One of the most powerful players in the Meghalaya election is also one of the most opaque.
With just some days to go until voters go to the polls, there are two things every election expert agrees on: what happens on social media, and Facebook in particular, will have an enormous effect on how the country votes; and no one has any clue how to measure what’s actually happening there.
The total numbers of candidate contesting the February 27, Meghalaya Election is 370 and for the first time in the history of the state with a matrilineal lineage culture; of the 370 there is an increasing numbers of 33 women candidates in the fray.
The Congress has fielded candidates to contest all the 60 seats in the house, the NPP 52, the BJP 47, UDP 35, PDF 26, NCP 21 HSPDP 13, KHNAM 8 and GNC 6 and the 85 other candidates are contesting as independent candidates.
Considering the fact that the major regional parties already have a pre-poll alliance; therefore the UDP, the HSPDP and GNC together are contesting 54 out of the 60 vacant seats in the august house.
In 2014 Lok Sabha election, India witnessed a bombardment of social media penetration, where political parties made efforts to connect to the voters using the digital platform, which was easy and effective to target both urban and rural masses.
The trend continued in successive elections as politicians realized that social media was an ultimate platform to connect to the masses.
This time, Meghalaya election has also become very interesting with almost all major political parties running their campaigns on social media – be it Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or Instagram.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is on a whirlwind tour addressing several election rallies is keeping the audience updated with video and picture contents on social media.
His latest post on Facebook read, “We Meghalayans are strong. But we must also realize that true strength is keeping everything together when everyone expects us to fall apart. We must ensure that we stay united, not divided. They will try, but will fail. We shall overcome!”
Through Facebook and Twitter, Mukul is not just connecting to the masses but is also sending a strong message to his opponents.
“I offer my opponents a bargain: If they will stop telling lies about us, we will stop telling the truth about them,” he said in a post on Friday.
The war of words during election witnessed in traditional media is also seen on the digital platform, where political parties and high-profile candidates have sponsored their pages to get their message conveyed.
All political parties are using the latest technology like drone, osmo and high-end cameras to create powerful audio-video and graphical content.
Image source: Northeast Today