Acche din'
Facebook followers: 1,93,257
Twitter followers: 13,337
The MNS has resorted to attacking BJP's 'Achhe din' slogan with a counter of its own: 'Those days are not gone.' "This slogan is being spread along with a picture which shows that nothing has changed in Maharashtra. Their so-called good days have never arrived and they won't if the BJP is in power," said Sachin Bhakare, MNS member. "Our members on social media are enough to give a tough reply to anybody who will try to pull us down. Recently, annoyed with Shiv Sena's statement of not receiving any alliance proposal from us despite our leader visiting Matoshree, all party members have called Uddhav Thackeray 'Dhritarashtra', the blind king from the Mahabharata," said Bhakare. "For the remaining days before the polls, our agenda is to highlight the development we have done in Nashik and what plans we have for the state," said Saurabh Karandikar, Social media convener.

Congress wields strongest weapon
Facebook followers: 40,938
Twitter followers: 34,681
Congress has made social media their weapon. "Every two hours, we are targeting BJP and Sena through our posts. Recently, we have spread the caricature of Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray and captioned it as 'Khao-Bhao'. They show that they are against each other but internally, they are taking the benefit of their drama," said Sanjay Nirupam, president, MRCC. Nirupam added, "We have doubled our attention to online promotion. Our party has hired a professional agency just to make 50 WhatsApp groups in each ward. We have prepared a chargesheet against BJP and Sena, which we upload in parts with pictures. Our manifesto will be carried online everyday after it is declared. Our main motto on social media is to first destroy the image of the opposition party and then showcase our development plan on social media."

Samajwadi party will only promote rais
Facebook followers: 12,253
Twitter followers: 2,816
While other political parties are targeting each other, the Samajwadi Party is only focusing on promoting their leader Rais Shaikh. Sunil Gupta, a social media convener said, "We are not getting into any filthy politics by targeting other political parties, neither has our party leader been targeted so far. We don't have any official party page in Maharashtra because right now we are just focusing on the promotion of our leader Rais Shaikh. Looking at the intensity of upcoming BMC election, we upload at least two to three posts."


DISCLAIMER: mid-day and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

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