The race to harness social media by parties for UP, Punjab elections becomes intense

With little time left for the assembly elections, political parties are all out with their weapons and resorting most on social media platforms to woo voters for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa. The campaigns are in full swing by all major outfits – BJP, Congress, AAP, Samajwadi Party, Akali Dal, Bahujan Smajwadi Party, etc. All of them know that most Indians use social media on their mobile phones to stay updated. Facebook, which is one of the most widely used social networking sites in the world, is being exploited thoroughly to expand reach and convey messages. These parties have hired professionals to plan, run and mobilize their campaigns. Separate teams handle separate social networks – WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc.

BJP and AAP have always remained at the forefront of adopting social media platforms for their benefit. BJP has won the Lok Sabha elections due to its multipronged approach. Technology in general and social media in particular had played a key role in their victory. But this time, Congress has taken the lead. Congress launched its electoral strategy in mid 2016 where it organized a social media campaign for the 2017 UP elections.

The online electoral strategies of all major parties contesting are aimed at engaging voters, influencing their minds and securing votes. A benefit of using social media is that major portion of young generation and middle-aged people can be targeted easily.

The battle on the technology front has thus become intense. Only time will tell how the social media responded to the attempts by these parties. Users are well informed on social media and quickly differentiate between the vested interests and true intents. There was a time when Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat were used for leisure. But it is no longer the same. Things have changed. They have become war turfs for brands, parties and others.

Out of many hashtags, memes and topics which are trending online for the upcoming UP and Punjab elections, here are a few:

#UPElection2017

# 27SaalUPBehaal

#CallPunjab4Aap

#VoteCongressSavePunjab

#UPDemandsBJP

#UseNOTA

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