The assembly elections in Karnataka are months away but the BJP and Congress are already engaged in a digital battle. Social media war rooms are already working overtime in poll-bound Karnataka.
While the BJP has always been known as a 'tech-savvy' party, the Congress took to social media quite late. To make up for the loss in time, the Congress in Karnataka is using effective social media presence to counter the BJP and its claims. A silent social media army is already working for the Congress to counter the massive followers that the BJP has in cyber space.
Parties ready Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp warriors
The BJP in Karnataka is creating close to 5,000 Whatsapp groups in the run up to the assembly elections. The party aims to have at least 100 volunteers from every constituency to run these groups that will be divided into categories of age, gender, urban/rural population, jobs etc. Specific messages will be created for each category of groups.
The Congress is also readying its WhatsApp groups. With former MP Ramya from Karnataka now spearheading the Congress' IT cell, the grand old party had come to realise the importance of cyber space. Ward-wise groups are being created to keep the information flowing from the party leadership to the cadres.
With no necessity for rallies, public meetings or protests, WhatsApp group have come to be the best way to push information to the voters. For the BJP, the Whatsapp groups worked wonders in Uttar Pradesh. The party hopes to recreate the magic in Karnataka. Ideally, a volunteer is expected to spend about an hour on the mobile phone to keep the groups updated and buzzing.
The numbers still favour BJP
For a party that has always been tech-savvy, the BJP enjoys a massive follower base. The Congress, on the other hand, is in the process of upping the ante. Currently, the Karnataka Congress' official Twitter handle has a mere 3,387 followers. Now compare that to Karnataka BJP's massive 1.10 lakh followers. The BJP's IT cell in Karnataka alone has 42,500 followers on Twitter.
The BJP's handle was launched way back in 2009 while the Congress' official Twitter handle went online only in July 2016. However, leaders of the Congress in Karnataka have a massive follower base. Dinesh Gundu Rao, the Working President of the KPCC and AICC spokesperson has 23,639 followers while Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah 2.11 lakh followers.
Congress has its online ninjas too
Driving an agenda online has so far been the BJP's game. Now the Congress is giving tough competition. Scores of Congress supporters have been systematically attacking the BJP's social media game. While the cyber battle in across the country, it is gaining pace in Karnataka.
Apart from attacking BJP IT cell, BJP leaders and its criticism of the Siddaramaiah government, tech-savvy Congress supporters are pushing government schemes, successful welfare programs adding strength to the Congress' election agenda.