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Madhya Pradesh election 2018: BJP, Congress ready to wage war on social media before setting for real poll battle

Bhopal: Nearly 65,000 'cyber warriors' of the BJP are all set to take on 'Rajiv Ke Sipahi' of the Congress in cyber space to woo young voters on social media platforms in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls.

The BJP's state Information Technology (IT) cell in-charge, Shivraj Singh Dabi, said about 65,000 'cyber warriors' have been deployed by the party in the last three months and 5,000 more will be deputed shortly.

The state Congress has set up a team of around 4,000 'Rajiv Ke Sipahi' (named after their leader and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi credited with the digital revolution in India) to battle it out against the BJP on social media.

 Madhya Pradesh election 2018: BJP, Congress ready to wage war on social media before setting for real poll battle

Representational image. AP

The Congress will train 5,000 more people for the task, the state party's IT cell in-charge, Dharmendra Bajpai, said. "We are going to hold training sessions in the state's revenue divisions from 25 June," he said.

Both the leaders said they were going to reach out to people on popular social media platforms like Facebook,Twitter. They would specially focus on WhatsApp, owing to its wide reach.

'During elections, our biggest weapon is going to be WhatsApp', Bajpai said.

Commenting on BJP's strategy, Dabi said, 'We are going to be doubly active on WhatsApp as it's the biggest communication tool, specially to reach out to commoners and villagers.'

He said the party used social media to counter the Congress' 10-day Gaon bandh during the farmers' agitation in MP from 1 June to 10 June.

BJP's IT cell highlighted the central and state governments' welfare schemes for farmers during the agitation, Dabi said.

He claimed that the party thwarted Congress' bid to capitalise on the farmers' agitation.

In contrast, Bajpai said their 'Rahul with farmers' hash-tag on Twitter was a 'huge success'.

It was trending for 23 hours on Twitter when Congress chief Rahul Gandhi visited Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district and addressed a farmers' rally on 6 June, he said.

'The hash-tag recorded participation of more than 1.25 lakh people on the widely used social networking site', Bajpai claimed.

Both the parties said through the use of social media, they would try to dispel misunderstandings and false propaganda of their rivals in the run-up to the state polls.

A BJP leader said party president Amit Shah, during his visit to Jabalpur in MP on 12 June, held a meeting with 'cyber warriors' and discussed with them on how to take on the Congress in the social media space.

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Updated Date: Jun 17, 2018 15:07:09 IST