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E-bandwagon-Bihar parties take fight to ‘virtual media’, following BJP and AAP’s success

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social-media-585481_640Impressed by the tremendous political benefits reaped by BJP and AAP due to high-voltage social media and high-end digital campaigning in the 2014 Lok Sabha and Delhi assembly elections respectively, Bihar parties too are eagerly jumping on to the e-bandwagon.

All the major parties – Janata Dal -United (JD-U), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha – are making efforts to make their presence felt on the net for the forthcoming Bihar election. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also expected to shift its well oiled cyber machine to Bihar soon.

From interactive graphical representation of the work done by their parties and making promises on Facebook to sending interactive and informative messages on WhatsApp, they are doing it all to woo voters. “It’s the best way to engage the youth and first time voters. We have set up a ‘war room’ to ensure that we remain ahead of our rivals in digital campaigning,” K.C Tyagi, chief spokesperson of JD-U, told IANS over phone.

“We have seen how Prime Minister Narendra Modi quite effectively used the social media and high-tech campaigning in the 2014 elections to ride to power at the centre,” he added. According to Bihar’s information and technology department, an estimated 5 lakh out of the state’s total population of 110 million use the internet on computers while 20 to 30 million use it on mobile phones.

Tyagi says the 2014 general elections changed the way elections were fought in India. Although the tech-savvy campaign brought rich dividents for the BJP, he says it also raised the overall cost of fighting elections.

Abdul Bari Siddiqui of RJD, who is also leader of the opposition in the Bihar assembly, says that although the reach of social media among Bihar’s population was limited, yet one cannot “deny it’s positive and long-lasting effect on the public mind.”

Talking on the phone, Siddiqui said digital campaigning involved hiring of tech experts, setting up of media rooms and manning them round-the-clock.

Under the JD-U’s ‘war room’ strategy, 400 trucks equipped with TV sets, music systems, microphones and speakers will move from village to village and showcase the government’s achievements. The personnel manning these vehicles will also interact with villagers and their local representatives to get their ideas and suggestions for Bihar’s development in future.

Flash mobs and street plays are also being planned by JD-U to gain the support of the younger generation, which is expected to play a crucial role in the legislative elections expected to be held in September or October this year.

Parties opposed to the JD-U have started Facebook pages to engage people on the social media in the run-up to the polls.

So apart from the traditional methods like high-pitch sloganeering, colourful buntings, posters and large hoardings to grab the eyeballs of the Bihar electorate, e-campaigning will add more punch to the campaigning by political parties aiming to win a majority in the state assembly.

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Permission to Cover N-Site Closure is Denied by South Korea

North Korean authorities on Tuesday morning denied permission to South Korean journalists to attend the dismantling of their nuclear base scheduled to take place between May 23-25.

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South Korean police on Friday sought an arrest warrant against the younger daughter of the president of Korean Air for allegedly assaulting an advertising agency executive in April.
Flag of South Korea, Pixabay

North Korean authorities on Tuesday morning denied permission to South Korean journalists to attend the dismantling of their nuclear base scheduled to take place between May 23-25.

Pyongyang had originally invited the South Korean media along with those from Russia, the US, the UK, and China, but the South Korean journalists’ list was rejected on Tuesday, Efe news reported quoting Seoul’s Ministry of Unification.

Members of a news agency and a South Korean television network had travelled to Beijing to fly to North Korea from there on Tuesday to attend the dismantling ceremony.

The Ministry in a statement said it regretted Pyongyang’s decision but despite the setback, it will continue working towards cooperating with Pyongyang and improving US-North Korea ties.

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representational image. Wikimedia

The announcement of the closure of the Punggye-ri base came during the inter-Korean summit, when Pyongyang pledged to work towards total denuclearisation, after claiming that it would stop its weapons tests.

Pyongyang, which announced that it wanted the closure to be made public with the presence of foreign journalists, has conducted six underground nuclear tests, including the last and most powerful in September 2017.

Also Read: Does Social Media Make Young Girls Unhappy?

The latest cancellation is a new setback after last week when Pyongyang abruptly suspended a high-level meeting with Seoul after accusing it of holding joint military exercises with the US.

Kim Jong-un’s regime also said that holding the summit with US President Donald Trump would be uncertain due to the pressure from the White House on the denuclearisation model that it wants to impose on North Korea. (IANS)

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