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Gangs of Social Media

From the past few days, you will notice a lot of ads are being shown on TV, newspaper, hoardings of Congress party in which Rahul Gandhi is shown as the future leader of our country. Different people are discussing their experiences that how UPA has done a lot of work in past 10 years.

Similar campaigns are also run by BJP team like “Chai par charcha” and “Namo 272+” campaign. A lot of buzz is being created on Social networking site and youngsters are invited to join the campaign.
Election dates are not yet finalized and Election commission has no regulation for usage of money in the campaigns. So, all parties are utilizing this time to their fullest to showcase them as a better option. After dates will be finalized, Election commission will keep an eye for the campaigning cost of each aspirant. Only 50 lakhs are set as the upper limit that an aspirant can spend for the elections. It don’t seems a correct option when on one rally 5-6 crores are spent.

One month back Hindustan times, published a news that Congress party has hired Japanese PR agency Dentsu for a massive campaign on the concept of “empowering the common man” and it will show Rahul Gandhi as a young, vibrant leader. They claimed this contract is for 500 crores. The Congress party is denying the figure but not many days have passed and we are seeing ads on TV, newspaper. This campaign was necessary for Congress because they presence on Social media was negligible and Social media sites like Facebook and twitter were filled with Narendra Modi supporters. Congress have serious corruption allegations against them. Many ministers are under the scanner. There is a lot of anti-incumbency factor against them. If they want to win this election, they need to show that they their work by full force. In one of the press conference, Rahul Gandhi admitted we are good in working but not good in Marketing. There are not much awareness about the bills passed by them like National food security bill and MNREGA.
It is not like BJP are not using a PR agency, in fact they have started using them from the last 4 years and Narendra Modi is one of the first politician who is using them. In 2009, Gujarat government official appointed PR giant APCO for promoting Modi’s development showpiece “Vibrant Gujarat” model. Tehelka magazine claimed Modi extended their service for projecting Brand Modi and from then only NaMo-Namo chant started. If you remember, there was a huge Modi development campaign on Social media 2-3 years ago and lot of buzz was created by showing Gujarat model. After 2002 riots, Modi needed an image makeover. So, PR agencies were hired for building his image as a future prime minister. It is being said that APCO contract is of 400 crores. Through Social media only, Modi is presenting his Model for development which he will implement if selected as Prime minister.

These PR agencies create buzz by showing us the images and videos of the parties again and again. If these images are shown to us number of times, we tend to believe them. Many a times it is found that fake accounts were created to increase followers list on twitter and facebook. Both the parties leaders are claiming that other party leaders profile has fake account associated with them but there are no agency to prove these allegations.
BJP came into the social media ground early so they are ahead of Congress in this medium. These campaigns target the youngsters of our country who are active on Internet site. Around 60 % of our population are below 35 who are the target audience for these kind of campaigns. A lot of facebook pages are active from last 3-4 years which were continuously promoting Modi as a PM candidate and defaming Congress party as a whole and Gandhi family in particular.
Apart from these political biggies, there is one more party which has a huge presence on social media. It is Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi party. But apart from these parties, it is not managed by any PR agencies but entirely by its volunteers. After the successful usage of facebook in their Anti-corruption movement, AAP is utilizing the social media platform to the fullest for spreading their presence. The reason for its huge presence is because most of its volunteers are youngsters and are active on Social media.

Other traditional parties like SP, BSP are not so active on Social media as there voters are mostly based in villages, which are still untouched by this 21st century promotional tool.
It’s good that these parties are taking assistance from an agency for projecting their idea of growth but the problem I have is the numbers involved. If they are giving hundreds of crores in promotions, obviously they will try to recover the money when they come in power.
It’s because of these social media only that political knowledge of youngsters have increased a lot but they tend to believe anything that is shown to them on facebook. They should apply their mind and before accepting a fact, first cross check it and then believe it.
It would be good to see whose PR agency work will be better and apart from the UPA-NDA match, it is also a match between all the ad agencies which are working for these parties.


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