By Gaurav Sharma
New Delhi: Times have changed and so has political campaigning. In order to reach out to the younger generation, candidates in upcoming municipal polls in the capital are using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social networking sites to communicate with voters.
Gone are the days of loudspeakers and posters. The Election Commission has banned posters and severely restricted the use of loudspeakers.
A growing number of professionals and people who have lived abroad, who are contesting the April 15 elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in their bid to improve the living conditions in the city, are using modern means and tools of communication to convey their message and canvass support. Parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are using the mobile to reach out.
Besides door-to-door campaign, 22-year-old Ankita Saini, the youngest in the fray, is using Facebook to reach out to her voters.
“I have created my page ‘Support Ankita Saini’ on Facebook which has already got 200 likes. My TV interviews, photographs, newspapers clippings feature on my page which will help the common man know more about me,” Saini, who has studied in Canada, told IANS.
Asked whether voters will really go on the Internet and view her profile, Saini, fighting on the BJP ticket, said: “My ward comes under the upscale zone where people are aware of networking websites, They would like to read about their candidates and their background,” said Saini who is fighting from south Delhi’s Hauz Khas ward.
Saini says she will join Twitter to let people know about her development plans in her ward.
The BJP, which rules the MCD, has developed a mobile application through which users can go to the party’s websites and read speeches, watch videos and other campaign material.
“A recent survey stated that people spent 7-8 hours surfing the internet and 65 percent of Delhi’s youth is under 40 years of age. We are effectively using the medium of internet to communicate with voters,” said Arvind Gupta, in-charge of the technology innovation project for the Delhi BJP.
“We are inviting people’s response through our Facebook page and their responses and views will be incorporated into our vision document of the party,” he added.
Congress’ young candidate Kapil Yadav, who is a law graduate, is utilising Facebook to the hilt, putting his objectives and issues before the people.
“I am updating my Facebook page with the burning issues in my area like problems of sewage and roads. I also want to spread awareness among people about the policies of our party,” Yadav, contesting from Rohini North in the capital, told IANS.
“Soon, I will also use telecalling for campaigning. Wherever we will go we will take the numbers of voters and call them for their feedback and response. I would like to know what they think about how a candidate should be,” Yadav told IANS.
Amrita Dhawan, a young woman candidate from the Congress, has a large number of fans on her various Facebook pages where users’ comments hoping for her victory can be sighted.
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Jai Prakash Agarwal said the party will be actively involved in the campaigning on its official website.