West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats of which the TMC holds 34 and the BJP just two. BJP chief Amit Shah has set a target of winning over 22 seats and the party hopes that social media will play an important role in its quest.
The TMC, for the past few months, has been strengthening the party’s digital cell under the stewardship of Abhishek Banerjee, the party’s youth wing president and nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The party is all set to organize a Digital Conclave on 10 September at Nazrul Mancha, where Abhishek will address its IT cell members, ministers, and youth workers.
The party has decided to train over 40,000 youths on the usage of social media to reach out to the masses across the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state.
The party has set a target of creating 10,000 WhatsApp groups with 256 members in each of them to spread awareness on the developmental work of the state government and “anti-people” policies of the BJP government at the Centre.
Colonel (retd) Dipatanshu Chowdhury, who is a joint convenor of TMC’s Media cell, said that the party is not only looking into the usage of Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp but also other platforms such as Messenger, microblogging sites, e-mails, Pinterest and Instagram.
Mamata Banerjee herself, during the TMC students’ wing programme held recently, had asked the party’s students and youth activists to become more active on social media to counter the BJP.
With TMC gunning for an all-out cyberwar, the West Bengal BJP unit, too, is gearing up to retaliate.
BJP chief Shah, during his visit in June this year, has spelt out the strategy to reach out to the masses, both physically and also via social media.
Shah had asked party workers to use social media as a tool to combat the TMC government in the state and propagate the pro-people policies of the Modi government.
He had also stressed on using social media to fight against the “rumours” spread by opposition parties and propagate developmental policies of the Narendra Modi government.
Amit Malviya, national in charge of BJP’s IT, Website and Social Media Management cell said that BJP will leverage social media effectively to highlight the “colossal misgovernance” and “appeasement politics” of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal.
On social media platforms, the party plans to highlight the “failures” of the TMC government at the state level and the pro-people policies of the BJP.
Speeches and political messages of party president Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state BJP president and other senior leaders will also be carried on the social media platforms and translated to Bengali so that it can be received by a bigger audience.
The state BJP unit is also on the lookout for new office space for setting up the revamped IT cell. In districts too, the BJP is planning to have separate offices for its social media and IT cell.