Through social media, different Political Parties are busy running campaigns and garnering the support of the targeted voters for next month’s Assembly Elections in Gujarat. The team consists of thousands of volunteers and workers working like a well-oiled machine and keeping the social media pages updated.
If the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) relies on its established network of followers on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, the opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are using the popular messaging platform WhatsApp extensively to reach out to voters at the grassroots level.
The Gujarat BJP uses more than 15 applications in its voter outreach drives. The saffron party has over 35 lakh followers on Facebook, 57.8 lakh on Instagram, 1.5 million on Twitter and 45,600 on YouTube. The saffron outfit is also tapping into the emotive issue of Gujarati pride through the newly-launched campaign “Aa Gujarat Me Banavyu Chhe (I have created this Gujarat).”
BJP’s social media co-in-charge, Manan Dani, said, “We have run five campaigns so far, and we will be running a few more in the coming days. We keep changing our weekly campaigns to present something new to the people.”
According to Dani, the ruling party has run campaigns like “Modiji Na Suwarn 20 Saal (20 golden years of Modi)”, “Vande Bharat”, “Aa Gujarat Main Banayu Chhe”, “BJP etle Bharoso (BJP means trust)”, among others, in the run-up to the election.
As against this, the Congress has 7 lakh followers on Facebook, 64.3 lakh on Instagram, 1,64,000 on Twitter and 8,91,000 on YouTube.
Congress Social Media Department chairman Keyur Shah told PTI the party has drawn up a strategy to run a targeted campaign, that is, making pages on social media platforms specific to particular Assembly seats and communities to raise issues that affect people of that particular constituency.
“We have formed around 50,000 WhatsApp groups at booth and village levels. These include booth-level workers but also social community-wise groups for different seats. We have groups of Thakor, Patidar, and Adivasi communities. We put targeted content on these groups,” Shah explained.
The AAP’s social media campaigns rely heavily on volunteers consisting of young college students and professionals, said Dr Safin Hasan, social media in-charge of the party in Gujarat.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit has a core team of 25 youngsters to look after its social media campaigns. Apart from this, the AAP has around 20,000 ‘social media warriors’ who are not necessarily full-time party workers but support it on different platforms by helping run campaigns and spread its messages, Hasan said.
“We have created thousands of WhatsApp groups. We are extensively spreading our agenda, party vision, manifesto, guarantees, and activities on the ground using WhatsApp. We have multi-level groups at Assembly constituency and village levels,” he said.
Voting to elect a new 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases December 1 and 5 – and ballots will be counted on December 8.
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