Panaji: A management professional and a social networking whizkid of Goan origin is helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) take on the Congress and the Left in Kerala for the forthcoming assembly polls. Twentyfour-year-old Durgadas Kamat first cut his teeth in the field of political campaigning as a communication specialist in Bihar during the last assembly polls campaign where the Janata Dal-United (JD-U)-BJP alliance won a thumping majority.
Now Kerala's seemingly tranquil backwaters have beckoned the young professional, who has proved his weight in using social networking for election campaigneering and keeping in touch with the electorate. "I am a national team member of BJP communication cell. Earlier, I worked for elections in Bihar for 17 seats. So, the party has shown trust in me and appointed me as Kerala state in-charge of communication cell," Durgadas told IANS over telephone from Kerala.
While political leaders in Goa continue to hold feudal 'durbars' to keep "in contact" with their electorate, Durgadas has helped several BJP legislators to rope in the medium of social networking for keeping in touch with the voters. "Technology is advancing. Educated people who are not at home can be reached through technology. It makes it easier to reach voters through their cell phones, e-mail and of course social networking," Durgadas said.
"We hosted Damodar Naik (BJP legislator from Fatorda) on Facebook and now people not only write on his wall, but even ask for formal appointments and requests. It works well," Durgadas said.
"It's very effective when combined with Blackberry. Damu responds to such queries and requests within minutes even when he is travelling," Durgadas said. He added that several questions raised during the budget session of the state assembly were requested by Damodar's voters on his Facebook page.
Explaining part of his social networking strategy which the BJP has put in place for the Kerala polls, the young man from Ponda, a temple town 30 km from here, said: "What I have done is link Facebook profiles for a common group for Kerala elections. We have also created e-mail IDs for candidates, people ask their questions to candidates through mail and I ensure that all the questions are responded to."
Durgadas said this social networking strategy clicked well in the Bihar polls for the JD(U)-BJP combine. Kerala goes to polls on April 13.