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Another battle for votes in cyberspace

india Updated: Apr 07, 2009 11:23 IST

PTI
Highlight Story

As the battle royale for votes hots up on the ground, there is another fight growing bigger among politicians of various hues -- to exploit the cyberspace to their advantage.

Probably inspired by US President Barack Obama's successful use of the Internet, political parties and their leaders are now increasingly trying to use the new media to woo the elusive voter, especially in urban areas.

In the run up to the elections, the political parties and individual leaders are either launching their websites or revamping the existing ones to put across their policies and programmes among the urban voters.

Although BJP seems to be far ahead in its effort to exploit the new media, Congress is also not lagging behind as it has also given a facelift to its existing website with a fresh array of features and graphics.

The revamped Congress website features its Jai Ho! election anthem and other achievements of UPA Government in the last five years while the BJP's Internet campaigning is particularly built around Advani's personality.

"This election will for the first time see extensive and innovative use of new media by the political parties and politicians in India," said Bhaskar Rao, chairman of Centre for Media Studies On the impact of the e-campaigning, Rao said it will be limited to not more than 60-70 constituencies.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who also launched his website on last Saturday, said the young generation will be an important segment in the election and that is why the online campaign would be important.

"All politics will be fought on the basis of what the young generation wants in this country and we are with the young generation," said Sibal, who launched his website a day after his BJP opponent in Chandni Chowk seat Vijendra Gupta unveiled his website.

According to estimates, a total of 100 million young voters will exercise their franchise in the election. Sibal said he will be communicating with the young generation "regularly" through his blog to understand their opinion and aspirations.

BJP's IT cell national convenor Pradyut Bora said BJP's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani's website receives maximum number of hits among politicians per day.

Bora, an IIM graduate, claimed that Advani's website Lkadvani.in, which has become one of the largest political website in India, is being visited by 25,000 visitors per day on an average.

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