Times of India Coverage in Newspapers about BJP IT CELL initiatives

September 15, 2009


Now, netas are updating their Facebook profiles

Somit Sen| TNN | Sep 15, 2009, 04:05 IST

MUMBAI: In the run up to the October 13 assembly elections, the three A’s – automate, attract and advise – are the buzzwords doing the rounds of party offices. Like in the Lok Sabha elections, politicians are reaching out to voters via websites, blogs, SMS campaigns and social networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut.
“The triple-A concept was widely used during the recent Lok Sabha elections when every party used e-campaigns to secure votes,” said Vineet Goenka, the IT-cell in charge for the state BJP. His team comprises MBAs, IIT-ians and IIM grads whose job it is to dream up new and innovative ways to reach out attract voters.

The BJP, for instance, was among the first to use the Bluetooth SMS `push service in city’ malls. “This will be used again for the assembly elections. If your Bluetooth is on, our server will send you an invite to access any information you’d like about our party and our candidates. Within seconds, you can have all details on your cellphone,” said Goenka.

The Bulk SMS facility is an important part of most campaigns. Here, messages are customised depending on the community the voter belongs to, and his or her profession.

The Congress, too, is not far behind in this tech rat race. The party recently refurbished its website, which has links to several other related sites. “We have created a database of e-mails of hundreds of citizens and will use the internet in a big way to reach out to voters,” said party spokesperson Krishna Hegde. “We are also on social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut. And yes, we have bought rights for bulk SMS facilities,” he added. Congress senior activists like Gurudas Kamat, Milind Deora and Priya Dutt have their own websites that connect to voters of their respective constituencies and deal with local issues.

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said his party was reaching out to the “Gen Next” voter by redesigning its website, and seeking online feedback from every citizen on what they expect in the Sena manifesto. The Sena has also launched a state-of-the-art IT cell at its Dadar headquarters.

 The MNS and the NCP are relying on their individual websites to attract voters. “We have a strong presence on social networking sites. In fact, one of our MNS’s online community networks has more than 17,000 members,” said a senior functionary.
Live online chat sessions with voters are also fast becoming popular crowd pullers. “Nearly a lakh citizens were hooked on to the one-hour chat. It’s amazing,” said state BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

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