Local leaders turn to social media to woo electorate

Many voters strongly feel that the elections are won on the ground, that the numbers of likes and shares on social networking sites are not the deciding factor

Apr 27, 2017-Moving away from the conventional methods, party leaders and activists in towns and villages are found to be immersed in social networking sites to widen their vote base in the lead up to the local level elections. 

In Dharan, CPN-UML leaders Tara Subba and Manju Bhandari, Nepali Congress’ Kishor Rai, Parbat Rai and Sujendra Tamang, and Ayendra Bikram Begha of CPN (Maoist Centre), among other leaders, possible candidates for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor, have been increasingly using facebook and twitter for the purpose. 

Subba’s facebook page has received 42,210 views and 1,500 likes within a short time. “The leaders have to use technology in course of time. The page is helpful in drawing attention of youths,” said Nabaraj Rai, who has been updating Subba’s facebook page. 

NC’s Kishor Rai feels it is easy to convey views through facebook page. “Many people have responded to me positively,” said Kishor Rai. His facebook page has attracted 31,088 people with over 1,500 likes within two weeks of being uploaded, claimed Akash Upreti, who is currently operating Rai’s social media including his facebook page.

Not to be left behind, Maoist Centre’s Begha said more than 5,000 people viewed his page within the last two days. “I have been receiving suggestions from people regularly,” he added.

Out of 429,810 listed voters in Sunsari district, 78,104 are in Dharan Sub-metropolis, according to the Election Commission records. 

But many voters strongly feel the elections are won and lost on the ground, sending out warning to the candidates against reading too much into social media. 

Aitimaya Tamang of Devimarga in Dharan-13, one of the listed voters, said party leaders and supporters have started updating their activities on their facebook pages to attract voters. 

“But I don’t feel that all of the posts are genuine. People rely on the information 

posted on the social sites in according to their conscience,” she said. 

Another voter Dilip Rinohong of College Road in Dharan-10, a sworn social media buff, questioned the authenticity of leaders’ claims. 

“Taking advantage of the new media, some leaders might have boosted their outreach. But I don’t think the leaders are so popular and their pages received many likes within the short period,” he said.

Published: 27-04-2017 08:43

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