By the end of 2012, about 150 million people were using internet in India with over 65 million of them having an account on Facebook and 35 million Twitter users. Presently the country has become one of the top 3 markets for internet in whole world. Politicians are aware of this fact and with elections looming ahead in the year; they are trying to connect with young generation of the country using social media.
Benefit of Social Media for Political Parties
The benefit for political parties going online on social media sites is that it helps them connect with this new voter base, build up communication and develop credibility for their work. Social media helps politicians connect with wider section of the country and get important insights from common people on what they think is wrong or right. Out of the 800 million Indian voters, almost 160 million are those who will be casting their votes for the first time and most of them are active on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Thus, political parties are trying to woo this large vote bank by creating their own presence on social platforms.
What Political Parties are doing?
Two of the largest national parties, the Congress and BJP are leaving no stone unturned to build up their online presence. BJP started it much earlier with its leader Narendra Modi being active on Twitter and a follower base of 1,600,000. Similarly, Congress has also created Twitter account for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and they are trying to put forward their achievements through such accounts. One of the well-known Congress leaders, Shashi Tharoor, is quite active on social platforms and has more than 1,700,000 on Twitter.
Impact of Social Media
The impact of social presence is already visible in public verdict in places like Karnataka and Delhi. Politicians from Congress in Karnataka actively participated in social sites to display their work and it played a major role in bringing them into power. Similarly, AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal heavily depended on social media to reach out to the middle class in Delhi and form the government.