Well before political parties in Tamil Nadu intensify their campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, the spotlight has turned on the use of social media by the parties.
Acting on information that the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is planning to launch a publicity blitz in the social media, the State Elections Department has sought an explanation from the party in the backdrop of need for prior clearance of the contents from the poll watchdog. The AIADMK was quick to respond on Monday, with its information technology wing functionaries turning up at the office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Praveen Kumar and explaining their case.
Briefing reporters of the interaction between him and the party functionaries, the CEO said here on Wednesday that the AIADMK’s representatives had been told that they had to get the approval of the EC’s State-level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee for the publicity contents before undertaking the campaign.
Later, Mr. Praveen Kumar told The Hindu that there was no case of violation of the model code of conduct by the AIADMK. His office had sent a letter to the party only as a case of pre-warning. “The party has also complied with the EC’s stipulations by submitting its application to the Committee,” he said.
Sources in the party, meanwhile, said AIADMK’s IT wing secretary ‘Aspire’ K. Swaminathan submitted some 110 videos and dozens of ‘Facebook’ posts for the proposed campaign on ‘WhatsApp,’ a mobile messaging application. The videos mainly comprised clips from AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s election campaign speeches.
“A link is provided on the AIADMK’s official website where people can prefer to be connected on ‘WhatsApp’ or any other mode of contact to get updated of the party developments,” a ruling party functionary said, adding that the contents intended to be posted through this social media platform were already available in public domain.
When a reporter quizzed Mr. Praveen Kumar regarding the AIADMK’s manifesto that had promised several freebies, in the light of the EC’s guidelines that manifestoes of political parties should reflect the rationale for the promises and broadly indicate the ways and means of meeting the financial requirements, the CEO replied that the AIADMK’s manifesto had been sent to the Commission. “We will send the DMK’s manifesto too to the EC,” he added.