Digital space offers new ground for nat'l polls campaign | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, December 17, 2018

Digital space offers new ground for nat'l polls campaign

Campaigns ahead of the 11th parliamentary polls have brought vibrancy in every corner of the country, with debates over tea in tea stalls -- both in urban settings and in remote villages. A festive mood is prevailing, though there is a fear of violence.

But in the age of digitalisation, candidates cannot avoid election campaign through digital platforms, and voters are also curious to follow what is happening on social media.

From new to heavyweight candidates contesting in the upcoming election scheduled for December 30, all political campaigns are seen to have a digital presence these days.

“What's happening on the ground is a traditional one, having huge impact on voters. But you cannot avoid digital campaign using social media platforms,” said political party worker Nazim Uddin Parvez, who is campaigning in favour of Shamsul Hoque Chowdhury, Awami League candidate from Chattogram-12 constituency.

Parvez finds it easy, less costly and one of the best ways to stay engaged with voters, as many young voters spend much of their time on social media, a majority of them preferring Facebook.

It shows a good number of candidates representing various political parties, including Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party and others, remain active to capitalise on the platform.

Supporters of the candidates are seen sharing live election campaign activities from the ground, pre-recorded speeches highlighting their various positive activities in their respective constituencies, digital posters and people's voices, in an effort to gain support from voters.

A Facebook page dedicated to AL heavyweight candidate from Dhaka-1 constituency and adviser to the Prime Minister Salman F Rahman, also shared digital posters and videos on people's voice.

Dedicated Facebook pages for grand alliance candidate and Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon, and BNP candidate Mirza Abbas in Dhaka-8 constituency are sharing regular activities on their election campaigns.

Apart from campaign staff, supporters are also sharing songs and videos on social media on behalf of their favoured party or candidates.

The verified Facebook page of Bangladesh Awami League was found sharing videos depicting the progress made so far in the country under the party's leadership.

Inevitably, some candidates have come face-to-face with some of the pitfalls of the digital domain as well.

BNP-led alliance candidate and Bangladesh Jatiya Party Chairman Andaleeve Rahman Partho, a former MP, is also actively using Facebook for campaign purposes, and shared a video appealing to young voters on his verified Facebook page on December 11 that was well-appreciated and quite widely shared.

However, on December 14, an update on his verified page said his personal Facebook account has been hacked. “....please be careful of any status given from that account,” he said.

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