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Raising a poll storm online

india Updated: Mar 20, 2012 01:43 IST
Neelam Pandey
social networking

The election fever has gone online, and it has gone way beyond campaigning. Various groups and campaigners have started using social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut and Twitter to ask people to come out to vote."

That’s not all. To spread awareness about the MCD elections, sites are providing information about candidates, wards, and even detailing track records of the municipal councillors.

The move aims to target the tech-savvy youth. One such page created on Facebook by one Sumit Dubey urges youngsters to exercise their franchise.

Another page ‘MCD elections 2012 awake now’ mentions its aim as: “To bring out energetic youth of Delhi to contest upcoming MCD election in 2012 in New Delhi. If youth starts voting in MCD election then the scenario will change. The age group between 18- 35 is missing on voting day. Awake now, my Delhi’s youth. It’s high time. Let’s all change things for betterment of Delhi (sic).”

A number of these pages and sites, which were launched a month back, profile sitting councillors and talk about their body of work. The sites are updated regularly with election news, and are gaining popularity fast with a number of users following them on a regular basis. Many are using the sites and pages as a platform to debate and discuss the work undertaken by councillors, and civic problems that still need to be addressed.

Several sites are also making sure that responses on these online forums are not restricted to just ordinary citizens. A group of residents have launched a pledge forum, a site for aspiring candidates. To ensure maximum participation, residents said that they will make it a point to vote for only those candidates who have signed the pledge.

“It is great medium for reaching out to people, as a large chunk of the population has access to the internet. Unlike other mediums, here people can report and monitor developments and complaints,” said Anita Bhargava, one of the creators of the pledge forum.

Users agreed. “It is much better than those boring lectures which go on and on, till the point we lose interest. We can open these pages at leisure and go through them whenever we want. With the help of smartphones and tablets, we can even access the sites on the move,” said Suparna Kalra, a resident of Punjabi Bagh.