Facebook, Whatsapp new electioneering tool in J&K | india | Hindustan Times
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Facebook, Whatsapp new electioneering tool in J&K

india Updated: Mar 23, 2014 22:12 IST
Tarun Upadhyay

Political parties across the state have started using facebook, twitter and even whatsapp to connect with the voters. Last week facebook page of Peoples Democratic Party president and candidate Mehbooba Mufti and Congress candidate Ghulam Nabi Azad were upload. Chief minister Omar Abdullah, active on twitter, already has his own facebook page.

"Voters, especially youth, are internet savvy. They make and reflect their thoughts through social media. We are trying to reach out to them by this medium," said PDP spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar.

Total registered voters in the state are around 69 lakh. According to the Election Commission of India the eligible voters under the age group of 18-19 year are 25 lakh, though only 14 lakh have been enrolled and the Commission has made exhaustive plans to register the remaining voters.

According to an estimate, there are about 20 lakh internet users in the state and the number is growing gradually. Azad has around 899 likes on his page, Mehbooba and Omar have 9873 and 4523 likes respectively.

The state unit of the BJP had last month launched its website, specifically for electioneering. Both the NC and the PDP already had their sites.

"The younger generation depends on the internet. We aim to connect to them by providing information about party and its activities in the state. It's an addition to traditional campaigning but we can't miss out on it," said Jaidev Rajwal, BJP IT cell convener.

According to a study by Iris Knowledge Foundation and Internet Mobile Association of India, the country has 24.3 crore internet users. The study says the use of social media, especially facebook, could affect the result in 160 out of 543 parliamentary constituencies in the country.

Omar, one the most active CM on twitter, has 4.67 lakh followers. He was the first to set the trend to express his view and reach out to people by this medium.

The state unit of the Congress party this week started a group on Whatsapp, where it updates the party programmes and shares video clippings of the party leaders.

"We send party programmes and campaign pictures to mediapersons through this application as they use it more than emails, in order to get a better poll coverage," said Congress leader Neeraj Gupta, who has started this group.