Srinagar, Nov 15: As the campaigning for Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir reaches fever pitch, political parties and their candidates are increasingly slugging it out in the virtual world in their bid to pull voters to their side. The upcoming electoral battle will be fought over five phases and for 87 seats across the state, but political parties are looking to capture ground in the virtual arena as they leave no stone unturned in seeking votes.
The state units of the various national parties like BJP and Congress and regional parties like PDP and National Conference have launched aggressive campaigns on social networking sites to reach out to voters.
"Social media provides an opportunity to get in touch with the masses, especially the youth, as these days a large number of them are either on Facebook, twitter or whatsapp," said Pardeep Singh, a social media expert from Delhi who has been employed by a national political party to work in their cyber war room. The various political parties have set up their cyber cells, where they not only update information about their candidates but also keep an eye on the "online activities" of rival parties.
"It is very important to keep an eye on the online activities of the candidates of other parties, we get to know about their strategy and plans ahead of time," said Singh. But it is not the candidates or party workers alone who are keeping an eye on "online activities" of the candidates; the Election Commission, too, is monitoring the online spaces being used by the political parties and their candidates.
"Yes, we are keeping an eye on the online activities of the candidates and the parties," Umang Narula, Chief Electoral Officer, J-K, told PTI, adding that district-level media monitoring cells have been set up for the purpose by EC.