Bihar assembly elections are the first big polls the country is witnessing where the online and digital platform is being used extensively due to the restrictions in the given pandemic. With this, all the political players in the state have completely revamped their social media strategy. The NDA alliance partners of BJP and JDU have been working round the clock for the past 6 months to not only reach out to all social media users in the state but also to use smartphones as a critical tool to connect with the voters.
IT Cell: BJP’s strongpoint
For BJP, it was not a difficult task as they have one of the strongest social media and digital teams among all political parties in the country. However, in a state like Bihar, harnessing that technology and manpower is a big task.
The party has hired around 10,000 people who are working as officials in the party’s IT department. The BJP has identified 5 such people at every booth in Bihar who have smartphones and know how to use them well. With 80,000 booths across the state, the party has selected more than 4 lakh people working directly with the national IT team. This way the party has strengthened its social media use at every Shakti Kendra in Bihar.
These 4 lakh people have been further divided into several WhatsApp groups and take directions from the national team of the BJP. These people have been given the task of ensuring that the party’s message, virtual programs, campaign videos, etc are shown to people at every Shakti Kendra.
With Prime Minister Modi starting his campaign in the state this week, the party will use technology to have a multiplier effect on the PM’s rallies. Every rally of the PM will be shown in a cluster of 25 assembly constituencies with the help of the party volunteers who will use their smartphones to show the PM’s rallies in real-time to a group of 50 people at a time.
Huge Challenge for JDU
BJP ally JDU, on the other hand, had to learn the nuances of social media from scratch. The party started building a team in May this year to strengthen its social media outreach. As a source working in the social media team says, “Bihar and JDU were never social media ready.”
JDU roped in all the IITians who went back to the state during the pandemic. These volunteers helped the party in developing a JDU specific social media platform. JDU has tried to replicate the BJP model of social media and digital use.
It was a huge challenge for the party to teach its workers how to even use WhatsApp and Facebook in villages to connect with local leaders. The IT team had to given written notes to its party cadre explaining to them how to use Facebook lives.
JDU started with the Nitish Care Facebook page which speaks about the work done by the state government during the pandemic and the floods. The party also started Sunday Samwad, a weekly interactive program where voters can connect with their local party leaders via Facebook live.
In fact, a lot of effort went into making Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar digitally-friendly. Known as a man who follows traditional rules, Nitish Kumar also had to learn how to connect with people on social media and start his virtual meetings and events from June this year and till now every assembly constituency in the state Online programs have been organized, reports Times Now.