It is virtually a war of sorts on social media with every political party going full throttle to woo voters with minute-by-minute updates. Managing the show from behind is a group of tech brains. They handle the Facebook and Twitter accounts of netas, who seem to have no time to dive into the web pool.
Major political parties in Karnataka, including the Congress, BJP and JD(S), are hoping that a fierce online battle might swing a significant chunk of urban votes in their favour.
Ravinarayana Gunaje, a 30-year-old postgraduate in geo-informatics, is probably among the most sought-after entrepreneurs in Bangalore now. Hailing from Puttur, he has been running social media campaigns for a number of BJP leaders for many years. “This is my fourth election and the trend is slowly changing with documentation getting importance. The voters like to know interesting facets about candidates and these details are not easily available. We are now archiving every bit of information that is available on a particular candidate,” says Ravinarayana, managing a team of 15 from his Wilson Garden office.
He insists that the candidates also have become increasingly aware of the importance of being visible on Facebook and Twitter.
BJP candidate from Shimoga B S Yeddyurappa is among the late entrants to have hit the social media aggressively. “He joined late, but has overtaken many leaders on Twitter updates. Today, the re-tweets of Yeddyurappa are substantial in numbers as compared to others in the fray. His fan following has increased in the last 10 days alone,” Ravinarayana says.
His another VIP client is D V Sadananda Gowda, contesting from Bangalore North. “We will soon launch a unique concept on the web for him, called ‘Sada Diary’. It will have daily updates of interesting aspects of campaigning captured by the former Chief Minister himself,” he explains.
New Election Turf
According to K C Sadananda, media secretary to H D Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) started its online campaign in October last year.
“We began targeting tech-savvy voters before others. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, we have also made a database of over 2.5 lakh email IDs to send our periodic election updates. Today, we have data on over three crore mobile users,” he says. A 10-member team handles the JD(S) online campaign from its Sadashivanagar office, while another tech team operates from different locations, for which the details were not available. The Congress is following the guidelines of its central media plan.