AAP vs BJP on Social Media Includes an App Called Mango

Members of the social media team of the BJP at their Delhi office.

New Delhi:

The bitter battle that is the Delhi elections is being fought as much online as out on the streets of the capital. Log on to Delhi and it's a virtual warzone.

Which party dominates the trends on social media on a daily basis is watched closely as a sign of their reach and popularity. And hashtags rule.

Both the BJP and the Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, contesting for top honours in Delhi, have set up social media campaign teams for these elections.

AAP has a 16-member team which is working round the clock to have "conversations" with Delhi, says Ankit Lal, who heads it and decides the day's agenda on a conference call with senior leaders.  

"Our front office operates out of Kaushambi in Ghaziabad and the back-end out of a small room in Patel Nagar (Delhi). We also have 5000 volunteers worldwide who are working to ensure that Arvind Kejriwal is Chief Minister of Delhi for a second term," he said.

AAP launched itself with a strong social media presence - so Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp are old haunts. This election, they are also using Quora, a Q&A platform to "intellectually" engage with people.

They have also launched a mobile app called Mango - they call it "aam admi ka radio" - where pre-recorded messages and clips from speeches of Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders can be heard. There is a Mango website too.

AAP's team also uses platforms Like Frankly.me - where questions are posted by viewers and the answers are given in a video selfie format by Arvind Kejriwal.

The Congress too has attempted to use Frankly.me, though its efforts on social media lag behind its rivals. Kiran Bedi, the BJP's Delhi face who is usually on active social media, has not chosen to answer questions this way yet.

The BJP's state party office is massive in comparison to that of AAP, but their social media war-rooms are practically of the same size. The BJP also has 745 volunteers working full time on their social media campaign.

The BJP's main tools are Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp and its also sends SMSes. Sumeet Bhasin, the head of the BJP's social media campaign, insists that they do not indulge in negative campaigning at all.

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