Cong, BJP take fight to cyber world

Ahead of Assembly elections in five states later this year, key rivals the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are forming cyber squads to battle it out in the virtual world, particularly on social networking platforms.

While the BJP made the first moves in cyberspace after its loss in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Congress, though a late entrant, appears to be making its presence felt.
Congress’ aggressive stance against Narendra Modi, BJP campaign chief for the next Lok Sabha elections, dubbing him “Feku” (one who makes tall claims) on Twitter has helped the party upstage the Gujarat chief minister’s supporters, who till recently dominated the virtual world.

The caustic remarks of BJP’s cyber warriors on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi—dubbing him “Pappu”—during his address to industrialists at a CII event in April, had gone viral on the internet.

Rahul Gandhi is set to hold a day-long brainstorming session on Thursday for party leaders from the states on the use of social media.

The coming session follows a two-day workshop for spokespersons held last month on effective communication strategies.

Modi addressed a similar meeting of BJP spokespersons over the weekend in the capital. He asked them to take on the Congress more aggressively, but maintain decency in discourse.

The BJP’s IT Cell has been using social media platforms quite effectively with leaders engaging internet users through chat sessions on Facebook. Modi had used Google Hangout—a video chat platform—to reach out to netizens. The party is targeting over two crore people across various sections of society through its various cyber initiatives.
Young, first-time voters form a key segment and the Congress and the BJP are wooing them assiduously.

Congress leaders, including Digvijay Singh, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor, Ajay Maken and Shakeel Ahmed, have been using Twitter to popularise government initiatives as much as to hit out at the Opposition.

“Tweeting in the morning helps as it is picked up by news channels instantly; 8 am to 9 am gets the best results,” said a Congress leader.

The Congress has put young MP Deepender Hooda in charge of its social media thrust. He is also tasked with revamping the party’s presence on the internet.

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