Using the social media to reach out to millions has become a norm and political parties seem to be taking serious note. After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too has now set up an ‘election war room’ with a dedicated team of social media experts, information technology professionals and statisticians to reach out to every individual voter for the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections.
The war rooms depend heavily on social networking platforms to establish man-to-man campaigns.
However, unlike the BJP’s plans to capture the country’s richest civic body that has an annual budget of Rs30,000 crore, the NCP’s war room is making efforts to reach to every individual voter and make its presence felt, which the party has failed to do in the past 15 years. This will be done by raising major issues that the city has been facing in all these years and helping candidates approach voters in the best effective way. For this, the war room has chalked out strategies, including an ‘offline program’ for candidates, based on the characteristics of each and every ward that the party is contesting. Apart from this, all social media platforms currently available are being used to approach voters.
“We have decided to reach out to the voters in the best possible manner. This will be done by adopting some unique ways as we have decided not to use phone calls and text messages for this purpose. Instead, we have chalked out our own strategy to achieve it,” said Dhananjay Garje, chief coordinator of the war room for the BMC elections.
NCP is the weakest party in the city among the top four in the state, despite being part of the government for 15 years. The party has never crossed a figure of 14 seats in the BMC polls in the recent years. Currently, it has 13 seats in the 227-seat civic corporation.
War room sources revealed that their main objective was to reach out to every individual voter. This will be made possible by preparing a ‘digital election manifesto’ for the first time. “It means the election manifesto will be in audio-video format against the traditional print format. We believe it will help voter understand the issues and what NCP wants to do,” the sources revealed.
The same formula is being applied while making profile of each and every candidate. For the first time, we are making ‘digital profile’ (audio-video format) of every candidate which will be sent out to every voter of the concerned ward, the sources further said. The profile will feature their qualification, background and what they are up to, sources told.
“We have also started creating an ‘information hub’ for every candidate along with ‘offline program’. The information hub comprises basic details about a ward, its boundaries, demography of voters, festivals, best advertisement sites, details of local cable operators for advertisement purpose etc,” sources said. ‘Offline program’ has number of ways that will be used for approaching voters. This is followed by messages on problems existing in Mumbai since long such as potholes, water woes and issues related to affordable housing, infrastructure and traffic, sources added.
All this will be disseminated to voters through a Twitter handle, Facebook page, Youtube channel, Instagram and WhatsApp. “We have asked every party worker to form 100 WhatsApp group so that each and every voter can be covered. The messages will be in many forms such as animated graphic, pictures, videos, advert and infographic with comparative figures,” the sources said.