The Congress was the first party to cancel all the rallies and switch to virtual mode. The party will fix LED screens at important places and organize rallies where the interface will be minimal….writes Saiyed Moziz Imam Zaidi
As Covid-19 infections are rising sharply amid the third wave of the pandemic and the Assembly elections in five states due in March, political parties have cancelled their physical rallies and have turned to digital modes to reach out to the voters.
The parties are planning digital rallies in the election-bound states and also to reach out to the people via social media platforms.
Congress social media head Rohan Gupta says: “Our preparation is ready, we will arrange virtual rallies and will reach out to people through Zoom, Google meet, Facebook, WhatsApp and other such platforms.”
The Congress was the first party to cancel all the rallies and switch to virtual mode. The party will fix LED screens at important places and organize rallies where the interface will be minimal.
The Congress is on an overdrive in the poll-bound states and its social media campaign has begun with the party’s team setting up control rooms in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur.
The team constituted for each state has already moved to the respective state capitals and has started focusing on the work, trying to be ahead in the social media campaigns of various parties.
Gupta said: “Our campaign is handled by the party volunteers and we have not outsourced it. We are way ahead of other parties including the BJP and the AAP.”
Other political parties are also switching to the digital mode. Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the BJP is prepared to hold virtual rallies.
Talking to the media, Shekhawat said the Election Commission will decide the guidelines for rallies and the BJP will follow them.
“The BJP is ready for virtual rallies. We held virtual rallies during the West Bengal assembly polls. During the first and second wave of Covid when all the political parties went into hibernation, the BJP was active at the booth level through virtual platforms,” he said.
The BJP has trained 8,000 workers who will be social media warriors in each division and has divided the state in about 2,000 divisions in Uttar Pradesh. The party will focus on the people who have been the beneficiaries of its social schemes and each worker will be given a specific task.
All the political parties have asked their social media wing to gear up for campaigning. The Samajwadi Party has started a website to reach out to people, where it will webcast virtual rallies of important leaders.
The social media department has trained office-bearers in the states at the booth level and armed them with the latest techniques. It will also focus on countering any misinformation campaign on the social media at the source itself to curb its spread.
The BSP, which has less presence in the digital space, has also hired a team of technical workers and social media volunteers and is taking the help of experts to reach out to people.
While this time the social media will be the biggest tool there is speculation about huge spending on the platforms but sources in the political set up say that it is very less compared to the conventional rallies.