BJP flexes digital muscles for Bihar campaign
The party, which has always been a trendsetter when it comes to the use of technology in political campaigns, has big plans for the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar.
With COVID-19 and social distancing norms, political rallies don’t seem to on the agenda any time soon. But elections must go on and parties are preparing for this new reality by doubling down on digital. This is the story in Bihar which is heading into assembly elections soon. Bihar has registered the highest growth in internet users in 2019, with a 35% growth in both urban and rural areas. With 58% of its population under 27 and digitally savvy, online platforms are the best way to reach voters in the state.
Already leaders like Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been addressing virtual rallies through video conferencing and Facebook live. His speech early June was live-streamed at all the 72,000 booths in the state. Vans equipped with 3D projectors are expected to be put to use for future web events. Where connectivity is poor, television screens are being set up in halls that can accommodate 40-50 people at a time. Joint virtual rallies are also being planned with JD(U) leaders to showcase work done by the NDA government.
Influencers, digital platforms, user-generated content will form the backbone of the elections this time with a lot of money expected to be spent on the digital front. Even in the non-election year of 2019, Rs 14 crore was spend on political ads in Bihar, according to Google’s political advertising transparency report. In addition to this spend going up by several times, a lot of funds are expected to be spent on the management of digital communities on WhatsApp, Facebook and Share Chat.
BJP has already appointed 9,500 heads of IT cells in Bihar, who will be spreading political messages, rally videos and more to crores of people through these digital channels. The party is going to create 72,000 WhatsApp groups, in addition to the 50,000 it has already created and through these will be able to reach more than two crore people, according to The Print.