GUWAHATI, April 15 - Use of social media by the political parties to woo the voters and by the voters to discuss political issues has increased considerably over the years. During the recent elections to the Assam Legislative Assembly too, social media played a key role. Interestingly, use of social media by young women in Assam is much higher than the national average, which is also an encouraging sign.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director, India, South and Central Asia of the Facebook, said that according to records available, during the run-up to the elections to the Assam Legislative Assembly, the first time voters were much more active on the Facebook to discuss political issues. She said that the males between 18 to 24 years were the highest users of the Facebook to discuss political issues, followed by the males in the age group of 24 to 34 years and the females in the age group of 18 to 24 years.
Das revealed that among the issues discussed, crime was the main topic with 17 per cent, followed by education (16 per cent) and transport (13 per cent). The three most discussed politicians were BJP�s chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Majority of the Facebook users were discussing the BJP followed by the Congress. Though the AAP was not even in the fray in the polls, three per cent of the Facebook users were discussing about that party. At least 21 political leaders of the State are quite active in the Facebook as they interacted with the people with regular updates.
Talking about the phenomenon of using Facebook by the political leaders and voters, Das said that it was not new and its use increased during the Assam polls. She said the use of social media started increasing from the last Lok Sabha polls as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had extensively used the platform to reach out to the voters, while his following in the Facebook is still increasing considerably.
The political parties have also started using the Facebook to upload their campaign videos during the run-up to the Assembly polls. Das revealed that the BJP uploaded around 40 campaign videos on Facebook to reach out to the voters, while the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) uploaded as many as 36 such videos.
Das pointed out that the use of social media by the young female voters in Assam was very encouraging. In fact, the use of social media by the female voters to discuss political issues was much more than the national average. This proved that the women of Assam were much more technologically advanced and politically aware of the political issues than the women of some other parts of the country.