There is a whiff of fresh air in political circles, particularly with regard to reaching out to the electorate. If necessity is the mother of invention, the most innovative brains belong to the political lot.Never ones to miss out on wooing the voters to their side, the contenders will make optimal use of any means that can help in this mission.
In the circumstances, given that there is a substantial rise in the involvement of youth in elections, the image-boosting mechanisms have also undergone a sea-change. Enter the most potent of them all-the ever penetrative social media, a platform that has become the fulcrum of mass electioneering.
Gone are the days when politicians relied mainly on posters, cardboard cut-outs, fliers, graffiti and the gruelling house-to-house canvassing to win over voters. While the traditional style of campaigning cannot be sustained beyond the period of poll campaign, the social media is one medium that can keep politicos stay in constant touch with the people. What’s more, they can understand the pulse from the reactions of the people on various issues.
TRS and TDP have tech savvy ministers and leaders like KT Rama Rao and Nara Lokesh, who are increasingly using this media to convey their opinion on various issues and also to get a feedback from the netizens. This trend has become contagious as almost all the parties are now switching over to social media particularly in the urban areas. There are many incidents when the young leaders have not only reacted to tweets but have also initiated administrative action on several issues in urban areas of the two Telugu states.
In a way, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has pioneered the use of social media having used it just prior to the 2009 general election, albeit in vain. But in recent years, it has dug deeper. The Congress has been a late entrant to this bandwagon.
PCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy has asked the party rank and file to use social media liberally and also catch up with micro-messaging inputs.
Even as there is growing inclination towards social media, the parties are going in for having their own media channels and newspapers with gusto. The Congress party in Telangana is said to be thinking on those lines. What was hearsay is now taking shape with the TPCC president himself announcing that the Congress party would soon boast of its own channel and a newspaper.
Of course, relying on fourth estate as a mouthpiece has been in existence since Independence. Today, television is an important means of reaching out to a larger audience. Almost all the major political parties now have their own channels and newspapers or have proxy control over certain media houses.
The ruling TRS has its own TV Channel and a newspaper. The state BJP too is said to be getting a news channel soon. Political parties having their own media mouthpiece is not an uncommon phenomenon. Shiv Sena makes use of Saamna to extreme levels.
However, the common man is no longer naïve and is quick to switch channels and shift to other newspapers. As the 2019 elections are approaching, Telangana state is also likely to see more channels going on air and more newspapers hitting the stands.