Here’s how social media and digital campaigns are shaping the 2022 state election

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Since the Election Commission of India (ECI) banned political parties from holding huge rallies and rallies in 5 election-related states, political parties have aligned themselves with digital election campaign managers, designers and companies specializing in digital campaigns. The states where elections are due to take place this year are Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand.

Political parties as well as independent candidates reportedly approached a Noida-based digital media company about designing and promoting campaign materials before voting began on February 10. This company will use audio and visual aids, animations and digital banner posters to reach voters. across constituencies.

But what do digital election campaigns really imply? Experts say it’s not just about circulating and promoting political and electoral campaign material, but also reaching out to the electorate through audio and video messages and calls and even outreach. use LED screens in small towns and remote villages.

In terms of social media presence, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reigns supreme on all platforms, closely followed by Congress. Regional actors in Uttar Pradesh like the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are far behind in terms of the number of social media. The Uttar Pradesh state units of BJP and Congress also have significant numbers of followers on Twitter and Facebook respectively.

Graphic: Mohsin Shaikh
Graphic: Mohsin Shaikh

According to the owner of the Noida-based digital media company called Sonal, it’s the internet age and everyone has an equal chance but, at the end of the day, it’s a question of which party or candidate has its coffers. full to the brim. The party or candidate (s) that have the coffers full, have the capacity to spend more and, as a result, end up getting a more influential campaign with a wider reach.

But how much exactly do political parties and candidates have to pay to campaign online? Well, according to Sonal it can range from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 15 lakh per month which can include creating content to designing political strategies for candidates or parties for the purpose of campaigning on a small scale.

For larger scale or statewide campaigns – which would include social and digital media calls, messaging, and strategy design – this goes anywhere between Rs 10 crore to Rs 15 crore per month.

These companies specializing in digital campaigns have independent and independent experts working anonymously for parties and for most candidates. Voter information is widely available in the open market, according to some cyber warriors who have chosen to remain anonymous. According to one of these cyber warriors, one can get data on 1 lakh of individuals on their phone or email from any state, including states linked to polls, by paying between 3,000 and 6,000. Rs.

“We are only talking about individual privacy as our data is openly sold in the marketplace that is accessible to everyone, from the insurance sales company to election management strategists. Once they have access to our data, they will decide what falls on our phone and WhatsApp, ”said one of these experts. AajTak. They can also get data for the voters list from anywhere, be it Lucknow, Ludhiana, Maharajganj or Manipur on the open market at a nominal rate. Another such expert said that despite India’s Election Commission closely monitoring hateful and violent content on social media platforms, there is also a huge demand for a propaganda campaign against opponents.

(With contributions from Ashutosh Mishra)

Read also: The Election Commission to announce the voting schedule for 5 states at 3:30 p.m.

Also read: EC does not want to interfere in presentation of Union budget, says EC Chandra

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