In contrast, BJP and AAP leaders are extensively using Twitter and Facebook to reach out to their voters.
Congress leaders, who contested the 2015 Assembly elections in Delhi, are virtually nowhere to be found in social media.
An analysis of the social media footprint of the 70 candidates who contested the last elections, shows that apart from eight to nine leaders, none of them are active on either Twitter or Facebook.
Both of these mediums are used by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders very extensively to reach out to their voters. Congress leader Kiran Walia, who contested from the New Delhi constituency in 2015 and remained an important minister in the Sheila Dixit Cabinet in Delhi, has little or no presence on either Twitter or Facebook.
The last post from her Facebook handle was only in February 2015, while on Twitter her last post dates back to 3 December 2013. Raj Kumar Chauhan, another former Minister from the Sheila Dixit Cabinet who contested from the Mangolpuri seat during the 2015 Assembly elections in Delhi, also has a very poor presence on social media. While his last post on Facebook has been in 2015, his Twitter account has been suspended.
An overall analysis of the social media presence of Delhi Congress leaders also portrays a grim picture. Even senior leaders have not shown much activity. According to The Sunday Guardian’s analysis, 60 out of the 70 leaders who had contested the 2015 elections have a very poor presence on Twitter, while 42 out of the 70 MLA candidates from the Congress in 2015 have poor presence on Facebook. This comes at a time when the BJP and AAP are pushing their leaders to increase their social media presence.
The BJP and AAP have both constituted war rooms even at the local levels to reach out to millennial voters, as social media is considered one of the most important tools of communication to reach out to voters in real time and with accuracy. Sharmistha Mukherjee, spokesperson of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, told The Sunday Guardian that social media is an important aspect of communication for political leaders and political parties of today and that the party is trying to persuade its leaders to get on the digital platform.
“We have been telling all our leaders to be part of social media; some have also come on board, while others are still working on it. As far as the official handle of the Delhi Congress is concerned, it is very active and so am I and also Ajay Makenji. Unlike the AAP and BJP, the Congress does not have paid volunteers and BOTs for their social media,” Mukherjee said.