Thar: From camel carts to digital platform, campaigning has come a long way | india | Hindustan Times
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Thar: From camel carts to digital platform, campaigning has come a long way

india Updated: Oct 17, 2013 11:35 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Assembly elections 2013

Web connectivity has changed the way campaigning is done in Thar. Once done on camel carts which could reach the most remote parts of the desert, electioneering has now moved on to the digital platform.

As December 1 assembly elections approach, candidates are wooing people on Facebook and over smart phones, which are all pervasive in this region of Rajasthan just like the rest of India.

Just before the last assembly elections in 2008, political parties ditched camel carts for SUVs to reach out to people in the border areas. Five years later, they are utilising the social media to reap poll benefits.

Kelnor, a remote village located 115 km from Barmer, is situated only 15 km from the Pakistan border. Even today, newspapers arrive there in the evening when the sole bus that travels to the village reaches there.

Only a few families in the village have access to television sets but at least one member in each family in the village have a mobile phone.
Sanjay Jain, a resident of Kelnor, accesses Facebook on his smart phone.

A member of 'Barmer politics' group on Facebook, Jain regularly expresses his views about various candidates and political parties on the social media. Jain also surfs pages of chief minister Ashok Gehlot, BJP state chief Vasundhara Raje, Congress and BJP on Facebook.

"I get a lot of information about the vision and programmes of various political parties and candidates on Facebook. It will help me make an informed decision during the December elections," said Jain.

Dungar Rathi, a resident of neighbouring Chohtan block, said he gets to interact with the leaders of political parties on social media.

"On Facebook, I can express my views as well as pose questions to candidates who intend to fight elections from my constituency," said Dungar.

BJP spokesperson Badri Sharda said, "During these elections, our focus is on engaging young voters on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Most young people in the border district are active on social media and we can reach out to so many of them."