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Parties visit 'Cyberia' to net voters

March 5, 2009
More and more political parties are leveraging the web to raise funds and reach out to India's younger voters. The general election of 2004 was the first time political parties leveraged technology to campaign -- text messaging was common and so were pre-recorded messages, notably from Atal Bihari Vajpayee, exhorting people to vote for their party.

The union of Indian politics with the world wide web is the next inevitable step.

On the Telugu Desam Party's website for the United Kingdom-based Non-Resident Indians, not only has party chief Chandrababu Naidu morphed his face onto a photograph of United States President Barack Obama with the White House in the background, but he has also started an online contribution campaign - just as Obama did during his presidential campaign.

This image of Chandrababu Naidu's (his party, incidentally, has an electoral alliance with the Communist Party of India-Marxist) will set apart the 2009 general elections from all the ones past.

TDP's IT manager Sudhakar R V told Business Standard that the portal for online contributions was launched two months ago.

The website uses the services of PayPal to handle payments that it receives online.

Though the TDP's main website is in Telugu, its English versions have portals on which net-users can post their thoughts, read Naidu's messages and give names and addresses of their friends and family to the party's data-base for future reference.

Image: 'Hi-tech' Chandrababu Naidu works on computer.
Photograph: Reuters

Text: Business Standard

Also see: Celebrities in the 2009 poll fray

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