New Delhi, Nov 15: Ahead of Gujarat Assembly elections, both ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are leaving no stones unturned to win the social media battle. Social media has emerged as an important armament when it comes to the election war and parties are aware that they must get their game right in the virtual world to get results on the ground.  The Congress, which appears to have fine tuned its social media strategy,  has witnessed an upsurge in its presence on the social media in the recent past.  While party vice-president Rahul Gandhi has relentlessly taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership during his Gujarat tour, the grand old party has also upped the ante on social media.

The Gujarat Congress gained popularity on the social media following a successful campaign against the BJP on the development plank which it ran with the hashtag ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe’ (Vikas has gone crazy). The phrase gained popularity because of its local flavour. “We used phrases that are local and can be used in day to day business. A lot of discussion goes in planning a campaign. Apart from local flavour, we are adding humour to our campaign,” said Rohan Gupta, who heads Congress’s social media unit for Gujarat. Also read: Congress to Name Candidates for Gujarat Polls on Nov 17

A team of 2200 office bearers is working round the clock at the Congress war room. The state has been divided into 40 units and each unit has 50-60 office bearers. “The Gujarat Congress social media is the first IT cell of India which was set up in 2011. It is being driven by volunteers. We are trying to bridge the gap and connect with the people,” Gupta said.

A picture of the Congress social media war room.
A picture of the Congress social media war room.

Not leaving any stone upturned, it is covering every aspect of the campaign for the high-pitched battle for the 182-member Assembly. It was a well co-ordinated strategy for Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s campaign. “There are six teams allocated for Rahul Gandhi’s campaign. All his sabhas are covered live. Every team has been allocated work and they work in full co-ordination,” Gupta said.

On the question of how the team works, Gupta said as the state is divided into four zones, there are eight vice presidents under him — two for each zone. Under each vice president, there are four general secretaries and each general secretary has two districts under him. The same model is being followed at the district level.

Throwing light on its future plan, Gupta said that they already have Twitter handles for every constitueny and now the focus would be on each constituency. There are two co-ordinators appointed for each constituency and they would have work in sync with the concerned candidate.

After senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda toured several cities in the state to get feedback for the party’s manifesto, a social media campaign will be run asking people to give their suggestions. ‘Aapni ichcha, maro sankalp’ is likely to be the name of the campaign.

Even the Gujarat Congress IT team faced resistance from the local leadership in the beginning, which was skeptical of its success. “Even local leadership was not ready but I was sure of the vision. It can change and make image of an individual,” Gupta added.