Kids of TN candidates turn into campaigners on social media

Professionals at the IT cells of political parties might be burning the proverbial midnight oil to ensure victory for their respective outfits, but in Tamil Nadu’s hinterland, the children of candidates are using social media to galvanise support among the near and dear. 

Fourteen-year-old K Krupani and his brother K Ambani, children of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) Karur candidate N S Krishnan, typify this trend. 

Soon after their board exams were over, the siblings logged on to their social media accounts, busying themselves in running their father’s online campaign from Karur town.
 While interviewing various candidates in rural Parliamentary constituencies, Deccan Herald was surprised to find that their children were actively campaigning on social media. Not just those contesting for the major political parties, but wards of those fighting elections as independents were also part of their parents’ campaign team wooing voters through Facebook and Twitter. 

“I wanted to spend this summer holidays usefully. So I decided to help my father,” Krupani told Deccan Herald, working his nimble fingers on the keyboards of a hi-tech laptop. 

“I connect with my classmates through social media including Facebook and Twitter to ensure they would ask their parents to vote for my dad,” he added. 

“Even ten votes for our dad from our (social media) effort would make us feel happy,” his brother Ambani chimed in. 

Updating Krishnan’s campaign schedule on a daily basis, the brothers meticulously noted down “likes and comments” and reported them to their dad. 

“Younger voters are not easily swayed by road shows and TV ad blitz. They would rather give credence to their friend’s words if he speaks about the good qualities of a candidate in Facebook or Twitter,” said C Nalathambi, son of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate M Chinnasamy. 

Claiming that Karur Lok Sabha constituency consists of one lakh first time voters, he said: “I update my social media accounts with catchy pictures and clippings of my father’s speeches every day and follow the responses on my Android smartphone.” 

Nalathambi also claimed that having just one child on social media is enough to reach the whole family, as the child tends to share information about the candidate with the adults. 

As social media evolved into a powerful platform for political exchanges in recent times, even the not-so-popular candidates could fancy garnering a good chunk of votes, said K Ramesh, whose mother R Sumathi is the independent candidate in Namakkal. 

“(Once they read about a candidate) they get curious,” he said, adding that social media is an especially powerful tool in getting reluctant couch-sitters to polling booths. 

Ramesh pointed to questions from young Facebook users about his mother’s plans of managing the constituency (if voted to power) as evidence of the impact social media has today.

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