BENGALURU : With assembly elections approaching in Karnataka, chief adversaries BJP and Congress are trying every possible trick to swing the electorate in their favor. Both have taken to aggressive online campaigning besides rallies and yatras across the state.
The BJP recently posted a video of incumbent CM Siddaramaiah of Congress dancing to a Kannada song that has raunchy lyrics. Though the CM, staying true to the sober image he has maintained on social media, chose to not respond to it, Srivatsa Y B, the social media head for the state for Congress tweeted that the video was a fake one, threatening a defamation case against the person who posted it. What followed was more trolling, and a war of words, and he inadvertently got the video more traction.
While the BJP has been holding Kamal Jathres in Karnataka hinterland that need just the stamp of lotus symbol to enter, it has been also spreading political messages via such free entertainment. There is also a Tarle Tommy series on social media, which is funny and aimed at raising awareness about Congress misrule in the state. BJP’s digital communications in charge for the state, Tejasvi Surya, said, ‘We upload a minimum of one video a day on issues ranging from serious ones like governance to series like Tarle Tommy. A fictional web series on issues in Karnataka will also be launched this week.’
The Congress has also taken to the social media platform with a vengeance. Borrowing from BJP’s strategy of local Whatsapp groups, they have been sending out messages, graphics as well as videos to expand their base. However, their content lacks the punch that BJP has successfully mastered with its vast experience in states like Gujarat and Maharashtra. CM Siddaramaiah has however, garnered quite a following with his wit and sarcasm loaded with local flavor.
Ridiculing PM Narendra Modi on social media, the Congress has listed down the ten most prominent betrayals that he has committed. In its ‘chargesheet’, the Congress has stated, ‘be it in matters related to water, land, language or even nominations to the Rajya Sabha, the state has received stepmotherly treatment because of the anti-Karnataka stand taken by the Modi government. This goes to show that 'NaMo' stands for Namage Mosa (we are cheated).’ The accusations shot at the Modi led BJP govt. in the Centre range from Cauvery crisis to separate Karnataka flag to Rafale deal to meager funds from the Centre despite severe drought in the state last year. The way the BJP has (mis)handled the Mahadayi water sharing dispute with Goa has also got the party on back foot.
The JD (S), the third contender in the election battle, has woken up late to the benefits of social media, and is trying to emphasize on its regional status, saying that only a regional political party will be more inclined towards the benefit of the state. Though the party claims that it has volunteers who are professional social media experts, deployed to spread its message, there is a lot that is missing in this respect.