An interesting study conducted by IRIS Knowledge Foundation, in association with IAMAI suggests that in over 150 Loksabha constituencies, Face Book users are likely to have a significant influence on the voter’s choices in the election. This means that 28% of the seats are capable of being influenced by Netizens either because they are themselves the voters or that they can influence at least one other voter.
As can be expected, in Karnataka, the study has suggested that 12 of the 28 Loksabha constituencies can be influenced by the Netizens meaning that nearly 43% of the voters in the State can be significantly influenced by the Netizens.
Aifon.org.in has been suggesting that in a city like Bangalore the influence of Netizens could be decisive. The impact can be even more perceptible this time since the general population and the traditional voter base will be presented with a choice of 4 or 5 strong candidates in each of the constituencies. Hence even a 70% voter turn out is likely to see a split of votes to the extent that a support of 20% the polled votes can result in a victory for the candidates.
If out of these voters, 10% are the newly registered voters, then the results can be far more surprising than what the normal pollsters can predict.
This situation is very encouraging for a party like Loksatta which does not have the baggage of corruption or non Governance which all other parties need to counter.
Now that Mr Narendra Modi has opted to keep a distance, the BJP with the stated leadership of the current CM is unlikely to be able to successfully ward off the anti incumbency effect. We can therefore expect that its voter base which was about 34% in the last election may split right down the middle at 17%.
The situation is therefore very rosy for Congress which had a 35% vote share in the last year. Even if it dips down to 30%, the possibility of the party gaining significantly is very high.
However in individual constituencies, some independents may buck this trend and come home on the basis of “There is No other worthy candidate”. Within this category, Loksatta with it’s “Independent-Organized” image may be able to win a few seats and make its presence felt.
In particular in Bangalore City, Loksatta has the advantage of a high reach of Netizens and a large number of new voters and if their campaign is well managed the party should be able to taste surprising success.
The Loksabha constituencies that have been identified by the study as those in which Facebook users will have a significant impact are as follows:1. Mysore 2. Dakshina Kannada 3.Gulbarga 4.Bellary 5. Davanagere 6. Udupi 7.Tumkur 8.Uttara Kannada 9.Bangalore Rural 10.Bangalore North 11.Bangalore Central 12.Bangalore South
Loksatta has candidates in Bangalore, Mysore and a a few other places. However in Bangalore and Mysore itself there are a good number of candidates who can take advantage of the Social Media in campaigning.
We need to however wait and see how this funds starved contingent would use the Social Media effectively to extract campaign success.