The strategy is to woo the youth who account for nearly 41% of the total voters in the country.

 

With an eye on the general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched its technology outreach campaign through various interactive social media tools. The party has adopted a two-fold campaign strategy—one for the states Assemblies that will go to the polls this year and another for the Lok Sabha election, sources close to the party said.

A source close to the poll campaign committee of the BJP told The Sunday Guardian: “With almost 5 crore users of the Narendra Modi application and 13 crore subscribers of sampark.gov.in—a platform which sends newsfeeds related to the work done by the BJP government at the Centre—the tech outreach programme of the BJP is going to be the fulcrum in the states where Assembly elections are due this year and in the 2019 general election as well.”

“The game plan is to make tech outreach more effective with the promotion of the Narendra Modi app. With an estimated 5 crore users, the Narendra Modi app’s mission is two-fold—mobilise and integrate about  25 crore youth users across the country and use the app to deliver targeted messaging to existing and potential voters,” the same source cited above said.

A senior central BJP functionary said: “The strategy is to target the youth, including 15 crore first time voters, who account for nearly 41% of the total voters in the country. The BJP gained massive support from youth voters in the 2014 general election and once again, the focus is on wooing the youth.”

Bijendra Jha, a scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University who is working on the topic “Poll campaign in the age of social media”, said: “Modi’s strategy is to woo young voters and for that, the party has been heavily investing on the creation of interactive social media platforms, including the Narendra Modi app, sampark.gov.in, Facebook and Twitter. These interactive tools are not just helping the BJP reach out to young voters, but are also helping to accumulate ample data that can be used in elections.”

“The Narendra Modi app alone has 20 times more users than the Congress party’s app,” Jha said.”

“Ever since the BJP has come to power at the Centre, it has been creating some or the other interactive platform to remain connected to its support base. After coming to power, the two most important platforms created by the Modi government are the Narendra Modi app and Mann Ki Baat; both platforms have gained massive support from the people and are going to play a key role in the 2019 poll cmapaign,” Jha added.

Delhi-based Nikhil Gupta, a former aide of the BJP’s IT cell, said, “Data analytics helps in identifying supporters and makes the task of launching a targeted campaign much easier. In the age of hyper technology, the use of data cannot be ignored. We are applying the same method in the three poll-bound states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.”

“Access to data from various sources helps the tech team to design a micro-targeting strategy. Under this strategy, the IT team crafts small messages and publishes them on various platforms to woo the small user cohorts,” Gupta, who is a data scientist, said.

“In micro-targeting, the Narendra Modi app becomes a tool of mobilisation. It forces party workers to execute the work taken and complete the game plan. It also doubles up as a channel to send targeted messages based on the data it has,” Gupta added.

On the condition of anonymity, a senior BJP leader said. “The party is working on multilevel strategies which include combination of booth level information (data gathering), understanding the political leaning and preparing targeted campaign for them. It may sound difficult, but nowadays data campaign works like this only. The party has a uniform poll campaign strategy and in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh, the party is following the same.”

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