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Delhi polls: Parties go virtual, launch aggressive online campaigns


Meenakshi Upreti,CNN-IBN
Nov 24, 2013 at 12:45pm IST

New Delhi: As candidates hit the campaign trail for Delhi Assembly polls, a battle is being fought in the virtual world as well with parties trying to woo voters through social media.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has now launched an aggressive social media campaign to promote their newly chosen chief ministerial candidate Dr Harsh Vardhan. From opening a Twitter account for him to organising Facebook hangouts, the party is doing all it can to boost his chances.

Harsh Vardhan said, "Social media is also one important aspect of communication strategy now and you can put forth your views."

BJP Delhi unit chief Vijay Goel who was sidelined to make way for Vardhan is also trying to stay relevant through social media. Goel may not be that visible during party campaigns but he is active online.

Vijay Goel said, "My Facebook page has 7 lakh likes. We'll get votes of youth through social media etc."

The BJP has recruited a team of professionals from various backgrounds to help the 70 candidates with their online campaigns. "There are IITian's, ex-IAS officers and professionals from various backgrounds. Social media is really important as over 60 lakh Delhiites are there and its a huge votebank," a BJP leader said.

But it's the debutant Aam Aadmi Party which seems to be beating the others - at least online. AAP's Delhi chief ministerial candidate Arvind Kejriwal's Twitter account has over 7 lakh followers against Harsh Vardhan's 12,000 followers. The party is also very active on Google+, Linkedin and Facebook.

The Congress is lagging behind in the social media battle as Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit still doesn't have a Twitter account. The party is active on Facebook but is missing on Google+ and other live chat portals.

A Congress leader said, "We'll be active and there are many programs in the pipeline."

The growing importance of social media can be seen by the fact that both the Congress and the BJP have invited people to contribute to their manifestos through Facebook for the first time. With the elections nearing, the social media campaigns are only expected to intensify but will getting virtual followers and likes actually translate into votes, we'll have to wait and watch.

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