With the UP elections inching closer, major political parties in the state like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are fighting a virtual war on social media to attract young voters.
Virtual Battle Ground
If we look at the social media campaigns in Uttar Pradesh, it largely ranges from raising developmental issues to indulging in intense troll wars. All the major parties are resorting to a number of methods including purchased Facebook page likes, Twitter followers and a number of digital campaigns which includes cartoons and videos to score over their rivals in this virtual war.
Coming to wielding the social media clout, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party has got over a million likes on Facebook while its arch rival Bahujan Samaj Party led by Mayawati has roughly around 15K likes, much lesser in number and impact. On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Uttar Pradesh has over 1.5 million likes on Facebook, and an aggressive social media presence to woo its voter base. In comparison, the official page of Uttar Pradesh Congress has over 100,000 likes, much lesser in comparison to its main opponent—the BJP.
When it comes to Twitter, the ruling Samajwadi Party has over 31.K followers and its communication strategy is largely based on highlighting the achievements during Akhislesh Yadav’s rule. The BJP UP, is ahead of SP with over 35K followers and it is trying to attract voters with a slew of promises and also highlighting the corruption menace in the state, which is also the bedrock of its electoral strategy in UP. As far as the UP Congress is concerned, they are leading on this platform with almost 50K followers and building a strong influencer base particularly around their recent alliance with Akhilesh Yadav.
All the parties in the fray have hired professionals to plan their campaigns across social platforms like – WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc.
Interestingly, out of many hashtags, memes and topics which are trending online for the upcoming UP elections, the popular ones are:
Apart from the hard-hitting campaigning around policies, promises and political agendas, the upcoming UP election is witnessing its fair share of troll wars too. From memes and cartoons of Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi and other leaders, the trolls are having a field day in the run up to the elections.
Here are some more:
Speaking about the BJP’s campaign in UP, Manoj Sinha, Minister of State (IC) for Communications and Minister of State for Railways said, “We have been able to recreate the same euphoria in UP which was visible during the general elections in 2014 and it is heartening to see the immense support of the people in the state.” Terming the campaign trail by the SP & Congress combine as ineffective, Sinha added, “Both SP & Congress will have to answer their rampant corruption and people this time will make them account for all the wrong doing that they have been involved in.”
Echoing similar sentiments, BJP’s MP from Mirzapur and Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Anupriya Patel added, “I would say that the campaigns unleashed by SP and Congress will not have any effect as it is an alliance of convenience, they are not concerned about the development of the state. They cannot even file FIRs against real criminals now what can we expect out of their digital campaigns, it’s just a farce.”