Nilekani takes social media by storm to woo voters

Nilekani takes social media by storm to woo voters

Log on to YouTube and you are most likely to see Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani making a speech about his “ideas for Bangalore,”  before you get a chance to see any other video.

On Facebook, a picture of Bangalore’s congested traffic situation appears on your wall with Nilekani again trying to elicit your opinion on the issue and other such civic problems.

Ever since news about Nilekani’s candidature from the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency was announced, he seems to have laid siege to the Internet and is everywhere, popping up from numerous websites.

Ankit Dhansesh, a Bangalore resident who works with a retail company, came across advertisements on Nilekani while visiting websites of Indian Railways and redBus. “When I clicked on the advertisement, I was asked to register with my email address. I was attracted by a line asking if we, Bangaloreans, want equal auto fares. I ultimately registered. He is targeting the youth like us and I feel it is a good strategy,” said Dhansesh.   
      
Friends, followers

The difference between Nilekani, entrepreneur-turned-technocrat-turned-politician and his BJP rival H N Ananth Kumar, a seasoned politician, cannot be more obvious than in their online campaigns.

With around 2.35 lakh friends on Facebook and around 30,000 followers on Twitter, Ananth Kumar has quite a presence on social media. However, except for a few barely noticeable advertisements in some websites, his online campaign seems limited to updating feeds on his social media accounts.

But Nilekani is keeping his 3.32 lakh Facebook friends and 83,000 followers on Twitter abreast of every activity he is engaged in. Be it a ride on a BMTC bus on Bus Day or a meal of idli-vadas in Basavanagudi.

Sandeep Shastri, political scientist, is of the opinion that each candidate is making optimum use of their respective strength.

“Both are not communicating through one medium alone. Although Nilekani, with his background in IT, is making good use of Internet, he has, at the same time, set out a map to campaign the conventional way. Ananth Kumar, on the other hand, has been an MP for many years now and has his traditional base of voters. However, he has been active on blogs now and then, although not with the same frequency as Nilekani.”

Fed up of your ads: Blogger to Nilkeani

A blogger, claiming to be a resident of Bangalore South, has written to Nilekani that he would vote for him only if he stopped the barrage of advertisments. His post reads: “... Your face grins at me from all webpages I visit, you smile at me from all over my FB timeline through your sponsored posts.”

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