Which strategy have the Indian politicians and political parties not applied to win the hearts of their voters? There are hardly any. With the advancement in the information technology, now the political parties are not just confined to their political campaigns through rallies, rath yatras, TV appearances, full page advertisements, posters and pamphlets but have also employed the new media platform like the internet and social networking sites for the upcoming 2014 Lok Sabha elections, as reported by Kim Arora for Times Of India.
Most of the political parties have their own IT cells in order promote their party manifestos and contribute through the online medium. Recently, the netizens of the country were the most targeted masses through digital medium as the political parties believe it will easily help garner voters, mostly the youth. Arvind Gupta of BJP‘s IT cell said, “We’ve built a strong base of volunteers through our online outreach, who are well-informed about the party policy and its activities. Our social media guidelines, which are up on the party website, were crowd-sourced,” reported TOI.
The digital age has changed the game and this seems evident even among politicians, as they are involved in their digital campaigns. Kumar Vishwas of Aam Aadmi Party said “Not just our central team, even our candidates have online support groups they interact with regularly. When a five-year-old’s rape case wasn’t being registered by the police, the candidate from the area got people together with a single message. They picketed outside the police station until an FIR was filed.”
Though, social media and new technology was also employed during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the last two years have witnessed a massive increase in the practice of digital tools by political leaders and parties. This was started with several “official” Twitter and Facebook pages of the leaders, and now the policy makers are reaching out to the masses via videoconference too.
According to the study by the IRIS Knowledge Foundation and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), social media is most likely to impact 160 Lok Sabha seats.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that acts as the watchdog of political parties is also in the digital race as they introduced a mobile app known as Election Watch Reporter. It was first launched in Karnataka to help people report violations of the election code of conduct with the help of mobile phone pictures, and soon a Delhi-specific version of the app will also be launched.
The internet medium which is considered as the fastest mode of deciphering information might indeed serve as a successful medium to political parties to get the maximum votes.