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Karnataka polls: Parties take to social media to connect to the voters


Smriti Advani,CNN-IBN
Apr 11, 2013 at 09:59am IST

Bangalore: In the battle for Karnataka, a lot is playing out on the social media, especially Twitter. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and BS Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janata Paksha have all joined the bandwagon. The question is whether the Election Commission will be able to regulate online campaigns.

Sanjay Gowdar Sidappa leads the team of silent warriors for Yeddyurappa's KJP. He is a part of the social media strategy cell that puts its skills to use to take on other political parties ahead of the elections. "More than employment, hundreds of people have voluntarily come forward and they have been putting in hours together," Sanjay said.

Taking a cue from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's successful social media campaign in Gujarat, the BJP's Karnataka wing is tweeting away. With around 6,000 followers so far, the party is hoping the votes on the ground at least exceed that figure.

BJP spokesperson S Prakash said, "Twitter and social media are a forum where you can generate public opinion, interact and present facts to the people. At present, strict vision by the EC where it prohibits spending money, the social media comes handy."

The Congress has also jumped on board the social media wagon organising Google Hangouts with its leaders in Karnataka to showcase the party's ability to speak the language of the youth. Regional parties like the JD(S) too are looking to break away from their rural image and showcase their virtual skills.

On its part, the Election Commission has put in place a ban on any kind of campaign 48 hours prior to the elections. But with a flood of Twitter and Facebook messages already out on cyberspace, how effectively will the election watchdog be able to curb the social media campaign wars?

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