In a letter to ticket aspirants ahead of the upcoming assembly elections, the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee has made it mandatory for candidates to have a social media influence. In the September 2 letter accessed by news agency ANI, the MPCC stated that an aspiring candidate must have 15,000 likes on his/her Facebook fan page and 5,000 followers on Twitter.
Among the prerequisites include managing a WhatsApp group of booth-level workers and liking and retweeting every post from the MPCC’s Twitter handle. The MPCC set September 15 as the deadline for interested candidates to submit details of their social media presence if they want their names to be considered for party tickets.
The forthcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly election is set to witness a high-octane campaign between the BJP and Congress not only on the ground but also on social media. Nearly 65,000 ‘cyber warriors’ of the BJP are preparing to take on ‘Rajiv Ke Sipahi’ of the Congress in cyberspace in a bid to woo voters through social media platforms.
In July, the BJP’s state information technology (IT) cell in-charge, Shivraj Singh Dabi, announced that about 65,000 ‘cyber warriors’ have been deployed by the party in the last three months and 5,000 more will be deputed shortly.
On the other hand, the state Congress has set up a team of around 4,000 ‘Rajiv Ke Sipahi’ (named after their leader and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi) to battle it out against the BJP on social media. The grand old party will train 5,000 more people for the upcoming elections, the state party’s IT cell in-charge, Dharmendra Bajpai, said. “We are going to hold training sessions in the state’s revenue divisions from June 25,” he said.
Laying out the plan, both the leaders emphasised that they were going to reach out to people on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter with a special focus on WhatsApp owing to its wide reach. “During elections, our biggest weapon is going to be WhatsApp,” Bajpai said.
Shedding light on the BJP’s strategy, Dabi said, “We are going to be doubly active on WhatsApp as it’s the biggest communication tool, specially to reach out to commoners and villagers.” He said the party used social media to counter the Congress’ 10-day Gaon bandh during the farmers’ agitation in MP from June 1 to June 10.