Want a ticket to contest Delhi Assembly elections? Prove your popularity quotient and show how ‘social’ you are on virtual platforms. That’s pretty much the directive issued by the BJP leaders to their party members and aspiring MLAs in Delhi. BJP’s global face, Narendra Modi has long been smitten by the social media bug, and he can’t deny that the outcome tasted sweet. In a bid to repeat the success story, the party is now aggressively trying to leverage this tried-and-tested weapon in its arsenal.
In a rather didactic manner, the party’s top brass has made it clear that one of the eligibility criteria for the selection of poll candidates will be his/her activities on social media.
Setback for a majority of BJP leaders
That’s a kind of setback for a majority of BJP leaders who are not in sync with the culture of social networking and virtual campaigning. Ruing this new development, some leaders admitted to hiring private agencies for the same to manage their profiles on multiple social networking sites.
It hasn’t skipped the public attention that the mayors, deputy mayors and members of the civic bodies are going full throttle to publicise their works on Facebook and Twitter. This ‘catching up’ with the trend can be attributed to Modi’s advice to propagate the “bold” decisions taken by the Government and expose the “negative propaganda” by the Opposition.
The party’s Delhi unit has already made it mandatory for all active workers, including MLAs and councillors, to have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Hike. This news has come straight from the horse’s mouth – Ashwini Upadhyay. He is presently monitoring Delhi BJP’s dedicated IT Cell.
As AAP gains clout in social media, BJP’s concerns double
It won’t be far from truth to posit that that BJP’s diktat to its party members in Delhi is a knee-jerk reaction to Aam Aadmi Party’s aggressive social media campaign. You visit AAP’s official website and their claim is prominent: “Around 1.2 lakh views on Facebook, 25,000 retweets within a day.” That’s the response the party’s ‘Delhi Dialogue’ initiative has garnered. The popularity of hashtags ‘MufflerMan and ‘Kejriwal Fir Se’ on Twitter gives an impression of the party’s formidable presence, at least in social landscape.
The opinion polls might indicate a clean sweep for the BJP, but the party is trying hard not to be complacent. Modi’s successful campaign through social media has been the driving force behind the party’s efforts to increase its visibility on social media. In fact, crowd-sourcing and digital media are already playing a crucial role in governance.
BJP’s social media strategy to counter AAP
Considering AAP as the ‘real rival’, the BJP has come up with a blueprint to counter AAP’s online aggression:
The party has already created a group of 5,000 active members on WhatsApp and all the members will create accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
These members have been asked to add 50-100 friends on Facebook on a daily basis. Their target is to have 5,000 friends on Facebook by 31 January 2015.
It’s mandatory for the party workers to like the Facebook page of the Delhi BJP and ensure others do the same. The aggressive target of around 25 lakh Facebook likes has been set.
When it comes to WhatsApp, the BJP wants to scale up gradually. Every member on WhatsApp is given a modest target of creating five separate groups on the same platform so that they can reach out to maximum number of voters. Every message from the Delhi BJP headquarters will be disseminated through these groups.
The party has also made it compulsory for all active members to immediately like and retweet all the updates and events posted on Facebook and Twitter accounts of Delhi BJP.
BJP members have been asked to trend topics relevant to the Delhi BJP to show the party’s clout in social media.