MCD Elections 2017: Meet the BJP IT Cell fighting polls online

Priyanka Rathi meets the BJP IT Cell to find out how it's tapping the MCD Elections action online.

New Delhi, April 5: The Bharatiya Janata Party is all out to woo voters ahead of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Elections in the national capital. Since 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has aggressively used the social media to spread its campaign and reach out to masses. The same strategy is being used in the upcoming MCD elections. Apart from the main IT cell that sits in the Delhi BJP office at Pandit Pant Marg, there are hundreds of volunteers helping the party push its agenda in the polls.

Delhi is divided into 14 districts and each district has a Zilla team and a mandal team. Every Zilla and mandal team has three to four members. And the central team has a strength of 20-25 people. “The team is divided into graphic designing, video editing, content developing and social media,” said Kunal Kapur, one of the core team members. There are nearly 500 office bearers attached with the IT cell and rest are volunteers. “There is a generic planning of the next day agenda and then there is a reaction if there is a major political development. But every information has to be checked and authenticated,” Kapur said.

The planning and structuring of the team began in 2015 itself and people were being trained to use the social media. “The social media is a 24-hour thing and the core team members are available all the time,” said Abhishek Sharma, a core team member. Weekly meetings are being held between state and Zilla for the smooth flow of work. And, there are hundreds of WhatsApp groups to pass the message as well.

On the question of what will go on the social media, Kapur said, “In 99 per cent cases, we avoid playing the negative news. Our focus is on the developmental work done by the MCD in the last 10 years. We would want to wait if there is a negative news rather than play it up for the sake of playing it on social media.”

When asked how they work on trends, Kapur said, “We look at what people are saying and their mood and accordingly decide our trending hashtag and work on it.”

How the BJP IT cell works

Once the agenda of the day is decided, the team starts working on it by making graphics, videos, developing content. It is then passed on to Zilla teams and mandal teams.

The same is being forwarded to various WhatsApp groups setting the agenda of the day. The volunteers and office bearers then spread the message to their areas of influence.

Core team members

There are six members in the core team of the BJP IT Cell for the MCD elections who work round the clock. They are:

Sumit Bhasin, the head of the team: He has done PhD in Satellite Communication
Abhishek Sharma: He has done MBA in marketing
Subodh Kumar: He is an MBA from IIM Bangalore
Nikhil: He is an electronic engineer
Dhruv: He has completed his graduation and is preparing for GMAT
Kunal Kapur: He has done MBA in HR from ENPC, Paris

The IT cell is also planning to do Facebook live and Twitter chats with the state party chief, Delhi Lok Sabha MPs and many senior ministers ahead of the April 23 election.