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, one WhatsApp group in each polling booth will be started. Local functionaries will be members of these groups.
These will highlight issues faced by the people at the 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.
Also, the party 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 the programmes of the BJP.
On Wednesday, the ‘war room’ was inaugurated by party’s national general secretary Muralidar Rao in the presence of State president Tamilisai Soundararajan.
At the national level and also in states where it grew substantially in recent years, the party has mastered the strategy of taking down rivals through virulent and often vituperative social media takedowns by 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. Both have a war in hand now.
Booth target set
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.