BJP leads other parties in spreading its message through social media

From newspaper clipping, campaign photographs to even parody posters of rivals, candidates and political parties here are consolidating their reach through social media, especially Facebook, and on their websites.

Recognising their growing influence, parties have started to keep a close eye on social media, which allow for information of any kind to be circulated and shared. Since March 15, three complaints of violation of code of conduct pertaining to social media have been filed — one by the Congress and two by the BJP.

BJP most active

Of the major parties, the BJP is the most active online. And what is most observable is the looming presence of its prime ministerial candidate M. Narendra Modi, who dominates the majority of fan pages and groups. This has also created a trend where supporters affix ‘Namo’ to their online avatars.

Officially though, the party has a fixed structure to “ensure online success”. “In the social media space at least, we have defeated the Congress entirely,” said Bharat Shetty, who runs the campaigns.

Having seen the potential of social media early on, Mr. Shetty said the party had identified more than 100 workers with at least 2,500 followers on Facebook; 50 people form the team who ensured Whatsapp messages were spread; and emails being sent to 10,000 people daily. “On Facebook alone, our reach is 2.5 lakh. Training is given so that there are no election violation. Social network will be an important factor,” he said.

Slow off the blocks

The Grand Old Party has been slow off the blocks. Candidate B. Janardhana Poojary has a fan-created page that is active, but official pages, such as Dakshina Kannada Congress Committee page (348 likes), work in lesser capacity. Again, like the BJP, the Congress devotes considerable space in targeting the rival candidate.

“We have given importance to a comprehensive website, which can be accessible on the phone ,” said Arif Bava, who runs the website.

However, on Facebook at least, it seems the party can learn from Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader, whose page (with 9,243 likes) actively updates on Mr. Poojary’s campaigns to its larger fan base.

Others

Newcomer Aam Aadmi Party has leveraged its urban voter base to rack up around 2,400 likes for its page, apart from being very active on twitter, with regular updates. Both the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) have a cursory presence with active pages for their candidates.

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