The Lok Sabha elections in the city seem to be fought on the social media as much as on the roads. The war of words and wits is gaining momentum by the click. Where Facebook pages of campaigners are generating likes, twitter is flooded with tweets, retweets and followers. Candidates of different parties Gulkirat Panag, Kirron Kher, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Jannat Jahan are busy wooing their latest, and most vital votebank—the youth, and are learning their language to communicate with them and get them on their side by brushing up their tweetspeaks and status.
With elections, another 11 days away, the digital media can be seen as a crucial component of political campaigning. People settled abroad are creating pages for BJP and AAP. Supporters from across the region are uploading self composed songs in support of the party, youngsters are seen coming into serious discussions on Facebook and Twitter, while the spoof videos of the political parties and the sarcastic cartoons are making the pages look more interesting.
Panag continued to lead the digital campaign with 8,17,000 followers on Twitter. In the past three days, she has earned approximately 4,000 followers. Meanwhile, Kirron Kher has got 22,000 more followers in three days making it 2,39,000; whereas 111 more followers have been added to Pawan Kumar Bansal’s page making it 169. Lastly, Jannat Jahan who has become quite active on social media has manged to get just two more followers making it to10.
Now, the candidates are openly targeting the opponents on social media. On March 19, Jannat Jahan, BSP candidate updated a status targeting Pawan Kumar Bansal, “I do not understand why Mr Bansal is lying to the people of Chandigarh that he got the sewerage and water lines of my ward Deep Complex approved… GROW UP Mr Bansal and stop taking credit of my work! It took me two years to get the work approved, the credit goes to the Governor and my hard work. You had no role!”
Following a statement by Bansal in an interview with Chandigarh Newsline stating, “I do not say, I’ll fetch the moon.. I make realistic promises,” Panag tweeted, “Dear incumbent, we know you can’t fetch the moon. But what about all those promises of doing your job?”
From a 18-year-old to a 60-year-old, all are actively participating in the online war to support their respective candidates. “Support Gul, she and her family members have clean records”; “I think, Gul Panag is the first person whom people from other constituencies also wants to vote for”; “She is featherweight, but her work is heavy weight on the mat!” are some of the supportive comments on the facebook page of Gul Panag for Chandigarh.
Overseas friends of BJP have also uploaded a page. One of the young followers commented, “I want my India to be Modified!! Agar majburi ka naam mahatma gandhi hai to.. mazbuti ka naam Narendra Modi hai… Modi for vision…. Rahul for division, and Kejriwal for television!!”
While, on Bansal’s Facebook page, supporters are sharing a campaign titled ‘Kaho dil se, Congress fir se..’ Sample another, ‘Pawan Bansal has made Chandigarh, London of India, we will vote for him.’
With unending praises on the social media, some tweets and statuses have invited a lot of criticism and serious discussions. On March 29, Kirron Kher tweeted, “”Big day for all of us. Our leader Shri @narendramodi ji will be addressing a big rally,” to which one of her follower commented, “@KirronKherBJP will u ask #namo when he is kicking #SabirAli out of BJP?? @narendramodi.” Here goes another, “Just because we flock towards the BJP like a herd of sheep,they are taking us BJP fans for granted. @KirronKherBJP @narendramodi!”
Some assume that city’s AAP candidate Gul Panag will also take a U-turn after 49 days much like the Delhi leader, if she comes to power. Then some are tweeting that Kirron Kher only looked good at the show, ‘India’s got talent’. Some say that Bansal will lose because of his nephew’s act in rail gate scam. Followers are seen constantly discussing Modi’s Kejriwal as Pakistani agent remark.
Supporters are posting cartoons depicting Bansal, Kher and Panag, while Jahan seems to have taken a back seat here.