Widely perceived to have ceded ground to its opponents on the social media till recently, the Congress-led United Democratic Front seems to have come with a winner, albeit belatedly for the forthcoming Assembly election, going by the response to its WhatsApp-based interactive platform to reach out to the electorate and elicit suggestions from them.
A brainchild of the All India Professionals’ Congress (AIPC) and backed by Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and Shashi Tharoor, MP, the platform evoked such a great response within a short span of time since its launch on Thursday so much so that its server in Karnataka was in danger of crashing.
“It was designed and customised in a month by a software company that has already been using its basic version for business development. We went for it as there was no simpler way to reach out to the public. Plans are now afoot to use it beyond the State Assembly elections with an impressed All India Congress Committee exploring the scope for adapting it nationally,” said Anand Mohanraj, Pathanamthitta district president of the AIPC, who has been tirelessly working on the platform for the last two months.
The platform based on a WhatsApp number (88912-28449) works rather straightforward. One can get aboard the platform in three ways – directly through the number or by using a link or scanning the barcode.
The first message is responded with a text addressing the user by her name and requesting to vote for the UDF followed by the UDF manifesto. This is followed by a message to select the district listed out serially from 1 to 14.
The user can choose the district by keying in the serial number on which all constituencies within that district are listed and from which one can select individual constituency again by keying in the relevant number.
The user then receives the campaign pictures of the UDF candidate concerned and her social media handles. This is followed by an option to either send a suggestion or terminate the communication by pressing 1 or 2 respectively.
“The suggestions received are shared with the campaign teams concerned and the valuable ones will be incorporated into the updated manifesto. The system can be further fine-tuned for the campaign of individual candidates though we were left with little time for that in this election,” said Mr. Mohanraj.