Gujarat Assembly Elections Going Social [Guest Post]

Milan Vaidya, shares his thoughts on how the state political parties such as BJP and Congress are using social media especially along with other forms of media to reach out to the people for the upcoming assembly elections in the state.

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This is a guest post from Milan Vaidya ((Milan is the Founder at Pencil Stroke. Driven by passion towards social media and looking forward to explore more and more about it)), who shares his thoughts on how the state political parties such as BJP and Congress are using social media especially along with other forms of media to reach out to the people for the upcoming assembly elections in the state.

I just can’t distance myself from politics and social media. And when both of them interact with each other, I’m deeply drowned in it. I’m from Gujarat and we’re having our assembly polls in 2 phases on 13th and 17th December, 2012 and results on 20th December 2012. Election promotion is at the peak at this moment on all conventional media i.e TV, print and radio (especially privately held FM channels).

Local Gujarati television channels are flooded with political ads occupying maximum time slots available. Gujarat BJP has also launched a new TV channel called “NAMO GUJARAT” which will air important speeches from CM Mr. Narendra Modi and other bigwigs from the party. The launch was perfectly planned so that it can be used for election promotions.

The two major opponents in Gujarat are BJP and Congress as other local political parties stand nowhere near these two in terms of reach, popular faces and the election promotions. However, there’s something new that we’re witnessing in terms of promotional activities which we didn’t have in any of the previous polls, not only in Gujarat but in any of the assembly elections across the country. Both the parties are becoming tech savvy by having a presence on their websites and especially on social media.

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I had already discussed about how Modi is leveraging social media and recently he has crossed the mark of 1 million followers on Twitter. But, he’s not the only political face who’s active on social network in Gujarat. Arjun Modhwadia, President of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee has got a pretty interactive website that consists of latest issues, event galleries, opinion polls, blogs, etc. I’d definitely say he’s the gen next politician with better understanding of technology and getting the best out of it.

Social media is turning out to be the new battle ground among this generations old arch political rivals. The objective is simple – Attract the first time voters and youth of the state especially from urban Gujarat. Both parties BJP and Congress have got their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. As far as the Facebook page is concerned, Gujarat Congress leads with number of fans compared to that of BJP.

However, talking about the personal profiles, Narendra Modi clearly leads with almost 10 times more number of fans compared to his counterpart Arjun Modhwadia. But, Gujarat Congress is spending some immense amount on promoting Modhwadia’s page through Facebook Ads and we have not come across any about either Modi or Gujarat BJP. There may be a few but they’re not visible as frequently as that of Gujarat Congress. Since these are political party’s pages and elections are just around the corner, the battle between the two is at the peak by posting the achievements, clippings from newspapers, etc.

Talking about Twitter, both the Congress and the BJP have got a presence on this micro-blogging site but aren’t much popular. Probable reason may be that Twitter is not at par with Facebook in Gujarat as of now. However, talking about personal Twitter accounts, Modi leads here as well. Since Modhwadia has recently joined Twitter, there’re not more number of followers for him.

It’s good to see that the politics of this state is getting tech savvy and I’d look forward for more interactions from the top faces from two of the largest “Democratic” parties of the nation.