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Maharashtra: Parties logging on to vote networking

By Shruti Ganapatye
September 24, 2009 14:17 IST
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With SMSes and emails becoming passe, political parties are now harnessing blogs, websites and social networking sites as cheaper and faster means of reaching out to the voters for the October 13 assembly elections in Maharashtra.

Out to steal a march over other parties, the BJP will soon launch a blog to communicate with the electorate and get their feedback immediately.

In a couple of days, our blog would be activated and voters can be in direct touch with our leaders, head of BJPs IT cell Vinit Goenka, a former IBM hand, said.

The party is also going to start its account on social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook and Twitter, as these are the cheapest and the fastest means of communication during the economic slowdown, Goenka said.

SMSes and emails are traditional ways to woo voters but social communication sites are something really new and appealing to youngsters, Goenka said. BJP has an IT team of about 130 members from various fields voluntarily working for the party.

Goenka said he recently organised an online chat for state BJP president Nitin Gadkari through and the response was tremendous. We plan to conduct more such programmes in days to come, he said.

BJP's saffron ally Shiv Sena is also not far behind in using technology.

Sena started an email Id and a 24-hour phone line 24222222 to invite suggestions from the electorate for incorporation in the party's election manifesto, an initiative that drew good response from the people.

We had invited suggestions for the party's election manifesto and received over 5,000 emails and phone calls, Sena IT cell head Shailesh Patil said.

"From suicide by debt-ridden farmers to the failure of the state government schemes, the people have so much to say. We sift through these informations and forward them to executive president Uddhav Thackeray," Patil said.

Uddhav personally replies to some of the important emails and phone calls and that is how he gets connected to the voter living in a remote corner of the state, Patil said.
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Shruti Ganapatye in Mumbai
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