Millennium Post

Social media and SMS new tools for poll campaigning

Political parties in Mizoram have been using social media and mobile phones to woo voters, especially the youths, for the coming election to the 40-member state Assembly to be held on 25 November. Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) chief Lalduhawma has an account on Facebook.

Rothuama Sailo, a close aide of Lalduhawma said a large number of Facebook users have taken to the medium to talk to the ZNP chief and ask him a plethora of questions on how he would govern the state if voted to power.

‘We also send the party press releases to local mediapersons through Facebook,’ Sailo said, adding that the social networking site is so useful that they could issue press statements even while in remote villages.

He said that Internet sms service ‘way2sms’ was also extensively used to send press releases to journalists’.

The ZNP has also used local cable television channels for campaigning as videotapes of the interview of the party chief were sent to different towns to be telecast, he said.

Youth leaders of the ruling Congress and the main opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) have been fighting the crucial political battle for at least three years, and the battleground was not public meeting but Internet.

Facebook groups like ‘Zoram Thlirtu’, ‘Dingdi’, ‘Zoram Khawvel’ and ‘Special Report’ have been used by young politicians to put forward their views and the views of their parties and the groups have become arenas for political debate.

One political party even organised training for young party workers on how to use social media to the maximum advantage of the party during the coming Assembly polls.

Apart from Lalduhawma, sports minister Zodintluanga has also used Facebook as a medium of reaching out to the people.

The Mizoram Democratic Alliance (MDA), the alliance of the MNF, the Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) and the Maraland Democratic Front (MDF) are using SMSes for canvassing.
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