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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Candidates enter in realm of tech-savvy campaign

Usmeet Kaur, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, April 01, 2014
First Published: 19:48 IST(1/4/2014) | Last Updated: 19:49 IST(1/4/2014)

In this tech-savvy era, the battle over ballot cannot be won just by undertaking door-to-door foot campaigning that's why most of the leaders cutting across the party line have been using social media like Facebook, Twitter to reach out to the electorates.

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Taking the lead in this race, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come up with interesting apps called 'My Modi' and 'Arun Jaitley'.

Engineer Satya Maddela from Bangalore, a BJP volunteer, while sharing his innovation with Hindustan Times in Amritsar, said: "The app is easily available on the official website of the party and in Google store. All updates of the BJP's election campaign are available on the aaps, by using which the youth can also know about the agenda of Narendra Modi."

The irony is that instead of their work speaking for them, nowadays one has to rely on apps and social media to know about the leaders and their agendas.

Satya says, "The app would basically help the confused urban youth to vote for the right candidate."

"Most of the rural youths are forced by their parents to follow their elders while voting; however, the trend has changed in urban areas, where youths cannot be directed to follow their elders and they like to exercise their choice. But, the confusion over choosing a right candidate still prevails,"he added.

He maintained the app would help the youth make their choice clear. "Earlier, it was CC-based (cash and caste) election, but now the election is based on CC (complaints and categorisation)."

Talking about the live chat feature, he said: "It helps the BJP's foot soldiers to coordinate with each other and to keep themselves updated and united."

"A few weeks back, a number '180030000272' was promoted in Punjab by BJP workers through an automatic message generation application, online announcement and other sources of media, where the callers were told if they wanted to talk to Modi or convey their grievances, they should give a missed call on the number,"shares Janardhan Sharma, the co-media in charge of the Punjab unit of BJP.

"The process requires a caller to give a missed call on this number and their number gets registered in our database automatically, which is used by our call center members in Amritsar to give them a return call,"he adds.

Sunil Singla, state convener of the BJP media cell, said: "So far, we have received more than five lakh calls from Punjab and our team comprising four women and five men make nearly 150-200 calls everyday. The call center starts at 10am and goes till 8pm."

"Majority of callers have showed their disappointment over the ignorant behaviour of the authorities towards the development of the holy city and also the civic issues affecting them, we have registered their complaints and Jaitleyji would look into them soon,"he adds.

Hardeep Kaur, one of the callers, who is from Chandigarh, told HT: "It is to employ girls during campaigning. We are happy with the environment and facilities we have been provided with. Our job is to make calls and note down the information shared by the voter."

"Nearly 80% of the voters are good to deal with; but at times, youngsters vent their aggression and confusion over whom to vote for,"she added.

Kaur said: "The problem is that the voters have lost faith in the politicians."

"We also get calls from villages where they discuss their daily requirements, issues like erratic water and power supply and lack of development"said Hardeep, adding, "I am sure that Jaitley Sir would resolve the issues soon."

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