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10-09-2013, 07:19 AM #1
Where is the digital Indian Voter? And party with a digital plan?
Barack Obama put up on micro blogging site Twitter "Four more years" after his victory in the 2012 US Presidential elections. Coupled with a picture where Obama is hugging his wife the three words became the most re-tweeted phrase of 2012.
During his elections, the micro-blogging site and social networking site Facebook became important weapons of victory. Obama has 36 million "likes" on Facebook, which is more than the population of entire Iraq put together.
In India that is not the case. In the run up to the election Indian political parties hardly have any digital strategy. Bharatiya Janata Party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi gets all the limelight 5.1 million "likes" while Congress' uncrowned prince Rahul Gandhi is far behind with 3.18 lakh.
However a recent report released by California-based Internet giant Google Inc.'s domestic arm shows huge opportunity of capitalise for Indian political parties in the coming elections.
According to the survey "Urban Indian Voters", 42 per cent of voters who use the Internet are still undecided whom to vote for. The report which was released on October 8 covered 108 constituencies spread over 86 cities. It also mentioned that 37 per cent of urban voters used the Internet.
That none of the national or regional political parties have a digital roadmap drawn out for the upcoming 16th Lok Sabha elections.
"We do not think any of the political parties are present (on the Internet) the way they should be," said Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director of Google India. He further elaborated: "It is very important to have a solid digital roadmap and have social media presence."
With a huge population of the online audience who are ready to vote in the coming elections and are unsure of their party of choice, it gives Indian political parties a lot of time to mobilise the digital masses. "They have enough time," said Anandan. "Internet is all about speed."
Modi is clearly a step ahead. He is the first Indian politician to use a Google Hangout, a solution for voice and video conferencing. It got him 100,000 viewers and the Hangout crashed four times during his speech.
Anandan is sure that in the coming elections like never before, digital will play a crucial role of awareness building. Compared to the 2009 elections, queries on the internet regarding elections and political figures have gone up eight times. Queries coming from mobiles alone have jumped 1,100 per cent. "Political parties will have to leverage the different mobile channels in the elections," said Anandan.