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Get ready for WhatsApp warfare as BJP opens social media ‘war room’ in Tamil Nadu

The target, 2019 Lok Sabha elections, is obvious; so is the catalyst - the void left by the death of AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa and the virtual absence of DMK president M Karunanidhi.

Published: 27th September 2017 10:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2017 10:21 PM   |  A+A-

Representational Image. | File Photo

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Not disheartened by the drubbing it received in the Assembly polls only a year ago, the State unit of the Centre-ruling BJP opened a social media war room at its headquarters in Chennai on Wednesday. The target, 2019 Lok Sabha elections, is obvious; so is the catalyst - the void left by the death of AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa and the virtual absence of DMK president M Karunanidhi.

The strategy is all too familiar: in the first phase, the deadline for which is 100 days from today, at least 10 WhatsApp groups will be started in each of the 234 Assembly constituencies, said party sources. Thereafter, it will be expanded to one WhatsApp group in each polling booth area. Local functionaries will be the members of these groups.  These will highlight issues faced by the people at grassroots level, and wherever needed, organise agitations or approach the local government officials to resolve them. Special attention will be paid to the young first-time voters - those who have not yet voted for the two Kazhagams.

The IT wing of the State BJP unit will train the youth wing and women’s wing functionaries in creating memes and other messages to propagate the achievements of the BJP-led government at the Centre, as well as to highlight the issues of the people. They will also be tasked with countering the negative campaign against Narendra Modi and his government.

The template seems to be one that is all too familiar in the national arena.

Also, the party high command has directed local functionaries to intensify the membership drive so as to ensure at least 100 members in each polling booth initially. The party had already started two web TVs, Thamarai TV and BJP TV, to popularise programmes of the BJP.  On Wednesday, the ‘war room’ was inaugurated by the party’s national general secretary Muralidhar Rao in the presence of State president Tamilisai Soundararajan.

At the national level and also in states where it grew substantially in the recent years, the party has mastered the strategy of taking down rivals through virulent and often vituperative social media campaigns and orchestrated attacks. But Tamil Nadu already has an online community that is vibrant and extremely political — often joining hands to take on BJP and other Sangh Parivar outfits. Them both have a war in hand now.



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