As BJP Fights For Karnataka, Key To Strategy Are 5,000 WhatsApp Groups

The BJP has already declared that its chief ministerial candidate is BS Yeddyurappa.

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As BJP Fights For Karnataka, Key To Strategy Are 5,000 WhatsApp Groups

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The BJP is training nearly 25,000 volunteers to run WhatsApp groups across Karnataka (file)

Bengaluru:  With just months to go before Karnataka votes, the BJP is training nearly 25,000 volunteers to run WhatsApp groups across the state that will promote candidates and the party's main promises as it tries to wrest the southern state from the Congress.

The goal is to create 5,000 groups. The training for those who will run them began six months ago.

"The IT cell has been in existence since 2007 - and with the growing popularity of WhatsApp we decided to communicate through that as well. We are setting up groups for different stakeholders at the state, district and assembly level. Our target is 5,000 groups - so far about 2,000 have been formed. The response has been amazing," said Balaji Srinivas, who heads the BJP's Social Media Cell, to NDTV.

The BJP has already declared that its chief ministerial candidate is BS Yeddyurappa. In 2013, the 74-year-old was forced to quit as the head of the BJP's first government in the south after he was accused of corruption by the state's ombudsman or Lokayukta.

The incumbent Congress government is led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, though the party has not endorsed him for a second term yet.

The members of the WhatsApp groups, identified through a large membership drive which collected data including mobile phone numbers, receive animations and photos with catchy captions.

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The BJP hopes to enroll 100 volunteers in every assembly constituency as administrators of the groups. "They don't have to do any meetings, hold protests or any other activity. The least expected is to spend half an hour everyday on mobile," K Amresh, a senior member of the BJP's  IT Cell in Karnataka,  told FactorDaily.

The BJP extensively used cellphones and WhatsApp as a massive new strategy in its battle for Uttar Pradesh, which was won by the party with record numbers.

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