The BJP is making use of these WhatsApp groups in order to reach out to over 10 lakh voters in the region and convince them to vote for the party in the upcoming by-elections.
They are drawing on its considerable experience in mastering the power of digital media, having used the same strategy in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the 2018 Karnataka assembly polls.
The party is focusing on the micromanagement of information to win the elections. They are trying to target the fence sitters and base voters of other parties to counter their losses.
“In the last election, we focused on our core vote bank, but this year, we are even reaching out to the Muslim voters,” said a booth-level social media campaigner in Mangaluru. “We are sending WhatsApp messages to women voters from the Muslim community about how triple talaq and hijab are against women,” he clarified.
He responded to the question of whether it would work by asserting that “even one vote resulting from it would be more than sufficient.”
“The minorities have understood how these political murders were used to polarise the communities. And both the Hindu right-wing and hardliners in the Muslim community used murders. So, before these elections, there was a conscious effort from the minorities not to escalate these murders, which would have given milage to the right-wing organisations,” said Muneer Katipalla, a Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) leader.
The party divided voters into three categories: A (core voters), B (those who voted for the party in the last election but may be swayed by other factors), and C (core voters of the opposing party). The social media cell was in charge of the plan.
The cell utilizes the existing organisational hierarchy to create different groups and send customised messages to cater to different groups of voters.
WhatsApp groups are active 24/7 during elections, with “night shifts” deployed to ensure any late-night developments are communicated without delay.
Mangaluru Police have increased their social media cells to monitor messages circulating online. Commissioner Kuldeep Jain said the police social teams are closely monitoring social media activity.
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