This Article is From Jan 12, 2017

Inside BJP's Uttar Pradesh Election War Room, Young and Buzzing

Photos and videos of campaigns across UP are being posted by young people ahead of elections.


At noon, a call centre that seats 20 is buzzing as several young people make phone calls to verify members of over 20,000 local party committees, crucial to the BJP for managing the mammoth Uttar Pradesh elections. In the next room on the social media and IT floor at the BJP headquarters in Lucknow, five youngsters are in charge of the party's UP Twitter handle round the clock. Photos and videos of campaigns across the state are being posted after being vetted by senior party leaders.

This is the BJP's Uttar Pradesh election war room and what Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, known for his deft use of social media to woo voters, will find himself up against once he has extricated himself from a bitter family feud to start electioneering.   

"The only other party in the social media race in UP is Akhilesh's," says Aman Rajput, 22, an Arts graduate who has been with the BJP since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and is one of the people manning the Twitter handle.  

"One striking thing is all the photos of his development work that Akhilesh Yadav posts. When we form government in UP, we will put up more and even better ones," Mr Rajput adds.

In another room, 28-year-old Danish, an MBA graduate who worked in the Middle East before returning to India four months ago, is in charge of monitoring TV channels. He sits in a room that has eight TVs mounted on a wall. "I was very active in student politics and was always inclined towards the BJP. Every day, I prepare a report and hand it to my seniors and that gives us an idea of the kind of coverage we are getting," Danish says.  

Sanjay Rai, 45, IT in charge of the Uttar Pradesh BJP says 8,000 pro-BJP WhatsApp groups have been created across the state to target over 12 lakh voters. And that its Facebook and Twitter pages are helping reach over one crore voters. "We are also collecting a lot of data, especially by getting in touch with doctors, engineers and others. So for example when there is a big BJP rally we will use all of this to target specific groups," says Mr Rai.

Uttar Pradesh will vote in seven phases from February 11. Votes will be counted on March 11.