BJP, Cong gear up for cyber war ahead of MP polls

BJP, Cong gear up for cyber war ahead of MP polls

Amit Shah eld a meeting with 'cyber warriors' and discussed with them on how to take on the Congress. PTI file photo.

Nearly 65,000 BJP's 'cyber warriors' are all set to take on the Congress' 'Rajiv Ke Sipahi' in the cyber space to woo young voters in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls.

Shivraj Singh Dabi, the BJP's state information technology (IT) cell in-charge, said about 65,000 'cyber warriors' have been deployed by the party in the last three months and 5,000 more will be deputed shortly.

The state Congress has set up a team of around 4,000 'Rajiv Ke Sipahi' (named after their leader and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi credited with the digital revolution in India) to battle it out against the BJP on social media.

The Congress will train 5,000 more people for the task, Dharmendra Bajpai, Madhya Pradesh Congress's IT cell in-charge, said.

"We are going to hold training sessions in the state's revenue divisions from June 25," he said.

Both the leaders said they were going to reach out to people on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter.

They will specially focus on WhatsApp, owing to its wide reach.

"During elections, our biggest weapon is going to be WhatsApp," Bajpai said.

On the BJP's strategy, Dabi said, "We are going to be doubly active on WhatsApp as it's the biggest communication tool, specially to reach out to commoners and villagers."

He said the party used social media to counter the Congress' 10-day Gaon bandh during the farmers' agitation in the state from June 1 to June 10.

The BJP's IT cell highlighted the central and state governments' welfare schemes for farmers during the agitation, Dabi said.

He claimed that the party thwarted the Congress' bid to capitalise on the farmers' agitation.

In contrast, Bajpai said their 'Rahul with farmers' hash-tag on Twitter was a "huge success".

It was trending for 23 hours on Twitter when Congress chief Rahul Gandhi visited Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district and addressed a farmers' rally on June 6, he said.

The hash-tag recorded participation of more than 1.25-lakh people on the widely used social networking site, Bajpai claimed.

Both the parties said through the use of social media, they would try to dispel misunderstandings and false propaganda of their rivals in the run-up to the state polls.

A BJP leader said party president Amit Shah, during his visit to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh on June 12, held a meeting with 'cyber warriors' and discussed with them on how to take on the Congress in the social media space.