Politics on your mobile screens

Mrinal Kanti Banik

It may be true or a little less of it 
 or so, but no one can deny the fact that days are gone when the process of electioneering, more precisely, the shape of  electoral politics was confined to a certain traditional factors such as—street corners, public meetings, colossal rallies, road shows etc. Even the seasoned politicians  having different political identities now  admit that politics, nowadays, is a different ball game.

In Tripura, all these years, political parties had been practising the traditional mode of politics until the emergence of BJP. BJP is the lone political party of the state which has identified the need of a well-equipped social media squad that can generate huge appreciation among the young ignited minds—the portion of the state that comprises  lion’s share of the electorates. In the last assembly elections, BJP's social media team,  mostly acknowledged as the "IT Cell", had played a crucial role.

It set off the agenda that drove BJP home with ideas and people-friendly perception created all throughout. Though, all the parties, recognising the need, later on, set up their own teams but it was, indeed, considered to be late approach and BJP swept all it needed. BJP played it solo during the last elections but now all the political parties are more conscious and have their teams ready with salvos to fire on.

The prime focus of the social media campaign—the "Hashtag warfare" is the youth. The people who have access to  internet are now well known about what is going on. In comparison to the last assembly elections, people are now much more  aware and mature about the political propaganda rolling in their mobile screens.     
"It is actually nothing but a shift of people's attention from the mainstream politics to the virtual world of politics. Nowadays, if you are aggrieved with some issues what you need is just to put your problem in the social media with an attributing Hashtag and if you are raising an issue that is really relevant then it will surely take a turn of greater campaign" said a Tripura University post-graduation student of politics who insisted on  not being quoted as it is about the politics.

However, BJP spokesperson Dr. Ashok Sinha described the medium as an important  in terms of creating "Vox populi". "There are many positive sides of social media campaigning but it has negative sides too. We do observe, the election commission does not really take social media so seriously and that's why some negative things are taking place. But yes it is something beyond which today’s politics is incompetent" Dr. Sinha added.

Veteran politician and Congress Vice-president Tapas Dey also echoed the same. "Some people are using the medium to promote their vested interests and thus, people are  gradually stepping aside from social media platforms. But it is necessary to have a social media team, at least, to keep a bird's eye view on what is trending and in favour of whom" he added.

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