Uttarakhand polls: Parties battle it out on social media amid ban on rallies


PTI, Jan 25, 2022, 2:28 PM IST

With Covid curbs in place and less than a month to go for the February 14 Assembly polls, both the BJP and the Congress in Uttarakhand are making the optimum use of social media to reach out to voters.

Amid the ban on poll rallies, the BJP has already held 18 virtual meetings through its two studios set up in Dehradun and Haldwani, party’s IT head Himanshu Sangtani told PTI.

The meetings have been addressed by a host of party leaders, including Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, state BJP president Madan Kaushik, Union Minister of State Ajay Bhatt, former Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Vijay Bahuguna, he said.

”The chief speaker and the candidate join the electorate through these studios at these virtual meetings and we stream the address live through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,” he said.

”Each of the virtual meetings held so far got around one lakh views on an average,” Sangtani said.

With Covid curbs likely to be eased from February 1, more virtual rallies to be addressed by the party’s star campaigners like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP president JP Nadda will be held, he said.

The schedule of the programme of the party’s star campaigners is being worked out in Delhi, he said.

Social media platforms like Facebook are also being used by the party to connect with the electorate, party functionaries here said.

”There are around 35 lakh Facebook users in Uttarakhand and we have reached out to about 20 lakh of them,” BJP’s internet media cell head Shekhar Verma said.

When asked whether candidates have a disadvantage due to the restrictions on actual poll rallies, Verma said though there can be no substitute to actual meetings that help the candidates connect directly with voters, with the smartphone in almost all hands, the option of social media outreach has also become hassle-free.

The Congress has also deployed it’s team of 400 social media volunteers to spread the party’s message via around 1,500 party workers using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and around 150 of its official WhatsApp groups, party’s media cell coordinator Amarjeet Singh told PTI.

A team of 50 content creators conceives and designs the matter to be floated in the form of audio-video clips or cartoons to take the failures of BJP government and the achievements of previous Congress governments to the masses through social media platforms, he said ”For example, around 50,000 users joined the party’s campaign of Char Dham, Char Kam, which was trending across social media platforms on Monday,” Singh claimed.

The Congress launched the theme song of the party’s election campaign, ”Char Dham Char Kam”, in Dehradun on Monday, making four promises to people if elected to power. The promises included Rs 40,000 per annum to five lakh families in the state and not letting the LPG cylinder price cross Rs 500.

The party has not held many virtual meetings so far except the few addressed by Harish Rawat from Delhi for Almora and Didihat constituencies as most prominent party leaders were in the national capital until recently, he said.

” Now, most of them are back and the process will pick up momentum in the coming days. Easing of Covid curbs likely from February 1 will also bring some relief to us as larger rallies of around 500 people will be possible,” he said.

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