Copycat! Cong does an AAP in Punjab, woos youth with digital strategy | india | Hindustan Times
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Copycat! Cong does an AAP in Punjab, woos youth with digital strategy

india Updated: Feb 15, 2016 16:20 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur

Students in Patiala take a selfie with Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh. The party is trying to recreate AAP’s success in Delhi using the same strategy they did -- an army of volunteers to spread the party’s message.(HT File Photo)

The Congress is trying to emulate in Punjab the election strategy used by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to script a historic victory in Delhi last year, including running campaigns on digital platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

The two parties will challenge the BJP-SAD government, which will seek a third straight term in state elections next year.

The Congress is looking to double its current band of volunteers by training them to recruit others as it attempts to beat AAP at its own game. The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has already begun its door-to-door campaign in the state with Parivar Jodo that is directed at garnering support from families in villages.

Read more: AAP will win Punjab polls, says Kejriwal; sees Cong as main opponent

State Congress president, Capt Amarinder Singh, who is personally monitoring the volunteers’ wing, has been hosting web interactions on Skype with college students in a bid to woo young voters. The youth volunteers wing has been doubling those efforts by setting up outreach programmes through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Members of the party’s student wing, the National Students Union of India, have been tasked with managing the enrollment programme that is funtioning out of an office set up at Singh’s residence. The focus is to reach out to people in villages and towns.

“We are people from different fields who have quit jobs to work with Amarinder. We will enroll volunteers who will spread the message of Amarinder through a door-to-door campaign. The idea is to reach out to those who are not inclined towards any particular party. It is a chain process of engaging volunteers to make more volunteers,” said Pushpdeep Sekhon, a party volunteer who left his high-profile corporate job for politics.

The Congress will also distribute pamphlets to spread the Singh’s campaign message and poll promises. AAP is already distributing a four-page pamphlet that carry messages of Kejriwal on Punjab’s shattered economy, drug addiction menace and farmer suicides. A colourful sticker that reads, “Punjab nu bachaun layi main ate mera parivar Arvind Kejriwal ate Aam Aadmi Party naal (To save Punjab, me and my family are with Arvind Kejriwal and AAP),” is being stuck on houses supporting AAP. The party has also prepared a mobile phone application that will serve as a databank on AAP supporters.