Parties bet big on social media, data analytics for 2019 poll campaign

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NEW DELHI: Election 2019 will be an intense, high-stakes tussle for power like all others but with one difference in a first, it is likely to be as hotly contested in the virtual world as in the real one with parties already busy getting their social media warriors battle-ready.

Social media played a key role in propelling the BJP to power in 2014 but is set to take on a different dimension altogether in 2019 with the opposition led by the Congress getting their arsenal ready to combat the ruling party’s formidable cyber army.

War rooms are getting ready and thousands of volunteers being trained in data analytics and communication through digital platforms as parties, including not just the Congress and the BJP but also smaller players like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), prep for the electoral battle ahead.

The Congress, which seems to have learnt its lessons from 2014, is scaling up its operations to challenge the BJP on a front which has been the saffron party’s forte.

The process to widen the Congress’ digital presence started a long time ago and digital war rooms have already been set up in every state, said the party’s social media department head Divya Spandana.

“We have a (social media) unit in every state and now we are going down to districts. Since it’s digital, everybody is already connected. Everybody has data on their phone and everything is managed through the state teams,” Spandana told PTI.

Last week, Congress president Rahul Gandhi put out a Facebook post inviting people to fill out a customised form to improve the party’s communications.