The digital medium was a revelation in the Lok Sabha elections and though political parties have continued using it even for the state elections, their affair with technology has not ended with just social media this time.
Maha Elections on social media: BJP outshines the rest
For the Maharashtra state elections, the major political parties have been making big use of digital and technology platforms to connect with party members and electorate. For example, the Maharashtra State Congress has been actively developing social media applications to engage their supporters. “We have a separate unit that looks at social media. We have also provided separate numbers to our party workers where we update them on new events, programs, social media happenings, etc. through WhatsApp messages,” informed Dr Raju Waghmare, Spokesperson of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress.
The BJP has also been keen to recreate its digital success during the Lok Sabha elections this time around. For the past couple of weeks, BJP ads have flooded the internet. Apart from the digital bombardment, BJP also tied up with VivaConnect once again to carry out the LiveTalk campaign in Maharashtra. The Live Talk platform allows live audio streaming of an event over the mobile phone. Apart from this, it deployed vehicles fitted with large screens that drove around villages in rural Maharashtra to broadcast PM Modi's message.
VivaConnect’s LiveTalk campaign during the Lok Sabha elections has already won a number of awards. Vikram Raichura, MD of VivaConnect told us that apart from the LiveTalk campaign, they also carried out some mass reach campaigns via voice and SMS for the party.
“This time around, we could see that political parties have become more tech savvy. Each party now has an IT cell and they are now leaving no stone unturned. We have even seen this at an individual level i.e. at the MLA level,” said Raichura. VivaConnect also carried out voice-based surveys in the build up to the elections. According to Raichura, political parties can use this data to strategize their campaigns.
In fact, the gathering of data is not limited to just digital and OBD. The founder of a customized radio content provider told us that political parties have shown interest in using the medium of radio not just for promotions but also to gauge the electorate’s mood.
Shiv Sena’s campaign might not be on the scale of its larger, national rivals, but the party, which will be fighting the state elections without long-time alliance partner BJP, has also been promoting its message on different forums. The party has created a series of TVCs under the message of “Majha Nava Shivsena”, which have also been uploaded on YouTube and other social platforms like Facebook. An example of these TVCs can be seen below:
The 2014 Maharashtra State elections will be one of the most interesting and perhaps the most hotly contested elections in many years. With the major political alliances having broken down, it is a case of every man (or woman) for himself and the parties have realized this. We have seen how they have not spared any efforts or money on the radio and outdoor platforms, in fact causing a shortfall of inventory.
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Adopting new platforms and technologies also shows that they are ready to adapt to a new age; at least when it comes to campaigning.