Elections to the Lok Sabha might be several months away,but the contenders for the ticket have already started connecting with the prospective voters in the virtual world. Leaders of all political parties have made their Facebook pages and are providing regular updates about the events they are participating in or their opinions on different issues.
From the numerous functions attended by the leaders on Independence Day,protests and plantation drives all events feature on the Facebook pages. Some have added a little more personal touch with pictures of family members also being uploaded. Political parties are also putting their IT teams in place prior to the elections.
Senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan is actively interacting with the people who comment on his page. I get around 250 notifications per day. I ask my personal assistant to take a print-out of the same. I dictate answers to the queries and comments that people have made and he keeps typing these. Social media is a powerful tool these days to interact with people,especially the youth who are regular users. The response I am getting from them is tremendous, he says.
Dhawan has also put online information about the projects that he brought to the city when he was the Union minister. Among the major ones was the Government Medical College and Hospital,Sector 32.
Apart from Dhawan,the two other BJP leaders,Sanjay Tandon and Satya Pal Jain,also have Facebook pages. Jain had made the page during the last Lok Sabha elections when he was a candidate. The others are relatively new entrants. Tandons Facebook page carries a picture of him with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The activities that he participated in over the past few weeks are highlighted on the page.
BSP candidate for the Lok Sabha elections Jannat Jahan has put in place an IT team that is monitoring the page. Jannat says that since the page was started,she has been contacted by a number of youngsters who have joined the party.
It is the educated people who are using Facebook. I monitor the page along with our IT team. In the coming days,the page would be made more interactive. I will ask people to come to me with problems of the city that I can solve. We are uploading the pictures of the activities that we are undertaking in the city. I connect more with youngsters being one myself, says Jannat.
Local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal is also on the Facebook bandwagon. The symbol of the Open Hand adorns the page. Links to his interviews about the rail bribery scam are uploaded. Political activity of Bansal over the weekends has witnessed an increase. These are also reflected on the page. Recently,the Congress leadership nominated people in all units to handle social media during the elections.