Elections in Uttar Pradesh 2022: Given its organisational and digital infrastructure supremacy, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a distinct advantage over its opponents. Due to a shaky social media policy, the Samajwadi Party (SP) is in hot water.
The issue for political parties ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections is to get out to the last-mile voter
Given its dominance in both organisational and digital infrastructure, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a distinct advantage over its competitors. In Uttar Pradesh, the party claims to have around 1.62 lakh booth committees, out of a total of roughly 1.75 lakh. Due to a shaky social media policy, the Samajwadi Party (SP) is in hot water.
The party’s senior leadership maintains that these booth-level units are checked every two months to keep up with changes, and that the average booth committee has at least 11 members. The BJP gains around 17 lakh direct booth workers as a result of this. No other party comes close to matching this capabilities. These karyakartas are all linked by smartphones. As a result, they serve as the primary and most important line of communication for the party’s different WhatsApp messages and social media posts.
While large protests and broad campaigns are unlikely due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases, any political party’s booth level strength will be the strongest. The ruling BJP also claims to have more than 70 offices spread throughout 92 divisions. To support the leaders, the majority of these district offices are equipped with laptops, WiFi, and social media teams. These offices can now serve as hubs for local information transmission. These centres will facilitate social media conferences, meetings, and communications.
The state’s infrastructure and technological strength are complemented by the party’s dedicated IT cell at both the national and state levels. For many years, a cutting-edge IT and social media division has been operational at the Lucknow headquarters. All of the BJP’s top officials are engaged on social media. During Covid, the party also focused heavily on digital meetings and activities.
“This time, we have done a novel experiment, we planned to employ 3D Studio Mix technology,” BJP IT state convener Kameshwar Mishra told News18 recently. Leaders from two distinct locations can be shown on one podium using this technology. That is, by using 3D to create a virtual stage, seasoned leaders’ speeches will appear to be coming from the same location.”
He further added that the party had made audio conferencing arrangements. “Under this, a bell will ring on a person’s mobile phone, followed by the address being heard. A total of 1.5 lakh people can be connected at the same time. “Such meetings have already been successfully trialled,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the SP may have positioned itself as the primary challenger to the BJP in the UP Assembly Elections by bringing large audiences to Akhilesh Yadav’s Rath Yatras, but the party appears to be lagging behind its rival on social media. Even SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has recognised that his party cannot compete with the BJP’s digital infrastructure.
When asked about his digital readiness at a News18 event in Lucknow on Sunday, the SP head evaded the subject. When asked how the SP will take on the BJP now that the impetus has shifted to social media, the SP postholders in charge of the media and IT unit were similarly stumped. According to SP sources, the party needs to rethink its social media and traditional media strategies before it’s too late.
With the exception of a few cases, the SP has struggled to gain traction on social media because to poor preparation, overconfidence, and a sluggish social media programme. Most party workers and social media volunteers forward anything the party boss tweets or writes. Mostly, it’s a reaction to what the BJP and other parties say or tweet, demonstrating the SP social media cell’s lack of creativity. The party has been unable to come up with compelling slogans or catchphrases to energise young people on social media sites.