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Net-savvy politicians log on for youth vote

india Updated: Mar 04, 2009 01:10 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Campaigning for the forthcoming parliamentary elections is not confined to streets, hoardings and loudspeakers. Politicians are using new media such as e-mail, webcasts, SMS and social networking sites to woo voters, especially the younger lot.

Congress MP Priya Dutt (42), likely to contest from Mumbai’s north-central constituency (Bandra to Chandivali), plans to webcast her speeches and her campaign trail on her website www.priyadutt. org. Webcasting is a technology where audio or video is broadcast over the Internet.

Krishna Hegde, moderator of her website, said: “Today, the youth is one of the major sections of the electorate and we want to appeal to them through this medium.”

Others politicos with their own websites include Gurudas Kamat, Ram Naik, Kirit Somaiya and Milind Deora.

Shiv Sena’s bete noir, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), recently launched the party website. Now many of its leaders are starting their own blogs, which will be up and running within a week.

“I will make the maximum use of it to communicate with the voters,” said MNS leader Shishir Shinde.

The Net bug has bitten several veteran politicians in Maharashtra such as Ram Naik (75), the BJP leader who is eyeing the north Mumbai (Malad to Borivli) seat.

Since losing the 2004

election to actor Govinda, Naik has collected thousands of e-mail ids of his voters. “E-mails are more effective than pamphlets,” Naik said. “Sometimes our workers are not allowed to campaign inside big residential towers and often voters may have gone out to work. In such cases, e-mail is the best tool.”