Move over rallies and ward meetings, corporators contesting civic elections have taken to social media websites like Facebook and Twitter for some serious campaigning this elections. From posting pictures of visits, Facebook lives, uploading videos, using WhatsApp or using innovative hashtags, candidates are trying it all.
The civic elections are set to be held in February and the election dates are to be announced any time now. Many sitting corporators have started campaigning from their wards. Pravin Chheda, Congress corporator and Opposition leader in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did a Facebook live on Monday to interact with people from Ghatkopar on traffic issues.
“I will be doing a live every Monday on different topics. It is easy to connect with people and the best part is you get instant feedback. I have also been using YouTube for my campaigning,” Chheda said.
Another Congress corporator, Asif Zakaria, has been using the medium to promote the work he has done in Bandra. Zakaria is using hashtags like ‘BandraMatters’ on Facebook and Twitter. “I am not so tech-savvy but I am using different social media websites as it is easier to connect with people. This medium also helps you as it is not a very on-your-face kind of campaigning.”
Rais Shaikh, a Samajwadi Party corporator from Govandi who will be contesting from Byculla, said that Whatsapp and Facebook have helped him reach a large audience. Shaikh has been using hashtags with slogans and his ward number on the websites. “One of my speeches where I also did a Facebook live of about 35 minutes had about a thousand views. We have already created about 40 WhatsApp groups, which helps us connect with people from the constituency,” Shaikh said.
Surendra Jondhale, a political analyst said that the usage of social media started gaining importance post the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2014. “It is a more vibrant medium that helps you reach the urban voters,” Jondhale said.
The city registered an additional 2.39 lakh voters during a massive drive undertaken in September-October 2016. This has increased the total number of voters in the city to 91, 80,635.