It was a double battle for candidates during campaigning in this Lok Sabha election- one on the ground and another on social media.
From releasing videos to countering claims made by other parties, one area the candidates had a special focus in this Lok Sabha elections is the social media.
Congress candidate Pawan Bansal ended up spending the highest on social media as the medium was “the easiest for the candidates to reach out to masses and counter the claims and allegations made by the opponent.”
From developing websites and Facebook pages “Apna Chandigarh” to “Fir se number 1”, raps and songs based on the candidates’ contribution to the city, Bansal tried hard to counter Kher’s claims through his social media messages. On the other hand, newly-elected Member of Parliament Kirron Kher released over 250 videos in all and regularly kept posting her work, meetings and the counter replies on Facebook and Twitter handle.
Kher kept posting her video on either the works she would focus in her second term if elected or on what Bansal had claimed. Manteshwar, designer Mohan, Sahdev Salaria were among Kher’s social media strategists. Three of them would strategise and ensure that plan of day’s events would reach out to workers through the social media a night before the next day and then at 6.30 am again. Kher’s wardwise videos- the works she did were strategised seven months before the announcement of her ticket.
Talking to Newsline, Sahdev Salaria who was among the strategists, said, “ There were two battlegrounds for us to fight- one on the ground and the other on the social media. Social media now requires equal hard work as the ground campaigning does. Our social media was stronger because we already had number of followers.”
In the last week of campaigning, the social media fight became intense. As soon as there would be a moment to show Kher as a weak candidate, the video would be circulated by Bansal camp. Minutes after that Kher’s social media team would make her video replying to video circulated by the opponent.
Minutes after Kher’s camp had posted a video of Kher tearing away Bansal’s pamphlet which spoke about Kher’s claims vs reality, Kher’s video where she had been speaking on “feeling like to punch” Bansal was circulated by Bansal’s workers. Vikram Bansal, nephew and social media strategist of Pawan Bansal said, “ One can reach masses with just one message and that is why we focussed on the social media.”
Vikram however stated that there was a compilation on Bansal ji’s life which was actually a kind of token of love by a worker and many things which were actually created by other workers and circulated have been put in their promotional expenditure. Besides Bansal and Kher, other independent candidates had hired PR agencies to keep the media posted of their meetings and allegations.